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APPENDIX A Joint Strategic Business Case between Suffolk County Council and Waveney District Council for the delivery of a shared Office and Public Access facility in Lowestoft August 2012 Working together to provide value for money for public services Summary of Strategic Business Case This joint strategic business case was developed by Suffolk County Council (SCC) and Waveney District Council (WDC) to look at the feasibility of building a new shared office complex on land at Riverside Road, Lowestoft, previously obtained by WDC, whilst complementing it with a shared public access point in Lowestoft town centre. The business case considered the impact of the development on Lowestoft town centre and indicates that the project, delivering new modern high quality public sector offices, will provide an important catalyst for the regeneration both at the land identified at Riverside Road, by keeping much needed jobs within the town, and by careful management and disposal of the current buildings. Regeneration opportunities for the town centre will increase with SCC and WDC working together to create cohesive ‘land packages’ available which will be more attractive to developers. (section 4 and 13) The project proposes to create a shared public access point in the town centre to improve the customer experience whilst gaining efficiencies. Currently services are offered at a number of locations around the town. Both councils are committed to working with other public sector partners to increase the services available at the customer access point to provide a ‘single front door’ for services from the public sector in Lowestoft. (section 10) In preparing the business case a feasibility report was commissioned to ensure the estimated costs in the WDC and SCC Cabinet reports in April and May were confirmed as being sufficient to deliver the project. It concluded that a contribution from each Council of £6.825m would be sufficient for the project. Each council will also receive a receipt for disposal of their current properties. This report has indicated that the earliest the development would be available for occupation is late 2014. (section 12, appendix 2) The option to remain in the current buildings with extensive refurbishments was also costed and compared. Maintenance and refurbishment of the current buildings were analysed and the figures show that these costs exceed the capital value of the buildings. A further budget allocation will be required to remain in the current estate to allow the refurbishment works to be carried out. Opportunities to share premises would very limited with this option. (section 12) Demolition and rebuilding on the current sites would limit opportunities to share buildings due to planning restraints on the size of the buildings. The opportunity to reduce costs by sharing buildings would not be available. St Margarets and the Town Hall are listed buildings and therefore would need refurbishing as part of this option. In addition the opportunities to regenerate the town centre by releasing land would not be available.(section 12) Both refurbishment of the current estate and demolition and rebuilding would not offer ongoing savings through ‘soft’ costs such as sharing of building costs for example, reception, courier, postal, security and caretaking. Opportunities to reduce the Council’s carbon footprint by the use of renewable energy sources would be limited due to planning restraints. Neither option would maximise the regeneration of the town centre. Further ‘soft’ savings will also be made in travel time and mileage although these will not be easily quantifiable. (section 12,) Both Councils commitment to reducing their impact on the environment was also considered with a report commissioned to look at the economic case for the project from an energy performance perspective. The report estimates this project will result in a reduction of both Councils’ carbon footprint of up to 70% and the reduced running costs will continue to provide annual savings beyond 10 years. (section 12.4, appendix 6) SCC has recent experience of developing shared buildings with partners, Landmark House with Police, and West Suffolk House and Haverhill House with St Edmundsbury Borough Council. Using this experience a project governance is proposed by both SCC and WDC for Cabinet to delegate decision making to a Joint Committee of members. (section 5) Although both SCC and WDC have considerable expertise ‘in house’ it is proposed that a Programme Director is jointly appointed by SCC and WDC to programme manage the project, responsible to the Joint Committee. (section 6) Riverside Development Table of Contents Page Appendices and figures 1. Introduction 1 2. Partners 1 3. Letter of Intent 1 4. The Vision 2 5. Governance Arrangements 4 6. Programme Management 6 7. Assumptions 9 8. Why the programme is necessary 10 8.1 SCC 11 8.2 WDC 12 9. Strategic objectives 13 9.1 Links to Corporate Priorities 14 9.1.1 SCC 14 9.1.2 WDC 15 10. Public Access 16 11. IT Vision 18 12. Economic Case 19 12.1 Estimated project cost 19 12.2 SCC 21 12.3 WDC 27 12.4 Energy Costs 34 13. Ownership and Disposal Strategy 36 14. Delivery Timescales 37 14.1 Contract and Framework options 37 15. Environmental Impact 38 16. Transport and Travel 38 17. Conclusion 42 Appendices and figures Figures Number Description Page 1 Project Governance diagram 5 2 Programme Structure 8 3 IT vision 19 4 Proposed office locations 39 Appendices Number Description Page 1 Letter of Intent i 2 Client Design Advisor Executive Summary iii 3 SCC buildings estimated long term maintenance costs xvii 4 WDC buildings estimated long term maintenance costs xxi 5 Procurement options xxiii 6 Energy costs analysis – executive report xxxiii 1. Introduction This is a joint strategic business case developed by Suffolk County Council (SCC) and Waveney District Council (WDC) to look at the feasibility of building a new shared office complex on land at Riverside Road, Lowestoft, previously obtained by WDC, whilst complementing it with a shared public access point in Lowestoft town centre. 2. Partners This business case has been developed on the basis of principles agreed by SCC and WDC : 1. SCC and WDC jointly constructing a new shared office complex on the land previously obtained by WDC at Riverside Road, Lowestoft. 2. The Capital costs of the build will be shared 50/50 3. Both parties jointly owning the building (50/50) with running costs shared on a pro rata basis. It is the intention of both parties to seek opportunities for public sector and voluntary/community partners to also relocate to the property, subject to such arrangements not causing delay, cost or risk to delivery of the project. Discussions are underway to determine requirements of other such partners. Consideration will be given to current partnership arrangements that include services that have been outsourced and also any opportunities arising from the current divestment programme. 3. Letter of Intent To enable the Joint Business Case to be developed both Parties have signed a letter of intent (appendix 1) which covers Partnership principles Decision making Withdrawal of a party Confidentiality Dispute Resolution Should the business case proceed to project delivery, it is intended this letter of intent will be replaced by a formal Memorandum of Agreement for the duration of the project. 4. The Vision In the current financial climate the public sector needs to continue to obtain value for money and maximum efficiency from its property assets as well as ensuring that property remains fit for purpose and meets service needs whilst supporting economic growth and regeneration. The Suffolk Property Partnership has been set up to support the development of a Single Public Sector Estate in Suffolk, by looking at all public sector properties in Suffolk and to investigate whether savings in both revenue costs and carbon reductions can be made by sharing buildings. Co-location also affords an opportunity to provide a ‘one front door’ service to customers, greatly improving their current experience. All public sector organisations across Suffolk have been working together to identify a better way to deliver their services. In addition by working in partnership to dispose of both Councils current properties in the town centre, the project will enable better land packages to be offered for regeneration. Planners have indicated that the availability of the land in this way could act as a catalyst for the regeneration of Lowestoft town centre which might otherwise be impaired by the existing buildings. SCC and WDC have committed to work together on a disposal strategy that optimises the opportunities for the town centre. The existing sites in public sector use also offer significant potential redevelopment opportunities to help secure some of the objectives set out in the Waveney Local Development Framework which otherwise would not be delivered. Lowestoft is the county’s second largest town, facing some significant economic and social challenges that are being addressed, but as the public sector we need to lead the way in helping to bring forward and facilitate every opportunity. Last year the town had a number of sites designated as Enterprise Zones (EZ) recognising the economic challenges but acknowledging the town as a key strategic growth point on the east coast, linked primarily to the offshore energy industry. This project, delivering new modern high quality public sector offices, will provide an important catalyst for the regeneration of both the land identified at Riverside Road, by keeping much needed jobs within the town and by careful management and disposal of the current buildings. The development of Riverside Road would establish the confidence and “feel good factor” that the town is open for business and looking forward by placing the development at the heart of the new economic opportunities available, rather than as we currently are, dispersed around the town in poor quality buildings which is not a good first impression for new business to the town. WDC Planners have indicated that although the proposed use of this site for council offices could be seen as being contrary to the spirit of the EZ status it nevertheless provides a significant positive enhancement to the area, secures employment in the town and provides the opportunities to redevelop other key sites to enhance other parts of the town including in the town centre. This benefit significantly outweighs the negative impacts such that the proposals would in principle be supported. The WDC Planning officers have also had meetings with other potential occupiers of adjoining sites at Riverside Road looking for quality office development. By delivering on this site to the environmental and design parameters set it would also set the benchmark and aspiration for other investment in the town. This will have significant social and environmental benefits when seen alongside the other potential developments relating to the energy sector. The development of the Riverside Road site would also release vacant public sector buildings in the town that would deliver much needed regeneration opportunities. This includes land in and adjacent to the town centre and the Town Hall site. These additional mixed use development opportunities would increase the attractiveness of the town centre as a destination including looking to enhance the evening/nightime offer. Riverside Road development therefore accords with many of the objectives set by the councils regarding the future prosperity of the town. Development would be a positive vehicle for other investments and would clearly show that the town is open for business on behalf of its residents and businesses alike It is expected that although the office complex will be jointly owned between the Councils other partners will also locate staff in the complex or the public access point further improving inter service working and customer experience. The premises will be provided at a lower whole life cost than other accommodation alternatives. 5. Governance Arrangements SCC has previous experience of working in partnership with St Edmundsbury Borough Council to deliver the West Suffolk House project. The governance arrangements for the project worked well and it is proposed that similar governance arrangements are put in place for the Riverside development. It is proposed that a Joint Committee be formed as the appropriate framework under Sections 101 and 102 of the Local Government Act 1972, Section 20 of the Local Government Act 2000 and the Local Authorities Regulations 2000. The Joint Committee would comprise of two Councillor Members and officers from each Council. Under delegated powers the Joint Committee will: Manage and oversee the procurement and construction of the project including risk management and value engineering Manage the finance of the project ensuring the project remains within the budgeted capital costs Review and approve finance protocols and joint funding arrangements Approve tenant arrangements and sub-licenses/leases Procure the joint facilities management and fitting out of the building Oversee the arrangement for commissioning and occupation of the building Review and approve staff facilities Review and approve sustainability and environmental performance Review and approve equality and accessibility matters Oversee and strategically manage the ongoing use and arrangements for the property Approve the specification and design principles Oversee consultations Other matters that arise which fall to the decision making of the Joint Committee The Joint Committee can delegate to the Programme Director or sub committees if legally appropriate. It is proposed the Joint Committee would meet no less than 6 times a year and during the construction phase of the project would meet monthly. The meetings will be open to the public. Project governance diagram Fig 1 6. Programme Management SCC and WDC recognise that they are able to draw upon a range of in-house skills in the areas of finance, procurement, legal, property and ICT. However additional external support and specialist skills have been identified as necessary to move forward with the project management, delivery and implementation of the programme. With a 2 to 3 year programme of this nature there are considerable risks particularly associated with resources, which need expert management jointly and equally accountable to both Councils. The Joint Committee should be involved in the early stages of development of this programme and set up of the programme team as well as during the design and construction phases. For clarity: Programme – is a set of activities that need to come together to achieve a major business change Workstreams – are the component parts of a programme responsible for delivering the objectives Projects – each workstream consists of projects which have Well defined objectives A defined timescale and milestones Budget and benefit targets A manager Identified risks, assumptions and dependencies It is important for a programme of this complexity to have dedicated resources assigned to the management, implementation and delivery of the programme. It is proposed that a Programme Management Group is set up facilitated by the Programme Director. Programme Management Group The Group will be made up of designated officers from both SCC and WDC and will receive reports from the Programme Director which will include Construction Project Manager and Workstream leads. The Group will report to the Joint Committee. Programme Director The Programme Director role is vital to the successful delivery of the programme. He or she will manage and oversee all workstreams ensuring reporting and tasks are carried out correctly within budget and in a timely manner. He or she will also manage the project programme and oversee the procurement, construction, commissioning and occupation of the building. It is expected that ‘Managing Successful Programmes (MSP)’ and ‘Prince 2’ methodology will be used throughout the lifecycle of this programme. Experience has shown that despite the best intentions of working together as a partnership there will be occasions when needs do not entirely align between the parties. An independent’ Programme Director would help facilitate resolutions far more easily than if they were aligned wholly to one party. It is proposed that a Programme Director should be appointed jointly by SCC and WDC to oversee the project. Both parties will require management of the project which is not biased towards either party, and the joint appointment of a Programme Director will achieve this. SCC and WDC will appoint a Programme Director using the contract frameworks currently in place. An interview will be part of the selection process. The interviews and appointment will be jointly made by approved officers of both Council. Project Manager (Construction) The specialist management skills required during the construction phase of the programme would be best fulfilled by a construction project manager who will report to the Programme Director. The project manager will ensure the development and construction of the project is within budget and delivered on time. The appointment of the project manager will be made with the agreement of both parties. Workstreams There will be a requirement to create workstreams to manage individual projects within the programme. The workstreams will typically include: Construction Change Management Public Access Equipment procurement ICT Facilities Management procurement The following diagram demonstrates the links and dependencies between all elements of the programme. If one of the workstreams is removed or poorly maintained it weakens the structure of the programme. The Programme Director role is to ensure all links and dependencies are understood and maintained throughout the lifetime of the programme delivery. Fig 2 7. Assumptions To enable this business case to be delivered within the set timescales a number of working assumptions have been made The key assumptions are Non financial Public access facilities will continue to be required in Lowestoft town centre anticipated to be via the Marina Centre SCC and WDC will reach mutual agreement on green travel plan principles All new space provision is intended to operate on the basis of sharing of workstations and flexible smarter working Public Service Network will be developed and installed ICT infrastructure to operate in a manner that supports sharing workspaces In the main ICT equipment will be ‘lifted and shifted’ from existing locations New furniture will be provided throughout A new records management procedure/system will be implemented to avoid excessive storage solutions being required in the new office complex. Catering provision will be limited to hot and cold drinks, light snacks, pre-packed sandwiches and salads, soup and baked potatoes etc Subject to cost implications the Councils aspire to have a building which achieves environmentally favourable outcomes. Financial Scheme will include no substantial section 106 or other planning requirements including works to the quay. The new building will be owned 50/50 Any income from partners will be shared 50/50 Running costs will be shared by both parties on a pro rata basis As the project develops these assumptions will become quantifiable. 8. Why the programme is necessary In the current financial climate the public sector needs to continue to obtain value for money and maximum efficiency from its property as well as ensuring that property remains fit for purpose and meets service needs. Both SCC and WDC are committed to working with other organisations to maximise this approach as well as provide, where possible, joined up front line services. It is believed that there is potential for future joint working with partners and the opportunity for improved service delivery and support functions, through the sharing of property. Experience in other properties has demonstrated that bringing staff together in a shared space enhances existing relationships as well as creating the circumstances for new ones. In some cases elsewhere closer working between services has developed when none was anticipated. The project will also provide an opportunity for the rationalisation of offices, improved and consolidated public access, provision of fit for purpose case conferencing, the rationalisation and improvement of training, meeting and conferencing facilities and a multi use Council Chamber. A suitable site has previously been acquired by Waveney District Council at Riverside Road, Lowestoft, originally for the Waveney Campus Project for the provision of new council accommodation. Having this site within the public sector estate avoids the need for the uncertainty, cost and time associated with further land transactions. Waveney District Council through its legal advisers has established that the scheme can be developed as now proposed as it meets the original requirements under which the land was acquired through Compulsory Purchase Order. Ongoing revenue savings will be made by efficiencies in energy consumption, savings by sharing buildings, cost sharing between SCC and WDC on ‘soft’ facilities management costs for example reception, cleaning, caretaking and security, and for SCC in particular the efficiencies in travel time and costs as the proposed location is south of Lake Lothing with better access to both north Suffolk and areas to the south. 8.1 Suffolk County Council Suffolk County Council’s current office and public access accommodation in Lowestoft is principally located in four buildings Clapham House, Adrian House, Alexandra Road and St Margarets. These do not provide the best provision for the delivery of 21st Century local government services as the offices are predominantly cellular and do not encourage integration of services. All the buildings are owned by SCC. Registrars and Youth Offending Service will need to remain located in the town centre as will other public access functions but all other “back” office accommodation will be provided in the proposed joint accommodation. In 2007 as part of the business case for the Waveney Campus project SCC identified the need to replace its Lowestoft office accommodation. The Council has therefore had a longstanding desire to secure more suitable accommodation in the area. The Waveney Campus Project was a partnership between Suffolk County Council, Waveney District Council and The Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science. There are significant service related and financial benefits that could be realised from the relocation of the Council’s offices into two shared facilities (back office and public access) with Waveney District Council in Lowestoft. In addition there are opportunities for additional “softer” savings through economies of scale, business process re-engineering, the sharing and combination of services and the associated reductions in duplication. The current condition reports on the SCC buildings indicate a significant expenditure will be required within the next three to four years on essential maintenance. In addition to future maintenance, investment will be required to improve the energy efficiency of the buildings to meet the carbon reduction programme. The County Council currently provides 270 workstations for staff in Lowestoft. It is expected that the project will provide an opportunity to reduce the number of workstations by improving flexible working opportunities and therefore reduce costs. Floor area will also be reduced by moving from cellular to flexible open plan accommodation. Many of the business journeys undertaken by SCC staff based in Lowestoft head south of Lake Lothing. Presently all SCC properties are north of Lake Lothing so it is anticipated that there will be service efficiencies in both mileage and time costs as a result of the proposed new location. 8.2 Waveney District Council The Council’s current office accommodation is generally in a poor condition, badly configured, and not designed for the provision of 21st Century local government services. The Council has therefore had a longstanding desire to secure more suitable accommodation. Additionally reports indicate significant investment is required in the buildings in order to bring them up to modern standards in design and efficiency. The Council has simultaneously been following a rationalising process, disposing of assets that are either no longer required or not fit for purpose. Some of the main sites to date are those in Compass Street, Gordon Road, Clapham Road and the former Nursery at Monckton Avenue. Improvements have also been made to the Marina Customer Service Centre and the Depot in Rotterdam Road. Further future investments will be required into these buildings and these are planned to take place over the next few years. It is proposed that these major improvements will be made after the completion of the main office accommodation project. This will allow the Town Hall and Mariners Street complex to be used for the temporary short term relocation of services, if required, in order to keep costs to a minimum. Future development proposals for the vacated Town Hall complex would then be able to be progressed. The office accommodation project will also require the Council to address associated challenges regarding the long term storage and collection of data. The Council currently provides office accommodation for 320 staff and partner agencies at the Town Hall, Mariners Street and Marina Customer Service Centre buildings. The Council considers this project with Suffolk County Council is the best method to provide suitable combined facilities in the town centre and Riverside Road for the community, businesses and visitors to the area. 9. Strategic Objectives Both SCC and WDC aim to achieve strategic objectives as a result of this project Categories Objective Financial Must be affordable and meet with acceptable levels of risk Financial Must deliver efficiencies in service delivery and support value for money provision Financial Future cost avoidance Environmental SCC and WDC to work together to ensure the project supports the economic regeneration of Lowestoft town centre Environmental Must consolidate assets and reduce carbon footprint Environmental Must be in line with SCC environmental action plan and WDC sustainability action plan and from a Waveney District Council perspective target the BREEAM excellent standard Customer To improve public access to services of both partners thereby improving service delivery Staff To provide an improved fit for purpose work environment Staff Support new ways of working Partner Should encourage wider interaction of public sector partners Timeliness To identify a procurement solution that ensures delivery of the project in 2014/15 These objectives are designed to be flexible and fit for the future. 9.1 Links to Corporate Priorities In order to test the validity of the business case and its strategic objectives a review of the Corporate Priorities and their connection to the objectives has been undertaken. Across both Councils a number of links can be demonstrated and are shown below 9.1.1 Suffolk County Council The strategic objectives are compared to the Corporate Priorities laid out in Cllr Bee’s speech on 24 May 2012. Corporate Priority Strategic Objective Localism and the Our Must deliver efficiencies in service delivery Place agenda and provide value for money. To improve public access to services of both partners thereby improving service delivery Should encourage wider involvement of public sector partners Building on Suffolk’s Must consolidate assets and reduce existing strengths carbon footprint Must be in line with SCC environmental action plan Education To provide an improved fit for purpose work environment Should encourage wider involvement of public sector partners Economic growth and To ensure that by working closely with jobs WDC the opportunities for the economic regeneration of the town centre are maximised To provide an improved fit for purpose work environment Should encourage wider involvement of public sector partners Supporting vulnerable To improve public access to services of people both partners thereby improving service delivery Should encourage wider involvement of public sector partners 9.1.2 Waveney District Council Strategic Direction “Making Waveney a great place for anyone to grow up, live, work and visit” Corporate Priorities – The Priority Strategic Objectives Outcomes below are all guided by the four main strategic objectives. Prosperous and Vibrant Economy People Skills and Organisational Development Learning and Skills for the Future Partnership Working Community Needs and Aspirations Safe, Healthy and Inclusive Finance and Performance Communities Management Reduced Carbon Footprint The Greenest County 10 Public Access Public access and services are currently provided at the following locations: Suffolk County Council St Margarets House (SCC) Registrars Youth Offending Service Alexandra Road Youth and family outreach service Clapham House Public Access point The Junction Youth service Childrens Centres and Library Waveney District Council Town Hall/Mariners Street Offices Licensing, Environmental Health, Senior Management Team, Planning Policy, Leisure and Tourism, General Customer Services, Internal and External Audit, Democratic Services and Electoral Registration, Legal, Policy, Accounts, Community Development, Drainage and Coast Protection, Economic Regeneration, HR and Payroll, ICT, Commercial Partnerships and Strategic Commissioning, Property Information, Asset Management. Marina Customer Service Centre Main Customer Service enquiries and call centre for all services, Development Control and Conservation, Building Control, Housing Options, Revenues and Benefits. It is proposed that as a result of this project a joint public access point will be provided at The Marina Centre and it is expected that other public sector services will also share the facility. The Riverside development will provide access to the public by appointment only. An integral part of the proposal to share an office complex at Riverside Road is the need to maintain a town centre public access point. WDC currently own and use The Marina Centre for public access as well as for back office staff. The building is ideally located in the town centre with a small car park at the rear. WDC propose to relocate their back office staff to Riverside Road which will provide the opportunity to relocate the Registrars and Youth Offending Service to the Marina Centre along with SCC and WDC public access. It is anticipated that the Marina Centre will be largely vacated once the Riverside development is complete, allowing alteration works to be carried out for the public services to be relocated, avoiding any disruption to the delivery of the services. The alterations to the Marina Centre to accommodate the new services are included as part of the capital costs of the overall project. Benefits for shared public access Non financial Better customer experience – only 1 visit required Service integration with SCC and WDC working together Potential for other public sector partners to use a shared access point further improving the service to the public Financial Reduced revenue costs by sharing facilities and potentially staff The proposals for shared public access fit with the objectives of the wider Public Access project that is being undertaken with boroughs and districts and that is also part of the County Council’s process of planning for the end of the contract with CSD in May 2014 11 IT vision The IT vision for the proposed shared premises at Riverside and the Marina Centre is to create an office environment where IT enhances the ability of SCC and WDC teams to work together across their respective disciplines, along with other public sector partners, and which is flexible enough to cope with evolving change. The Public Service Network is currently being developed which is a network that can be shared between members of the public sector whilst still maintaining data security requirements. This will enable any authorised public sector partner to log on to any computer connected to the network which will then provide access to their own secure data and systems without any data security issues. It is anticipated that the Public Service Network will be fully developed by the completion of the building project. Both SCC and WDC are committed to supporting this development. The shared working arrangements within the new building will also need to accommodate the requirement for various joint and partnership arrangements which exist outside the building – whether these are relevant to both initial occupants or to just one of them. It is proposed flexible telephony will be available throughout the building. This will provide access to a unified communications backbone from fixed and flexible work spaces and meeting spaces. Wireless connectivity will be available throughout the building along with audio and video conferencing This vision needs to be balanced against budgetary constraints therefore the approach will be to specify and build the underlying infrastructure so that connectivity, services and innovation can be developed as projects develop in the future whilst reusing current existing IT equipment where appropriate. The diagram below shows the technical vision for the new building, and how other services may be incorporated into the model as they are needed. SCC WDC End User End User Device Device Data/Voice unified communications backbone Structured Cabling and wireless access points Shared space (Reception, meeting rooms and Training) Facilities Management Facility Fig 3 12 Economic Business Case Both SCC and WDC are committed to providing value for money for public services. An analysis of the current estate of both councils both in terms of revenue and capital costs was undertaken. Comparisons have been made with the maintenance and refurbishment costs of the current estate and the capital expenditure required for this project along with running cost comparisons which are shown in this section. 12.1 Estimated project cost To estimate the capital investment required by both Councils Waveney first produced an outline brief which was submitted to two contractors for costing. This brief allowed for a floor area of 3,200m2 (square metres) and was costed at £8 to £9m. Reports to both WDC and SCC Cabinets in April and May were based on these figures and indicated a capital investment from each Council of £5m would be required to complete the project. As part of the strategic business case SCC and WDC have since jointly commissioned a feasibility report, procured through the WDC framework, to further investigate the requirements for the building and to assess in more detail, without a commercial bias, the costs of the completed project. A Quantity Surveyor has also been appointed to assess the current cost of construction in the market place and a Client Design Advisor (CDA) to ensure the feasibility report has correctly interpreted both Councils requirements. The reports have indicated that the floor area of the building would need to be a minimum of 4,200m2 to accommodate the requirements of both Councils. Even though this is an increase in the floor area originally anticipated the CDA states it will be challenging to meet both Councils’ requirements within a building of this size and many areas will need to be designed with a dual purpose or be flexible spaces. The Client Design Advisor’s report is attached as appendix 2. The original contractors feasibility and costs were based on the smaller floor area and excluded a number of items that would add substantial additional costs to the project. The commissioned feasibility report has reviewed the potential costs with input from the CDA and Quantity Surveyor. The costs are now estimated to be between £9.5m and £11.5m with additional costs for the ‘fit out’ of the building including IT provision, costs of relocation and the remodelling of the Marina Centre as a shared public access centre. The feasibility report has calculated this cost estimate on recent similar public sector projects. At this stage it is not possible to determine actual costs for the whole project but it would be prudent to reserve capital based on the middle of the range of the estimated cost and adding 30% to cover other costs associated with the project such as refurbishment of the Marina Centre and ‘fit out’ of the buildings. This results in a recommended contribution of £6.825m from each Council. The next section highlights the impact on each council. 12.2 Suffolk County Council’s position Suffolk Council’s current office and public access accommodation in Lowestoft is principally located in four buildings: Clapham House, Adrian House Alexandra Road St Margarets These do not provide the best provision for the delivery of 21st Century local government services as the offices are predominantly cellular which means they do not encourage integration of services and have more circulation/non- productive space. There are also inefficiencies in operating out of four separate buildings. In order to continue services in Lowestoft the County Council will need to either Upgrade the existing estate to a satisfactory standard Replace the existing accommodation The following factors would need to be taken into account in deciding the best option. Maintenance and refurbishment costs Due to their age and design, to maintain the buildings in their already poor current condition would be costly and there is a higher likelihood of further deterioration. The short term maintenance costs stated relate to ‘fixes’ rather than the major improvements that would be required to bring them to the standard provided by new accommodation.. If the decision is to remain in the current properties then a longer term view of maintenance could be taken which would reduce shorter term maintenance costs, for example, planned secondary glazing and repair of the curtain walling at Clapham House (£500,000) could be postponed until full glazing and curtain walling replacement work is carried out (£1m). If SCC retain their staff in these buildings then extensive maintenance and refurbishment works will need to be carried out over the next 10 years to maintain and improve health and safety and staff welfare along with works to reduce the councils’ carbon footprint. To assess costs the expected maintenance has been split into works that will be required within the next 4 years as well as works that will need to be carried out in the longer term (next 4 to 10 years) if further deterioration is to be avoided. The table below shows the anticipated costs of these works Adrian Clapham Alexandra St Total House House Road Margarets £000’s £000’s £000’s £000’s £000’s Anticipated short term maintenance costs (next 4 years) 98 966 42 165 1,271 Estimated long term maintenance /refurbishment costs inc some CO2 improvements 1,110 3,233 503 1,759 6,605 Maximum total anticipated expenditure over 10 years £1,208 £4,199 £545 £1,924 Total £7,876 The estimated total spend on the four buildings over the next 10 years of £7.87m could be reduced if some of the short term maintenance works were postponed until full refurbishment. It may however not be possible to postpone these works due to health and safety reasons. Further costs may be incurred during these works to rehouse staff who for safety reasons may need to be relocated, A breakdown of the longer term maintenance/refurbishment figures is shown in appendix 3. Current annual capital property maintenance budgets allow for £2m across the whole of SCC’s estate with priority given to health and safety changes in legislation and compliance matters. It is unlikely that the maintenance budget will be available to carry out all the maintenance works required within the 4 years planned. The refurbishment or longer term maintenance required on the buildings to bring them to a suitable standard for 21st century public services would need to be funded by an additional budget allowance. This funding may not be forthcoming resulting in deteriorating accommodation with increased risks both physical and in service such as demotivation and loss of staff, as well as a reduction in service levels. Current building regulations require that when works are carried out to an existing building 10% of the project cost must be spent on upgrading the remaining accommodation to current standards of energy performance. Therefore if the works were to be carried out in stages costs would increase further. There is a significant risk to continuity of services with this option as staff will need to be relocated during the building works. The regeneration opportunities for the town centre would not be available with this approach. Demolition and replacement In light of the costs of maintenance and refurbishment on the current estate, which would still require ongoing maintenance due to the age of the buildings, the option to demolish and rebuild on SCC current sites has been considered. The opportunity for renewable energy sources (such as wind turbines) in the new buildings would be limited due to their location in the town centre and the restrictions the surrounding buildings would have on the developments. It should be noted there will be a need to comply with town and country planning requirements which may further restrict the development. Costs demolition rebuild total £000’s £000’s £000’s Clapham House 450 4,900 £5,350 Adrian House 150 1,250 £1,400 Note: In addition refurbishment works of £1.9m would be required on St Margarets as it is a listed building, and there may be an opportunity for a capital receipt for Alexandra Road estimated at £125k. Temporary buildings would be required to house staff during the build as neither building is large enough to house all staff from the other building. St Margarets is a listed building and as such would only be suitable for refurbishment and ongoing maintenance. If the decision was to demolish and rebuild Clapham House and Adrian House the staff in Alexandra Road could be accommodated in one of the new buildings freeing up the premises for disposal. Although it may be possible to relocate the Registrars and Youth Offending Service from St Margarets to one of the new buildings it is likely that alternative premises will need to be found due to the constrained nature of the sites or they will need to remain in the current premises. The option to demolish and rebuild Adrian House and Clapham House would mean that SCC would remain in several locations Although the rebuilt offices could be designed to accommodate office space more suited to 21st century working, it would not afford opportunities to share with other partners or to consolidate SCC as the footprint of the buildings would not necessarily be able to increase substantially due to planning restrictions. The regeneration opportunities for the town centre would not be available with this approach. Disposal of current Estate If the decision is taken to proceed with the Riverside development then the current SCC sites can be sold. The opportunity for capital receipts is especially challenging given current market conditions but a realistic view of the current economic climate and the value of the estate in Lowestoft has been taken into account. It should be noted that these figures have been estimated and full valuations have not been carried out. Adrian Clapham Alexandra St House House Road Margarets £000’s £000’s £000’s £000’s Estimated disposal value 450 520 125 180 Total £1,275 Suffolk County Council Summary To remain in current estate Annual Cost Over 10 years £,000's £,000's £,000's Estimated maintenance 1,271 costs over next 4 years Estimated refurbishment costs/long term 6,605 maintenance (no budget held) Annual costs based on 2011/12 Energy 45 FM costs 153 Rates 63 Total annual costs 261 2,610 10,485 To relocate to Riverside and Marina Centre in joint development with WDC Capital Cost 6,825 Disposal receipt -1,275 Total 5,550 Annual costs (based on 50% of estimates) Energy (inc Marina Centre) 22 FM costs – Marina Centre 11 FM costs - Riverside 75 (estimated) Riverside Road rates 16 (estimated) Marina Centre rates 14 (estimated) Maintenance costs 43 (estimated) Total annual costs 181 1,810 £7,360 Riverside development – costs over 10 years compared to remaining in existing estate -£3,125 The NNDR rates payable on Riverside Road are estimated to be in the region of £60k per annum which will be shared 50/50 between SCC and WDC. However as the development is in the Enterprise Zone the development is expected to qualify for up to £275k rate relief over the first five years of occupation. The figure included above is the average of 10 year costs with the rate relief included. Future maintenance costs on Riverside and Marina Centre have been applied by basing the estimate on pro rata West Suffolk House costs. The costs of financing the capital spend on the table above have not been included and these have been separately identified in the report to Cabinet requesting support for this project dated 11 September 2012. There will also be opportunities for further ‘soft’ savings associated with the Riverside development such as shared reception and reduced travel time and costs for SCC staff and improved staff productivity arising from working in better quality environment with better customer experience due to less double handling of enquiries. 12.3 Waveney District Council’s position Waveney District Council (WDC) current office and public access accommodation in Lowestoft is principally located in four buildings Town Hall, Single Storey Annex, Two storey Annex, Mariners Street offices and Marina Customer Services Centre. Other than the customer services centre the buildings do not provide the best provision for the delivery of 21st Century local government services as the offices are predominately cellular and do not encourage integration of services. As the Marina Customer Services Centre will remain in operation post any new build or refurbishment this asset has been included as part of the overall options appraisal. The Council has simultaneously been following a rationalising process, disposing of assets that are either no longer required or not fit for purpose. Some of the main sites to date are those in Compass Street, Gordon Road, Clapham Road and the former Nursery at Monckton Avenue. As a consequence the council has already made significant revenue savings and the additional savings from this project are in line with the direction of travel and continue the efficiencies moving forward. It is considered that in partnership with the County Council who are at an earlier stage in their journey that the projected joint reduced costs demonstrate value for money. Maintenance costs The buildings are costly to maintain due to their construction and age. The short term maintenance costs stated relate to short term temporary solutions rather than major improvements or long term solutions. If the decision is to remain in the current properties then a longer term view of maintenance could be taken which would reduce shorter term maintenance costs but may require further capital expenditure to that identified so far. Aside from a “do nothing” option, if WDC were to remain at the current location two main options are available: Option 1 - redevelop / refurbish the Mariners Street offices at Mariners Street to accommodate staff displaced from Town Hall, single and two storey annex buildings. This option excludes additional costs that would arise if the Council were to try and capitalise on environmental enhancements and other improvements to the structure of the existing building as part of any remodelling. Option 2 – New build of the Mariners Street offices to BREEAM excellent at Mariners Street to accommodate staff displaced from Town Hall, single and two storey annex buildings. Do Nothing – The table below shows the value of the current Town Hall complex in its existing use: Town Hall including both Mariners Street Annex buildings offices Estimated disposal £310,000 £575,000 value Against these values is the expected maintenance required within the next 4 years, as well as works that have already been identified that will need to be carried out in the longer term, the next 5 to 10 years to maintain the current values of the existing buildings. The table below shows that the anticipated costs of the works that will be needed to maintain their value is in excess of their existing value: Two Marina Mariners Single Storey Customer Town Street Storey Annex Service Hall offices Annex Centre £000’s £000’s £000’s £000’s £000’s Anticipated short term maintenance costs (next 4 years) 495 175 96 51 311 Estimated long term maintenance costs (4 to 10 years) inc some CO2 improvements 176 201 58 161 165 Maximum total anticipated maintenance expenditure over 10 years £671 £376 £154 £212 £476 Total £1,889 The anticipated total maintenance expenditure on the four buildings at the Town Hall complex over the next 10 years is estimated to be £1,413m with a further £0.476m at the Marina Centre. This could be reduced if some of the short term maintenance works were postponed until full refurbishment. It may however not be possible to postpone some of these works due to health and safety or staff welfare reasons. Further costs will be incurred during these works to decant staff who for safety reasons may need to be relocated, A breakdown of the longer term maintenance figures is shown in Appendix 4. Disposal of current Estate If the decision is taken to proceed with the Riverside Road development then both the current WDC sites can be sold. Alternatively, if monies were invested in the Mariners site, a capital receipt from the Town Hall could be expected. The opportunity for capital receipts is lower than might once have been expected but a realistic view of the current economic climate and the value of estate in Lowestoft has been taken into account. It should be noted that these figures have been estimated on the basis of existing use and full valuations have not been carried out including those for any alternate uses that might be permitted. Town Hall including both Mariners Street Annex buildings offices Estimated disposal £310,000 £575,000 value Option 1 – Redevelopment / refurbishment of Mariners Street offices & demolition of both Annex buildings In light of the maintenance costs relating to the current estate, which would still require ongoing maintenance due to the age of the buildings the option to redevelop and a limited refurbishment of the Mariners Street Offices has been considered. This option would allow The Town Hall, a listed building to be sold and a capital receipt obtained. If the decision taken was to redevelop and refurbish the Mariners Street offices the staff currently in Mariners Street offices will need to be accommodated elsewhere during those works. The cost of temporary alternative accommodation has been included in the figures below to decant staff during the refurbishment as neither building is large enough to house all staff from the other building. In addition, the opportunity for renewable energy sources in any remodelling would also be limited due to location. It should be noted there will be a need to comply with planning requirements which may further restrict the development opportunity Whilst this option has some advantages as to cost, it fails to satisfy a number of key considerations set out in the vision, not the least of which surround the development of the enterprise zone, wider regeneration opportunities within the town centre, joint and shared working with wider partners and nor does it allow either Council to optimise the use of their accommodation requirements. Option 2 – New build of the Mariners Street offices to BREEAM excellent at Mariners Street to accommodate staff displaced from Town Hall & demolition of both Annex buildings This option is a further development of Option 1 incorporating a new build to BREEAM standards. However, many of the disadvantages remain if the councils are to fulfil their vision set out earlier, to take account of the benefits to the wider community and businesses and to optimise the use of their assets for the benefit of all. In addition, the nature of the site, and planning constraints, would make it highly unlikely for any new build to be capable of incorporating the Council’s total staffing requirements, which in any event could only be achieved at greater cost than that shown. The following tables set out a financial summary of the two options subject to the caveats set out above and compare them to the relocation and a new joint build at Riverside Road: Waveney District Council Summary Option 1 – Redevelopment / refurbishment of Mariners Street offices & demolition of both Annex buildings Annual Over 10 years Cost £,000's £,000's £,000's Capital Cost 2,690 Disposal receipt -310 Total £2,380 10 year maintenance costs 726 Annual costs based on 2011/12 Energy 104 FM costs 73 Rates 52 Rates 52 Total annual costs £229 2,290 £5,396 To relocate to Riverside and Marina Centre in joint development with SCC Capital Cost 6,825 Disposal receipt -885 Total £5,940 Annual costs (based on 50% of estimates) Energy (inc Marina Centre) 22 FM costs – Marina Centre 11 FM costs - Riverside (estimated) 75 Riverside Road rates (estimated) 16 Marina Centre rates (estimated) 14 Maintenance costs (estimated) 43 Total annual costs £181 £1,810 £7,750 Riverside development – costs over 10 years compared to option 1 £2,354 Option 2 – New build of the Mariners Street offices & demolition of both Annex buildings Annual Over 10 years Cost £,000's £,000's £,000's Capital Cost 5938 Disposal receipt -310 Total £5,628 10 year maintenance costs 476 Energy 67 FM costs 73 Rates 52 Total annual costs £192 1,920 8,024 To relocate to Riverside and Marina Centre in joint development with SCC Capital Cost 6,825 Disposal receipt -885 Total £5,940 Annual costs (based on 50% of estimates) Energy (inc Marina Centre) 22 FM costs – Marina Centre 11 FM costs - Riverside (estimated) 75 Riverside Road rates (estimated) 16 Marina Centre rates (estimated) 14 Maintenance costs (estimated) 43 Total annual costs £181 £1,810 £7,750 Riverside development – costs over 10 years compared to option 2 -£274 The NNDR rates payable on Riverside Road are estimated to be in the region of £60k per annum which will be shared 50/50 between SCC and WDC. However as the development is in the Enterprise Zone the development is expected to qualify for up to £275k rate relief over the first five years of occupation. The figure included above is the average of 10 year costs with the rate relief included. Future maintenance costs on Riverside and Marina Centre have been applied by basing the estimate on pro rata West Suffolk House costs. There will also be opportunities for further ‘soft’ savings associated with the Riverside development such as shared reception and reduced travel time and costs for staff and improved staff productivity arising from working in better quality environment with better customer experience due to less double handling of enquiries. 12.4 Energy Costs Both SCC and WDC aim to reduce their carbon footprint and minimise the impact their services have on the environment. Energy costs for both Councils needed to be taken into account when looking at the options for rationalising their estate and an economic analysis from an energy performance perspective was undertaken (attached as appendix 6) with a case study carried out on Clapham House. Both SCC and WDC current buildings provide poor energy efficiency due the fabric and design of the buildings. Works could be carried out to improve efficiencies but the location of the buildings severely limits opportunities for adding renewable energy systems to reduce energy costs. An example of costs vs savings with regard to Clapham House is shown below Clapham House £000 Current energy costs 22 Building works to improve energy efficiencies 1,270 Estimated annual running costs after building works 13 Note: the estimated building works cost is included in the 4 to 10 year refurbishment figures A comparison of costs has been produced using historical data for current premises coupled with thermal modelling to estimate the future energy consumption at Riverside Road. Indications are that the energy performance rating at the proposed new build could be ‘A’ rated, whilst the Town Hall is currently rated ‘G’ and Clapham House ‘F’. Further detail is shown in the report on energy performance in appendix 6 WDC and SCC current annual energy costs £000 Adrian House 11 Clapham House 22 46 Alexandra Road 3 St Margarets 9 WDC Town Hall High Street 33 Mariners St and annex 47 Marina Centre 17 Total annual energy costs 142 It is proposed that the construction of the Riverside development will comply with the BREEAM ethos and a desire to reduce carbon which will increase the energy efficiency of the building. The location provides opportunities to include renewable energy sources such as Photovoltaic cells and wind turbines. Riverside development £000 anticipated energy costs 40 potential reduction for renewable energy sources 6 Marina Centre 60% of current costs 10 Total annual energy costs 44 At current energy costs this would generate savings of £98,000 pa over the running costs of the current estate for both councils. The energy cost reduction for the SCC estate would be £23,000 pa based on 50% of the running costs of Riverside development and Marina Centre and for WDC a reduction of £75,000 on the same basis. As the use of the Marina Centre will be changed substantially it is difficult to estimate a definite energy cost but based on 60% of current usage cost is likely to be in the region of £10,000pa. During the design other forms of renewable energy will be assessed for their ability to reduce running costs further. As energy costs rise any energy sourced from a renewable source at little ongoing costs becomes more valuable. The reduction in floor area of the WDC and SCC estate by relocating to Riverside in a joint office complex along with a shared public access point is estimated to result in a reduction in carbon emissions by up to 70% (see appendix 6) 13 Ownership and Disposal Strategy The facilities at Riverside Road and The Marina are proposed to be in joint ownership, both the value of land and buildings and any subsequent works will be incorporated within the final business case. As part of the project both partners have agreed to a joint disposal strategy for the surplus assets that will be available on the market as a consequence of the future working arrangements, the strategy will include both planning and regeneration requirements and consider a co-ordinated and phased disposal that delivers value for money and best protects the public purse. By working in partnership to dispose of current properties in the town centre the project will enable better land packages to be offered for regeneration. Planners have indicated that the availability of the land could act as a catalyst for the regeneration of Lowestoft town centre. SCC and WDC have committed to work together on a disposal strategy that optimises the opportunities for the town centre. 14 Delivery timescales The contractor’s feasibility report obtained prior to the Cabinet reports in April indicated that the project could be delivered within 100 weeks and could be ready for occupation by mid 2014. The feasibility report jointly commissioned for this business case has, along with the Client Design Advisor (CDA) confirmed that they do not believe the programme is deliverable within 100 weeks. It has been indicated that a more realistic programme is likely to be 134 weeks – see appendix 2 for details. This would mean that if agreement was provided to proceed in September 2012 and resources made immediately available that the earliest the building would be ready for occupation would be between December 2014 and March 2015. 14.1 Contract and Framework Options The CDA report (appendix 2) summarises the review of contract options for this project: A review has been completed on contract options. We would advise that the NEC Contract is not used for this project and we would advise the use of a fixed price JCT Contract, traditional or Design and Build but would highlight the risk of failing to scope and confirm the employee’s requirements, tolerances and contractual documents prior to engaging a Design and Build Contract. Failure to do this limits the ability of the client to be able to manage the project successfully to time and budget. An analysis of available procurement routes is shown in appendix 5. It is recommended that the final decision on the procurement option will be taken at the appropriate point in the project and will be agreed by the Joint Committee based on recommendations made by the Programme Management Group 15 Environmental Impact The goal is to minimise the new building’s use of resources (carbon footprint) whilst maximising it’s positive local environmental impact. Previous built projects have been compliant with the BREEAM assessment method and it has previously been anticipated that the Riverside Road development would aspire to have BREEAM excellent accreditation. However, initial discussions with Waveney DC Planning team have indicated that as there are some very significant planning and regeneration opportunities presented by this development for the immediate area, and the town centre they would be prepared to favourably recommend a development designed to achieve the equivalent of BREEAM 'excellent' for energy and water and for the other remaining elements that make up the BREEAM assessment criteria compliance at a level of 'very good' . This would be in conjunction with reviewing the viability issues raised by the CDA. The development would be a potential catalyst for the delivery of other developments in the town at a time when there are known economic/viability constraints. This approach very much accords with the aspirations of the AAP and the newly published National Planning Policy Framework and WDC's own recently published Business Plan to support the delivery of economic growth. 16 Transport and travel The Riverside development proposed site is south of Lake Lothing but still close to the town centre. Public Access will be provided at The Marina Centre in the town centre. The Marina Centre SCC and WDC shared public access including Youth Offending Service and Registrars Riverside SCC and WDC shared ‘back office’ Fig 4 In line with both Councils’ desire to reduce their environmental impact a ‘Green’ Travel Plan will be devised in consultation with stakeholders. Production of a travel plan is also a planning requirement. As the Riverside Road site will be a largely “back office” facility, there is limited requirement for public access. Therefore the travel plan will be primarily focussed on ensuring staff will be able to travel to the site using sustainable transport. It is proposed that a number of pool cars will be made available for staff to use for business travel in particular for short journeys. SCC currently has a fleet of 57 pool cars (41 based at Endeavour House) with a total of 21,000 bookings made in 2011/12 financial year. It is intended to include a charging point for electric cars within the car park. The car park at The Marina Centre would be limited to cars required for service need. Current situation The 2011 staff travel survey showed that 28% of Suffolk County Council staff at Clapham House were travelling sustainably, of which 13% were cycling, 10% walking, 3% using the train and 3% coming as car passengers. Not a single member of staff who responded to the survey was using the bus. Take- up of the existing 50% discounts for SCC staff on bus tickets in Lowestoft is extremely low (no more than 20 staff a year). For Waveney District Council, 41% of staff were travelling sustainably; 12% cycling, 12% walking, 8% car passengers, 4% using trains, 4% using buses and 1% on motorcycles. Walking and cycling In order to encourage walking and cycling, the building should provide: Secure and covered cycle parking Shower facilities Lockers An area for drying clothes It is proposed that The Green Travel budget will also fund two new pool cycles for the building. Bus travel The proposed site has excellent public transport links due to its proximity to stops on the 101 bus service on Waveney Drive very close to the junction with Riverside Road. The 101 is a cross-town service, which travels between Carlton Colville and Gunton, via the central bus station. The 101 service currently has eleven buses between 7am and 9am, then three buses an hour until 4pm, after which there are eleven services between 4pm and 6pm. This provides excellent opportunities for commuting, as well as regular services throughout the day for staff wishing to travel to the town centre, either to visit the Marina Centre for meetings or for personal use. Due to the quality of the existing service, there is little need to provide a shuttle bus as has been done in Ipswich for Endeavour House. Instead, there are two options: Allow staff free travel on the 101 service and maintain the discounts already available on First and Anglian Buses. Allow staff free travel on all bus services in Lowestoft, which have recently been improved as part of the Lowestoft Local Links project. This would enable staff to commute into the centre of Lowestoft on a range of routes and then either walk the remainder of the way or connect with the 101 service. Although this may increase the length of their commute, the fact that it would be free would make it a more attractive option. Car sharing In order to encourage car sharing, the site would have a number of designated bays in prime locations in the car park. These would be reserved for car sharers, who would sign up through the existing system – www.suffolkcarshare.com Single car occupancy The main aim of a travel plan is to reduce single car occupancy. In order to discourage this, and also to fund the sustainable transport measures, Suffolk County Council has a policy of charging staff to park when new sites are opened to finance the sustainable travel plan. Waveney District Council do not have a policy of charging for car parking. Funding of the travel plan will need to be considered by consultation between the Councils and all stakeholders. 17 Conclusion Both SCC and WDC’s current accommodation is in poor condition and not configured for 21st century public sector delivery of services. Substantial investment will be needed if the Councils remain in their current properties but the issues around cellular offices and delivery of services from several locations in the town will not be resolved. By creating a shared office complex on land at Riverside Road, Lowestoft, previously obtained by WDC, and complementing it with a shared public access point in Lowestoft town centre with 50/50 ownership and share of running costs. Both SCC and WDC will have an opportunity to offer a better customer service and realise savings in ongoing costs in the longer term whilst creating further opportunities to regenerate Lowestoft town centre as well as reducing the impact on the environment. Ongoing revenue savings will be made by efficiencies in energy consumption, savings by sharing buildings, cost sharing between SCC and WDC on ‘soft’ facilities management costs for example reception, cleaning, caretaking and security. There will also be the efficiencies in travel time and costs as the proposed location is south of Lake Lothing with better access to both north Suffolk and areas to the south. The project will provide better working conditions for staff and underpin improved and more efficient service delivery. Past experience by SCC has demonstrated that bringing staff together in a shared space improves existing relationships and creates opportunities for new ones. A recent survey of staff in Haverhill has confirmed that the working environment is key to staff wellbeing. WDC Planners have indicated that the project provides a significant positive enhancement to the area, secures employment in the town and provides the opportunities to redevelop other key sites to enhance other parts of the town including in the town centre. By delivering on this site to the environmental and design parameters set, it would also set the benchmark and aspiration for other investment in the town. This will have significant social and environmental benefits when seen alongside the other potential developments relating to the energy sector. The development of the Riverside Road site would also release vacant public sector buildings in the town that would deliver much needed regeneration opportunities. This includes land in and adjacent to the town centre and the Town Hall site. These additional mixed use development opportunities would increase the attractiveness of the town centre as a destination including looking to enhance the evening/nightime offer.
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