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You are here: Home Page > Council and Democracy > Council News > Archived News > April 2010 > New TC Reception for Council

New Town Centre Reception for Council Set to Offer Improved Customer Service & Opportunity for Exciting Redevelopment.

Friday 9th April 2010

Bedford Borough Council has confirmed plans to demolish the large Town Hall office block and save local taxpayers up to over £1million per year, whilst retaining a vital presence in Bedford town centre.

The Mayor of Bedford Borough, Dave Hodgson, has given the go ahead for the Civic Theatre to become the Council’s ‘One Stop Shop’ facility to deal with personal enquiries for services including benefit and planning applications, housing advice and paying council tax bills.

This will happen in conjunction with the ongoing work to move staff from the Town Hall to Borough Hall, allowing for the eventual demolition of the Town Hall office block. The historic Old Town Hall Complex, including the Civic Theatre building, will be retained and enhanced.

The Council’s Property Investment Reserve will cover the costs of converting the Civic Theatre, whilst its prominent location will ensure the Council remains open and accessible to all.

Mayor of Bedford Borough, Dave Hodgson, said: “Clearly, few tears will be shed over the demise of the Town Hall office block. This gives us an exciting opportunity to make the most of Bedford’s greatest asset, the River Great Ouse, allowing us to open up the riverside in that area to residents and visitors to the town.  

“Moving staff out of the Town Hall and other, leased offices into the one site at Borough Hall will also save local taxpayers up to more than £1million per year.

“I am continuing the drive to make sure the Council is open and accessible to all residents, and as part of this we must retain a town centre presence where people know any enquiry can be dealt with.

“Converting the Civic Theatre, which is showing its age as an arts venue and is a poor relation of the Corn Exchange and the Harpur Suite as a music or theatre location, makes financial sense for local taxpayers and common sense for people in town who want to conveniently use our services. We want to invest in the beautiful old Town Hall Complex, including the Civic Theatre building, and revitalise the riverside area. This will involve development which enhances the riverside, complements nearby features and strengthens the link between the town centre and the river.  We will be seeking the views of residents on this and I look forward to the thoughts and ideas which come forward.”

The plans allow the Council to save £285,000 by terminating existing accommodation leases, whilst the demolition of the Town Hall is expected to save around £760,000 per year in running costs.

The Council hopes to have more detailed plans for the future of the Town Hall site later this year.

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