This report will follow in an Additional Papers pack once the report has been published for consideration of the Executive Committee (due for publication on Monday 4th September 2023).
Prior to the Committee deciding to move to exclude the press and public on the grounds that information would be revealed relating to the financial and business affairs of any particular authority (including the authority holding that information), a presentation was provided relating to the Town Hall Refurbishment floor plans and timescales for the building works.
An update was provided on the progress with the move of the Community Hub to the Town Hall. It was stated that significant work had been undertaken with Worcestershire County Council and their subtenants to ensure the design delivered to their existing requirements and at RIBA Stage 3 all partners had signed off that the design met their requirements. There was no reduction of space or facilities for the Library or the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) as a result of the designs. It was noted that any requirements over and above the core existing services were chargeable. Examples of chargeable costs included a separate lobby for the DWP which was up for negotiation and the audio recording equipment for the civic centre meeting spaces.
There was significant additional documentation in the appendices, with the greatest change for the Council being the movement of the Civic Suite from the Ground Floor to the Second floor. Planning permission for the changes was agreed on the 27th July 2023. A remaining key change that would be needed would be an improvement to access to the building from the disabled parking bays in the Town Hall car park. It was noted that during the refurbishment, Council and Committee meetings would need to take place at an alternative location, with several locations being considered. A separate report on the choice of location for Council meetings during refurbishment would be submitted for Members’ consideration in due course.
The Leader of the Council was invited to address the Committee and stated that he fully approved of the Town Hall Refurbishment in that it pushed the Council in the right direction as it was a move to provide modern facilities. He stated that he was pleased with the direction the Council was taking. The Portfolio Holder for Finance and Enabling that he concurred with the Leader’s statement.
During further discussion, the Overview and Scrutiny Committee discussed the updated financial implications of the Town Hall Refurbishment and the design plans for the NHS part of the Town Hall. The Committee deliberated on the alternative recommendation to the Executive Committee and on being put to the vote it was:
RECOMMENDED that the Executive Committee undertakes a root and branch review to ensure that this project is still achievable within the original budget, that is £5.2 million, and that contractual arrangements are brought back to the Executive Committee.
(During the consideration of this item, Members discussed matters that necessitated the disclosure of exempt information. It was therefore agreed to move to exclude the press and public prior to any debate on the grounds that information would be revealed relating to the financial and business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information). However, there is no exempt information in this record of the debate).