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