In an effort to inject some much-needed finances back into the county’s coffers, Northamptonshire County Council are reportedly considering the sale of their brand new headquarters, which opened as recently as October 2017 at a cost of £53m.

The office block at One Angel Square was designed to save money by closing 12 offices and making best use of a single, centrally-located site; however government inspectors are now looking into whether funds have been appropriately managed and allocated by the council as they struggle to recoup money.

This had led to a number of options being brought forward for discussion at a subsequent council meeting, though the idea of selling the new HQ is the only proposal to have been made public at this time. The plans would see the council sell the property off as freehold with the council leasing it back for a period of 25 years or more. The authority would also be able to sub-let space to third parties to partially offset rental costs.

Conservative county councillor Robin Brown said of the proposal, “Our financial challenge is severe and ongoing and therefore we need to explore all avenues of funding that is available to fund our statutory services.

“This arrangement would see substantial capital receipts which would make a significant funding injection for our core services.”

Opposition finance spokesman, Labour councillor Mick Scrimshaw, also commented, “It’s a bizarre and desperate move in one way, but actually it’s quite a clever idea and given the critical nature of the county council’s finance, I sort of understand where they are coming from.

“The problem is it’s very much a short-term fix, a sort of sticking plaster approach and is unsustainable in the long-term.”

The proposals will be discussed by the county council’s cabinet in February before any final decision is made.

Sam Bonson

Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. He is currently working as a content writer, journalist & editor as he continues to expand his horizons.
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