Options for future of Chichester council’s HQ

Monday, 28 March 2022 15:34

By Karen Dunn - Local Democracy Reporter

Chichester District Council could decide to move out of East Pallant House for an office or offices more suitable to its needs.

With more and more staff working from home, the HQ, in the centre of the city, has become too large for the council’s needs.

No firm plans have been tabled but a recommendation has been made to the cabinet to approve spending £20,000 on a third party valuation of the building as well as indicative costs of a potential new build.

During a meeting of the overview and scrutiny committee on Tuesday (March 22) members were told that a year would be spent exploring all options.

A final decision is expected to be made after the May 2023 elections. A report to the committee said: “The options should explore the existing location – as it is or occupying a smaller footprint of the existing building with a view to letting additional areas – the potential for a new build on a separate site, any potential pre-existing office sites that could be purchased and sharing with local partners.”

It will be the second time such an options appraisal has been carried out for East Pallant House.

Four years ago another was conducted but the council chose to stay. The pros and cons were laid out during the meeting.

While East Pallant House is easily accessible, is in the city centre and offers good facilities, it is expensive to run, is larger than needed and the older part of the building, which is listed, makes it inefficient and not ideal for office working. A number of ideas were discussed during the meeting, including splitting the council’s facilities across three sites, with customer facing/reception, back room offices and space for public/committee meetings all separate.

The Novium was suggested as a possible reception site.

Other suggestions included building a new HQ as part of the Southern Gateway project, and moving into County Hall with West Sussex County Council.

When it came to the latter, councillors were told that the county council was undertaking its own needs study.

The committee’s thought will be put to a future meeting of the cabinet.

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