REPLACEMENT headquarters for the district council in Huntingdon should be a step closer this afternoon (Wednesday). The council will be asked to authorise the signing of contracts next month for the £20m scheme to replace Pathfinder House, in St Mary s St
REPLACEMENT headquarters for the district council in Huntingdon should be a step closer this afternoon (Wednesday).
The council will be asked to authorise the signing of contracts next month for the £20m scheme to replace Pathfinder House, in St Mary's Street, with three new buildings and to relocate the council's three depots.
The decision will be taken in camera because the deal's financial details are commercially sensitive until contracts are signed with Alfred McAlpine Capital Projects, the preferred bidder. But the decision by the overwhelmingly-Conservative council will be bitterly opposed by the Liberal Democrat opposition, which wants to delay until the future shape of local government is known.
HDC should not pre-judge a review of the council structure under which the authority should seek to exist, the Lib Dems say.
A planning application is expected later this year before construction goes ahead in four stages. Because HDC is involved in the application, the detail will need approval of the Government Office for the East of England.
The first phase will be construction of the new depot, probably somewhere near the Spittals interchange, to which HDC's vehicle fleets from Godmanchester, St Neots and St Ives will be transferred. The council's closed circuit television control centre and print facilities will also move to the depot from Pathfinder House.
When the buildings at Godmanchester have been evacuated, they will be occupied by around one-third of the current Pathfinder House workforce, who will remain there until the project is complete.
Staff will park their cars at Godmanchester during construction of two of the three new three-storey replacement buildings in the Pathfinder House car park. When both are occupied, Pathfinder House will be demolished and the third block built on the site.
Staff will then move back from Godmanchester. Employees will also move from Castle Hill House, which will be refurbished as residential accommodation and sold.
HDC admits the building work will be noisy and inconvenient for employees, but says the new facilities will incorporate exciting features to improve access to council services, particularly for disabled and disadvantaged people.
The future of the three current depot sites has not yet been decided.