Broadland Council agrees to buy former Aviva office

Image source, Aviva
Image caption,
Aviva's offices at Broadland Business Park, near Norwich, closed as part of the company's policy to allow staff to work from home

The multi-million-pound purchase of a former Aviva office to house two Norfolk councils has been approved by one authority despite concerns.

Broadland and South Norfolk district councils have been in discussion to buy the Horizon Centre at Broadland Business Park, near Norwich.

Broadland has approved the purchase.

But opposition councillors raised concerns including about the suitability of the site and whether all options had been fully considered.

Although they are separate political entities, the two authorities share their staff and want to bring them together in one building, but if South Norfolk Council does not approve the purchase on Monday, Broadland has agreed to go it alone, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

Buying it would cost an estimated £10.1m, partially offset by the £5.2m sale of both councils' current headquarters - South Norfolk's offices in Long Stratton and Broadland's in Thorpe St Andrew.

The Aviva building is in the Broadland, just over the district boundary with South Norfolk.

Image source, Geograph/Evelyn Simak
Image caption,
Opposition councillors suggested both councils could use Broadland's current headquarters in Thorpe St Andrew

Recommending the sale, Conservative councillor Jonathan Emsell, who is responsible for transformation and organisational development at Broadland, said it was an "opportunity to further the financial savings made by our collaboration project to house our one team in one building, saving running costs of two sites".

But Liberal Democrat, Dan Roper, said that while he was not against bringing the councils' staff together in one building, it would save millions if both just used Broadland's current building, Thorpe Lodge in Thorpe St Andrew.

Councillors were not allowed to discuss several issues in public, including a noise report, and energy reduction feasibility and accessibility studies as the council's monitoring officer said it was confidential.

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