Move project is off over cost concerns

Views of Ponteland.'Memorial Hall
Views of Ponteland.'Memorial Hall

A LOCAL authority will stay put after a majority of councillors decided not to go ahead with a relocation to new premises.

After looking into moving closer to the centre of Ponteland, the town council identified the Memorial Hall off Darras Road as a possibility and earlier this year it received planning permission to build an extension.

But given that it would cost thousands to progress the scheme, some of the councillors elected in May asked to look at it in detail for themselves and it was agreed to also examine potential alternative locations.

At a recent meeting, following a vote, the authority resolved to remain in the current offices at Meadowfield Industrial Estate for the time being. Other premises will be examined as and when they become available.

It has taken on a smaller office next door to increase the amount of working space for its staff.

The main concerns raised during a discussion about the move to the Memorial Hall were the costs involved and the time involved in meeting loan repayments.

Ponteland Mayor Peter Cowey said he was disappointed that the project will not happen as he was in favour of it, but the decision ‘showed local democracy in action’.

The Memorial Hall plans would have involved demolishing the existing single-storey rear extension and constructing a new two-storey extension with toilet facilities. The increase in floor area would have been in the region of 220 square metres.

The bulk of the funding for the move project would have come from the Government through its Public Works Loan Board.