Tyne & Wear

Northumberland County Council to close Morpeth HQ

Northumberland County Hall
Image caption County Hall was built in 1981

Northumberland County Council's headquarters in Morpeth is to close and the land will be sold off in a bid to cut costs.

The leader of the labour-led council said the building is "extremely expensive to run" and the authority needs to save £130m over four years.

Its 1,000 staff will be dispersed to nine other offices around the county.

There are fears businesses in Morpeth will suffer when workers move away.

Councillor David Parker, from Morpeth Town Council, said: "The 1,000 staff are known to shop in Morpeth, at least occasionally if not regularly.

"The town is inevitably going to be affected by this, there's no way it can't be."

The council said there will be not be a consultation on the issue.

The sale will be gradual and the money saved will safeguard jobs, the council said.

Councillor Grant Davey, leader of the county council, said the building uses about £450,000 a year in energy costs.

He added: "The internal renovation to bring it to a decent standard for people to work in would be over £10m, according to our property portfolio people.

"We will be taking advice as to whether the best option would be [selling it for] commerce or housing."

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