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Warrington Borough Council’s move into its offices in Time Square is bringing significant savings for the local authority, new figures show.
The council relocated from the New Town House site, and other administrative buildings, in late 2020/early 2021, to reduce the excessive running costs of the outdated office accommodation, and provide a better, modern environment for staff and customers.
With council staff now having been at the £23m ‘1 Time Square’ building for the past 18 months – which is a much more efficient building than the previous New Town House site - financial analysis shows that the move to the building is saving the council almost three quarters of a million pounds each year.
Previously, the council paid an annual rent and service charge for the New Town House and Quattro buildings, on top of costs such as business rates and maintenance. In addition, the council paid the running costs of its Rylands Street offices and the Customer Contact Centre on Horsemarket Street. The total equivalent cost for this was £3.1m per year.
As part of the move to Time Square, the council purchased New Town House and Quattro, to fix repayment costs and avoid the uncontrollable escalation associated with leasing the buildings, including being exposed to increasing energy costs in an inefficient building.
Under this new operation, the equivalent costs to the council – covering the borrowing costs for the building of 1 Time Square and its running costs, along with the continuing annual borrowing costs for purchasing the New Town House and Quattro buildings - are £2.3m. This represents an annual saving for the council of £741,000 a year.
Warrington Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for finance, Cllr Cathy Mitchell, said: “The move to 1 Time Square has brought huge benefits for the council and our customers. It’s provided us with cutting edge, modern facilities which leave us much better equipped to meet the needs of the people of Warrington, while making us more financially efficient as an organisation.
“We have moved away from unfit buildings with high running expenditure and environmental impact and leasing costs over which we had no control, to a far more efficient building. One year on from our move, this is really bearing fruit. Our staff are able to work in far more flexible, responsive and modern ways at 1 Time Square, while, as a council, we are making significant annual savings, which is great news.
“At the same time, the forthcoming demolition of the New Town House and Quattro buildings will further boost our ongoing work to enhance and regenerate the town centre, freeing up vital brownfield space for new housing.”