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New eco-friendly Council HQ must offer 'best deal for town'

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A new eco-friendly home for Middlesbrough Council must represent the best possible deal for taxpayers and suit the needs of staff for decades to come.

Covid-19 has forced the Council to reconsider plans to relocate to Centre North East from the Civic Centre, which is no longer fit for purpose.

The Council's Executive will be asked next week to approve officers looking at alternative options.

Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston said it was imperative that the new headquarters would provide the best value for money and stand the test of time.

He said: "We really wanted to bring Centre North East back to life, but with the virus striking like it has it's right that we pause and consider our options.

"Covid calls into question whether the vast costs of Centre North East would be recouped. We have to get the best deal for taxpayers and consider how we can support businesses in the town centre.

"We need energy-efficient, environmentally-friendly accommodation that will provide our staff with high-quality surroundings for decades to come."

The proposal comes alongside the imminent unveiling of new tenants for One Centre Square, originally put forward as a replacement for the ageing Civic Centre.

The current office building - attached to the Town Hall and home to many of the Council's departments for nearly 50 years - will be demolished to make way for new development.

The majority of Council staff have been working from home since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic earlier this year, while a new ‘locality working' approach will see more staff based in the communities where they work.

The work to assess different options is expected to cost around £150,000, with a further report - including a revised preferred option - due to be presented at a meeting of the Executive in January.

A report on proposals for Middlesbrough Council's move from the Civic Centre will be considered at a meeting of the Executive on Tuesday, October 27.

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