Get involved: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting OXFORD NEWS to 80360 or email us
Leader pledges no office sale as staff move
THE leader of Vale of White Horse District Council has promised it will not sell its current premises despite almost half of its staff moving out next year.
About 80 Vale and South Oxfordshire District Council employees will move out of Abingdon to Crowmarsh Gifford near Wallingford.
Currently about 200 people work for both councils in Abbey House in Abingdon.
About 50 of those also have desks at South Oxfordshire’s headquarters in Crowmarsh Gifford and travel between the two offices..
The Vale is planning to rent the first two floors of Abbey House to Oxfordshire County Council, which currently has offices in Abingdon Business Park, for which the lease expires in March next year. The county would be charged £200,000 a year to use the space.
The Vale would also like the Citizens Advice Bureau – currently based at Old Abbey House – also in Abbey Close, to rent space in the building.
Vale leader Matthew Barber has promised that no public services will move out of Abingdon, and even suggested some county council services could be provided from Abbey House.
He said the move was to make more efficient use of space at Abbey House, of which the Vale currently uses only 40 per cent.
Asked why the Vale was going to Crowmarsh rather than the other way around he said: “It is about making the best use of Abbey House.”
Mr Barber and Vale and South chief executive David Buckle promised there were no plans to sell Abbey House or for other back office staff to move out. The cost of the move, planned for March, is estimated at £100,000.
Liberal Democrat group leader Richard Webber, who lives in Drayton, said the move would make the Vale council “tenants” of SODC.
He called on Mr Barber to consider the full impact of the move on the town “more carefully and in less haste”.
The decision, made at a Vale cabinet meeting last Friday, comes after years of efficiency measures after the two councils decided to share administrative services in 2008.
Comments are closed on this article.