Nottinghamshire County Council to press ahead with £15.7m new offices at Top Wighay Farm in Linby

Nottinghamshire County Council will push forward with plans to build a multi-million-pound office building at Top Wighay Farm in Linby – but has shaved about £7 million off its overall investment plan with the total cost now around £20.9 million.

By Andrew Topping, Local Democracy Reporter
Monday, 25th October 2021, 12:00 pm

The council revealed its £27.74 million Investing in Nottinghamshire programme weeks before the start of the pandemic in 2020, with a flagship £14.7 million building at Top Wighay Farm at the centre of the plans.

But the plans were put on hold and a review launched after the start of the pandemic, following strong criticism from Ashfield Independent councillors, notably Hucknall West representative Coun Dave Shaw, who said the money would be better spent repairing the county’s roads.

The authority then published a new hybrid working strategy earlier this year.

Nottinghamshire County Council will press ahead with its plans to build new offices at Top Wighay Farm. Photo: Google

Now the review has re-confirmed the full scale of the plans, including libraries potentially moving into other council buildings and the authority co-locating services with other Nottinghamshire councils.

The review says the council will still progress with the Top Wighay Farm building, in what it says will set a ‘benchmark’ in meeting the authority’s carbon-neutral targets.

The council has confirmed the Top Wighay building cost has increased by £1 million to £15.7 million due to ‘rising construction costs’, but the review has cut about £7 million off the plan overall in other areas.

Coun Keith Girling (Con), chairman of the economic development and asset management (EDAM) committee, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service the new building is ‘not going to be cheap’.

However, he insists running costs over time will recoup money and provide a ‘fit for purpose’ building.

He said: “In terms of Top Wighay, we’re still going ahead with it because it’s strategically in the right place.

“We know we will be beaten with a stick that it’s going to cost a lot of money, that it should be spent elsewhere, but we’ve got places used by parents and young kids that are not ideal.

“In some places, the floor is starting to go.

"We’ve got to put things right.”

Coun Girling added that ‘nothing was off the table’ when it came to reviewing the council’s estate and the sale of assets.

But he insisted one of the areas that will not see closures is libraries, though the council is looking into the possibility of some being relocated into other, local authority-led buildings.

This, he said, will help to save costs and make many county-wide buildings ‘multi-functional’.

It comes alongside potential plans to move some council services in Mansfield into a potential public services hub, planned by Mansfield District Council as it looks to move into the town centre.

Coun Girling said the hub was something the county council would ‘very much like to be a part of’, allowing the authority to release buildings for sale elsewhere in the county.

He continued: “It’s incumbent on us to look into everything and see how we can reduce our outgoings

“It’s a lot of toing and froing, but eventually it will end up with services being delivered from places where they should be delivered from.”

The committee is recommended to review and approve the updated Investing in Nottinghamshire plan when it meets on November 2.

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