Thursday, 14 January 2010

Jim Currie's vision thing

I wasn't able to get to the Cabinet meeting yesterday as I was at the regional flood defence committee meeting (blog later). But I understand that there was a real set-to about the proposed office accommodation plan.

I did receive a briefing from officers on this plan earlier in the week and I agree with Jeremy Rowe and others that it hardly reaches the level that the people of Cornwall deserve for an important report.

The gist is this:

The previous seven councils operated a lot of buildings and the new council doesn't need nearly so many. Which makes perfect sense.

It would be sensible to have a major hub in the centre of the county and a significant office in the east and the west. There will also be a few other offices around the county. Still sensible enough.

But where this report makes no sense at all is that it proposes spending £12 million on upgrading County Hall and Dulcoath Avenue in Camborne without having fully considered the rest of the plan. The report was described as a 'vision' but it's pretty clear that there is no real vision involved. It claims that the number of offices will be reduced from 80 to 30 or so without saying which will be kept and which got rid of. It's a haphazard plan which is barely half thought through. I trust that, in the fullness of time, there will be significant savings from selling off a load of under-used offices. There might need to be a bit of extra spending on the transition. All we have so far is the spending side of things and this at a time when millions of pounds are being cut from front line services.

Jim Currie is the Cabinet Member responsible for this area, yet was reportedly upstaged by Council Leader Alex Robertson at yesterday's meeting. Surely Jim and Alec should be able to explain the full vision to members before it goes ahead.

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