Work on county council’s HQ reduced by £1.1m

County Hall in Morpeth.
County Hall in Morpeth.

The external refurbishment of County Hall in Morpeth is set to start at the end of May – and the cost of the work has come down.

It is proposed to split the refurbishment project into two phases so that work on the exterior of the building can start in May to take advantage of the better weather while the internal refurbishment designs are developed.

The external works, primarily involving replacing the roof, window refurbishment, stairwell and link bridge curtain walling replacement, asbestos removal and brickwork repairs, was expected to cost £3.86million, but at Tuesday’s cabinet meeting, members heard that it has now come down to £2.7million.

Council leader, Coun Peter Jackson, said: “A lot of this work is what you call basic maintenance and if this had been done over the last 30 years, it wouldn’t have been necessary to do it all on one go like this. We are tackling a long-term problem.”

It is not anticipated that the internal work will start on site for another nine to 12 months.

Upon seizing power after the elections last May, the Conservatives immediately cancelled the planned move of the council’s headquarters to a new building in Ashington.

Last month, Labour was critical of the administration after £17million was earmarked in the proposed medium-term financial plan for the refurbishment of the Loansdean building.