Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Council's office accommodation 'Vision' called in

I have just handed in the call-in papers so that Cornwall Council's mis-named office accommodation 'vision' will be subjected to further scrutiny.

The policy was discussed at last week's Cabinet meeting and passed despite the strong objections of many councillors. I blogged about it here.

In essence, the Council has decided to move from 78 office buildings to 30 - but they refuse to say which are the 40 buildings they will be getting rid of. They claim that this has yet to be decided. However, they seem sure enough that the Higher Trenant offices in Wadebridge are surplus to requirements that they put the sale on the agenda for the next Cabinet meeting on Monday.

In today's Cornish Guardian, Council Leader Alec Robertson claims that no building will be closed or sold until consultation with staff has taken place. That just doesn't fit with the moves on Higher Trenant.

Following the discussions at a meeting today, it appears that the Cabinet are backing down and have withdrawn the Higher Trenant proposal from the agenda for Monday.

The administration also seems sure that they will want offices in Truro, Camborne and Bodmin without showing how these will fit in with the greater vision.

I also believe that they have failed to properly consult staff and the local communities where the offices are currently located. Despite the council papers claiming that local members had been consulted, all the Wadebridge members present confirmed that they had not been consulted.

If the Council is truly looking to make sure their offices are in the best locations, I think they should be considering whether to move beyond the current portfolio. Why not consider taking the lease on the tax office in Launceston since HM Revenue and Customs are moving out? None of this seems to have been approved.

For all these reasons, the Lib Dems have decided to call in the decision and will be subjecting it to much more intense debate and scrutiny.

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