20/02/2014 - Permalink

Decision taken on future of Stone House after review

Related topics: Community / Democracy

The future of Stone House in Ludlow has been considered as part of a review which aims to ensure that the council is getting the most for customers from its funds and resources. 

Following the work to look at how Stone House is currently used, it has been agreed that remaining services based at the under-occupied property are relocated and the building is sold. 

The wider review is placing a focus on the use of all council buildings and assets to ensure that the council is working efficiently and focusing on what makes the most difference to residents. 

The work is also looking at how the council offers residents access to services, and exploring ways to give customers more convenient and flexible options for contacting and dealing with the council. 

The review of Stone House has been carried out in consultation with all services which currently occupy the offices.  The building has become significantly under-used and the review has shown that the running and maintenance of the building is not offering good value for money for local residents. 

The review found that it is possible to relocate the remaining staff and functions to other council buildings in the area, including an enhanced Customer Service Hub being created at Ludlow Library and Museum Resource Centre.  This aims to bring together a wide range of information and services in a central, accessible location. 

The proposal to relocate the services and sell the building was agreed this week at a Portfolio Holder Decision-Making Session. 

Steph Jackson, Shropshire Council’s Head of Commercial Services, said:

“In the current financial climate, maintaining under-occupied buildings is not something we can justify. 

“We have to ensure that services are what people really need and don’t cost more than they should.  We have to look at everything we do to ensure money is being spent where it will have the most impact and is putting customers’ needs first. 

“The sale of the building – and savings from running and maintenance costs – gives us the opportunity to invest in new ways of delivering and offering access to our services. 

“We have been working to ensure that staff and partners have been fully supported during this review and will continue to support our colleagues as services are relocated.” 

The council will aim to relocate services by spring this year, enabling the building to be available for sale in the 2014/15 financial year. 

However, the council will first honour all bookings for ceremonies; the Registrars Service can be contacted on 0345 678 9016 or by email at registrars@shropshire.gov.uk if anyone would like to discuss their booking. 

Further details will be looked at, such as options for providing ceremony space after the building is sold, and for relocating a mast at Stone House which serves a telecommunications network, or redesigning the network to serve people in a different way.