Thursday, July 05, 2018

Cumbria Council tax payers charged £100,000 for old HQ building

Cumbria’s Liberal Democrat and Labour administration on the County Council has spent more than £100,000 maintaining its former headquarters in Carlisle after moving to a new £10.5 million office complex 350 yards away.

Councillor James Airey, leader of the Conservative group on Cumbria County Council, said:

“It is wrong that old headquarters have been left empty for almost two years with council taxpayers left to pick up the bill. 

“To put it in perspective, £100,000 would pay for 2,000 extra pothole repairs. 

“Our Liberal Democrat and Labour council need to follow through quickly on their commitment to find a sustainable solution for their former offices. Every day that this doesn’t happen, the bill for Cumbrians is going up.” 

Under the Freedom of Information Act, Cumbria County Council was asked to provide the costs incurred to-date for maintenance, security and associated expenditure in relation to the Citadel complex (The Courts) in Carlisle following the relocation of council staff to Cumbria House, 117 Botchergate, Carlisle.

Maintenance £14,872
Statutory Serving £15,120
Security £1,119
Electricity £15,547
Gas £12,154
Water £5,007
Business Rates £36,742
TOTAL £100,561


Jim said...

a bit like on the national front tax payers expected to fork out for an out dated Gothic palace really. A portacabin in the midlands would serve the same function.

Chris Whiteside said...

Where I agree with you is that in both cases there are legitimate questions to be asked about whether taxpayers are getting value for money. But beyond that the apparent similarities end.

For one thing, the Palace of Westminster (a.k.a. the Houses of Parliament) is still in use, while the former CCC offices at the courts are not.

So to apply your parliamentary parallel to Cumbria, it is as if MPs and Peers had moved, not to a portacabin in the midlands but to a £10.5 million (or insert appropriate huge national price-tag here) shiny new building a few hundred yards away but the poor old taxpayer was both having to shell out for the new building and for the Palace of Westminster.

Cumbria also has our version of the EU's "Strasbourg shuttle" with full council meetings and some committees at County Hall in Kendal while other committees and administration has now moved to Cumbria House in Carlisle.

It's also worth pointing out that as a symbol of democracy and parliamentary rule the Courts building in Carlisle isn't really in the same league as the tower of Big Ben.