Castle House is open to the public
The address for our new office is:
Great North Road
Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm
Our phone number has NOT changed: 01636 650000
Remember that you can carry out a lot of transactions with us online, to save you a trip in to see us.
Newark and Sherwood District Council sold its former headquarters Kelham Hall in November 2014 and moved to new offices in September 2017. This move will help save money and ensure that services the council delivers can be protected. It will also help to improve access to public services where people need to speak to the council or other service providers.
The Policy and Finance Committee agreed to publish some restricted papers in redacted form.
Why we moved
In July 2010 the council considered a number of major changes it could make in order to save money in the face of big public spending reductions which followed on from the economic recession. The ideas for saving money included the possibility of reducing accommodation costs. In 2011 the council started to make changes to the way it uses Kelham Hall and began a market-testing to see whether Kelham Hall could be sold.
In 2013, the council considered an analysis of current running costs of Kelham Hall for sale and to move to new offices. The budgeted running costs for Kelham Hall were just under £640,000 in 2014/15. The cost of running a new energy-efficient office was originally estimated at £205,000 and more recent estimates suggest that at least £420,000 a year could be saved. So there is a considerable annual cost saving available if the council were to sell Kelham Hall and move into a new office.
What will happen to Kelham Hall?
The company, Kelham Hall Ltd, which has bought the building, intends to convert the Hall into a hotel, continuing to build on the weddings and events which they already hold at Kelham Hall. The sale will be completed in 2017 when Kelham Hall Ltd will take over ownership. Kelham Hall will continue to be protected by its Listed Building designation so any changes to the building will have to meet stringent planning and building heritage conservation obligations.
Where are the new offices?
The council rigorously examined the options for new offices including looking at any existing buildings which could be used before building Castle House, on Great North Road, Newark, which is adjacent to the Castle Station.
What other options were considered?
The council considered other land available in the Newark area including the former Highways depot site on Kelham Road, a site on Bowbridge Road, a site on Brunel Drive, a site at Fernwood and land on Northgate. The council also considered a number of existing buildings including the Municipal Buildings on Baldertongate, the former Newark Advertiser buildings, the former Tax Offices on Millgate as well as the scope for a new building on the site of the Robin Hood Hotel. None of these options could accommodate all of the council and would therefore reduce the levels of savings available by building inefficiencies into the way the council would work. The most cost-effective option was a single new building on the site next to Castle Station.
What would happen if local government was reorganised and the building wasn't needed anymore?
If local government was reorganised, most of the services and activities housed in the new offices would still need to be provided so any successor organisation would be likely to view a new energy-efficient office as a valuable asset. If the offices weren't needed, they could be sold and it is probable that the value of the offices could be fully recouped, leaving the council tax payer no worse off. It is clear that Newark is short of modern, good quality office accommodation so there would be options to sell the building, lease it or lease parts of it that weren't required.
In the past, people have been told that Kelham Hall was good value for money so what has changed?
An Audit Commission report in the past identified that the running costs for Newark and Sherwood District Council were good value in comparison with some other councils. That was partly because the council bought Kelham Hall when it was formed after the 1974 local government reorganisation. Many other newly formed councils had to build new civic offices which meant they had to borrow large amounts of money. Kelham Hall had been bought at low cost and without borrowing so Newark and Sherwood District Council had no borrowing overheads.
So, while the capital cost for purchasing Kelham Hall was good value, the running costs of the building were relatively high. The council has also contracted since 2010 and no longer needed to occupy such a large building.
What difference will the new offices make for council tax payers?
As well as being cheaper, the new offices provide the opportunity to improve access to public services. The council shares office accommodation with other public service providers including the DWP, Sherwood and Newark Citizens Advice, Newark and Sherwood Community and Voluntary Services, Newark and Sherwood Homes and the National Probation Service. Kelham Hall was remote for many people and poorly served by public transport. The new offices are within easy reach for many more people. The council is also working on proposals for improved access to the same services in the council's other two main towns - Ollerton and Southwell.