Derbyshire County Council seeks buyer for Matlock office

Derbyshire County Council head office Derbyshire County Council's headquarters in Matlock was a Victorian spa

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A county council has confirmed it is actively seeking a buyer of its Grade II listed head office as it battles budget cuts.

Derbyshire County Council is housed in a former Victorian spa in Matlock.

It recently announced the latest raft in cuts as part of a long term reduction of £157m which includes the axing of lollipop patrols.

The council warned it had to find a buyer before it could move out to avoid damaging the town's economy.

Smedley's Hydro

County Hall is currently based in the former Smedley's Hydro, a Victorian spa.

John Smedley opened a hydropathic centre in the mid-19th century, completing the existing building in 1885.

It proved popular nationwide and attracted the likes of Robert Louis Stephenson, Sir Thomas Beecham and Ivor Novello.

It closed in the 1950s and was bought by the county council for its headquarters.

Anne Western, Labour leader of the council, said: "We would not want to leave this building as a white elephant in the middle of this town.

"This town and the economy of the town and surrounding area relies to a large extent on the council being here.

"We wouldn't want to blight this area by moving without a plan for the sustainable use of the building in the future."

The news the council could move out of the building, which costs £2m a year to maintain, raised concerns in the business community in the town.

Rob Short, who helps organise a weekly market, said many businesses in the town relied on council employees for trade.

"There are a lot of different variables at the minute which is going to make people nervous about their business," he added.

On Monday the council set out its five-year budget plan to be agreed at a cabinet meeting next week.

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