Building services’ merger on the cards

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TWO local councils could merge departments to deliver up to £180,000 in savings for Eastbourne Borough Council.

The borough council is considering relocating its building control services, including carrying out building health and safety assessments, to Wealden District Council’s offices in Hailsham which could save up to £180,000 across a five-year period.

Councillor Steve Wallis, Cabinet member for environment and economy, said, “The nature of building control work means officers spend a great deal of time on site, rather than in one office.

“It therefore made absolute sense to explore a partnership with our neighbouring authority, Wealden District Council.

“In addition to the efficiencies a partnership will generate, I am sure by pooling our resources customers will also benefit from higher levels of customer service.”

The council discounted leaving the department in its current state or outsourcing the services to a private company.

Building control has a wide range of responsibilities, including administering building regulations, health and safety, assessing dangerous buildings, the conservation of fuel and power and access to buildings for disabled people.

Cllr Wallis added, “It is incumbent on every local authority to challenge the old ways of delivering services.

“We simply cannot afford to sit back and accept the status quo.

“Public spending is being squeezed like never before and we have to respond by making the best use of the resources we have.”