‘No plans’ to move council meetings to new £15.7m Top Wighay office building on Ashfield border

A senior councillor confirmed there are currently no plans to move Nottinghamshire Council’s chamber and meetings to its new £15.7 million Top Wighay offices – but said ‘nothing is off the table’ at the development.

By Andrew Topping
Thursday, 12th May 2022, 8:49 pm

Coun Keith Girling, who oversees economic development and asset management, made the remarks following concerns the authority is planning to close County Hall in West Bridgford, or move large swathes of services to the future Linby site.

The new office building will be based on the Top Wighay Farm development, on the Hucknall and Linby border, alongside 805 homes and local services including a school and shops.

However, reports of previous comments by Coun Girling led to some opposition concerns the authority plans to move its headquarters and other local services into the new building.

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An artist's impression of Nottinghamshire Council's planned £15.7m office building at Top Wighay Farm.

County Hall, which hosts a raft of services and all the authority’s political meetings, is costing the council high sums in maintenance.

Recent documents show the council has spent just shy of £500,000 on improvements to the building since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

This includes £212,813 on flue and chimney works and £235,985 on data works since February 2020.

These sums do not include specific spending on building maintenance for County Hall.

However, Coun Girling has since backtracked on the County Hall comments, but insists nothing is off the cards in terms of where services are delivered.

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He told the latest full council meeting there are currently no plans to move all council services over to Top Wighay.

His comment came following a question from Coun Helen-Ann Smith, member for Sutton North, who asked for confirmation on which services will be transferred to Top Wighay and clarification on whether the council chamber could be relocated.

Coun Girling said: “The services identified to be based at Top Wighay are the customer service centre, the multi-agency safeguarding hub, schools and family support services, the adult access service, integrated community loans service and the business service centre.

“There are currently no plans to move council meetings, including the council chamber, to Top Wighay Farm.

“With all our buildings, however, we will build with the ability to have flexible spaces that will be able to accommodate a variety of uses, should they be required in the future.”

In a follow-up question, Coun Smith asked what the authority’s intentions are for buildings where these services are being relocated.

Coun Girling said: “For all our buildings we look at how they’re used, how they can be best utilised and that any future buildings we make can be as flexible as possible.

“I think it’s a really exciting prospect at Top Wighay with what we’re going to be doing there.

“We’re looking at all aspects of how this council operates, nothing is off the table but we will go through the proper processes to make sure – if we do move any services there – there’s a proper reason for doing that.”

The council recently broke ground on the major Top Wighay development when housebuilder Vistry was announced as the developer for the 805 homes.

Coun Girling said last month that Vistry has indicated the housing works could be completed within six years.