Plymouth City Council
Plymouth PL1 2AA
History centre and new home for register office unveiled
Exciting plans to create a history centre on the former Parkside Community College site have been unveiled.
The Council aims to relocate the library, museums and records stores from run-down buildings in Tavistock Place on North Hill onto the former school site that borders the award-winning historic Devonport Park.
The relocation of the stores will form the first part of an ambitious project which, subject to future funding, also includes building brand new premises for the Plymouth and West Devon Records Office on the site.
Councillor Ian Bowyer, Cabinet Member for Finance, Property, People and Governance said: "Finding a new home for our Records Office has been an issue as the current building was just not up to the job.
"We've been looking for a suitable home and believe this site will be the answer. While this idea is at an early stage, this site could house irreplaceable records in one location. The relatively modern building can be adapted for the library stores and a new purpose built property developed for the archives on the same site.
"We value enormously our heritage and want to see more public access as part of this development. Not only is this scheme great for the city's past but it's good for the Devonport’s future."
The scheme is part of a set of proposals being put forward as the next phase of the Council’s accommodation strategy which is designed to find savings without affecting services, whilst making more efficient use of Council buildings.
Cabinet will be meeting on 29 March to look at proposed moves which will rationalise the number of properties in the council’s portfolio, making sure they are fit for purpose and save on rent and running costs by moving out of buildings not owned by the council.
Under the scheme, buildings that are currently leased which will be vacated are Palace Court, Plymouth and West Devon Records Office and the Coroner’s Office in the Crescent.
The Council also plans to relocate staff and then sell the Maya Centre and Mannamead Centre, which both currently house Children’s and Young People teams; properties used by the Council’s library services on Tavistock Place, the Library annexe and Camden Street Office; Schools Library Service building in Chaucer Way, Gingko House in Mannamead, which has Children and Young People staff, Catherine Street annexe, currently home to the Plymouth Parent Partnership and Lockyer Street Register Office.
As part of the plans the Council is planning a significant investment into Pounds House which will become the city’s Register Office and also home to the Coroner’s Office.
Councillor Bowyer added: "This second phase has a lot of exciting proposals which not only make sound financial sense, but will radically improve the working conditions of our staff and hugely improve what we can offer to our customers.
"Pounds House is another property which is stunning, but has not been used to its full potential. Not only will it make a great register office, but it makes sense to have the coroner’s office within a council property rather than renting one.”
Under the latest phase, investments are proposed for Martin's Gate and Midland House as well as Pounds House to bring them up to scratch.
Sites currently no longer used which will be sold are the former Manadon day care centre, Trelawney school site, Whitleigh residential home and the former Chaucer Primary School
Last year saw the council embark on the first phase of its accommodation strategy. Leases have ended on properties such as Dean Hill in Plymstock, staff will be vacating Fairbairn House this month and Chaucer House in Manadon next month. The former Southway Community College were also vacated in July.
If all goes according to plan, the second phase will see the Council leave three leased properties, vacate and dispose of 15 freehold properties and sites as well as save £475,000 a year running and rent costs and reduce a maintenance backlog by £1.2 million.
Selling the properties would also lead to significant capital receipts worth £2.95 million. But to enable the moves the Cabinet is being asked to consider a £3.6 million capital investment in remodelling some of the buildings as well as moving and other sundry costs.
21 March 2011