Story by: ANDREW PAPWORTH
Friday, February 15, 2013
SELLING Shire Hall and other council properties would net the county millions of pounds - which it would then spend on a £10.7million wind farm and 50 acres of solar energy.
That is the Liberal Democrats’ plan to stop Cambridgeshire County Council from having to make cuts.
The group says its alternative budget would make the savings necessary to spare frontline services from the axe.
Key to the plan is selling Shire Hall in Cambridge.
That and selling the nearby Octagon building would generate £7.7m as well as providing an annual saving of £1m.
This money would be invested in a four-turbine wind farm.
Staff would move into what the LibDems say is under-used office space in Castle Court, Cambridge, as well as offices in Huntingdon and elsewhere – but the real benefit would be the £3.75m generated by the wind farm over three years, the LibDems say.
Reducing the council’s property portfolio by four per cent would save another £13m over five years, which would go towards a solar farm costing £10m and generating £4m of revenue over five years.
Councillor Kilian Bourke, Lib Dem leader on the council, said the budget that would allow the party to invest in areas such as public transport, strategic cycle routes, improving pavements and reopening youth clubs.
“If the council could sell this fancy building and invest in renewable energy, we would have millions of pounds extra to invest in services,” he said.
CCC leader Nick Clarke believes: “What they won’t have thought about nor probably have much interest in is the facts around the finances of trying to move from Shire Hall. Any move is distracting for staff and has cost implications.”