Leicester City Council considers HQ building's options

New Walk centre Parts of the offices are 'no go' areas for staff because of concerns over the structure

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Demolition, refurbishment and a new build are all being considered by Leicester City Council in a report about its future headquarters.

In early 2010 structural engineers told the authority its current home, twin concrete tower blocks on New Walk, needed urgent repairs.

Full works to both would cost an estimated £52m.

Officers have advised the council to focus on either finding a new building or repairing just one of the blocks.

The authority has been based at New Walk for more than 30 years but its concrete structure has begun to crumble and is now seen as an increasing safety issue.

'Harsh reality'

The report considers five options to house the 1,300 staff.

These are; repairing both blocks, commissioning a new building on Dover Street, moving in to another existing building, repairing just one block or demolishing both blocks and rebuilding on the same site.

The third and fourth options are being recommended as the cheapest, at £31m and £34m respectively. Both would require some staff to move to buildings in other parts of the city.

Strategic director Alistair Reid said: "At such a financially challenging time for the council, I recognise that it is difficult for people to understand why we are looking to commit such very large sums of money to this project.

"But we have to face the harsh reality that we are currently occupying two buildings that are in urgent need of major structural works."

He added that not addressing the problem could lead to problems with insuring the site, which could lead to services being disrupted.

Since receiving warnings about the buildings, the council has undertaken a maintenance programme, as well as moving heavier objects away from critical areas.

The council will consider the report next month.

The authority is currently looking at losing 500 posts as part of a plan to save £82m by 2015.

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