HAILSHAM: Work starts on council offices

WORK to expand council offices in Hailsham begins today (Wednesday) in a bid to save £370,000 a year.

Offices in Vicarage Lane will be gutted and refurbished in preparation for all staff relocating to the office from Crowborough.

Wealden District Council is expected to shed 68 staff by next summer as cost-cutting measures bite.

The council claims it will slash individual staff members’ office space costs almost in half, to £1,050 a year.

The council’s corporate services director, Nigel Hannam, said, “The work will enable the council to make savings in its daily running costs by having staff all under one roof in Hailsham. It will also improve the energy efficiency of the building.

“At the same time repairs and improvements will be carried out to Hailsham Community Hall, enabling it to become a democratic space as well as a community centre.”

Around 140 staff will move to Hailsham from Crowborough.

Staff have been spread out to temporary offices in Eastbourne and Crowborough while work is carried out. The council will still retain a presence in the town with a customer help point in Prospects House in George Street.

Council director of development services Mike Fleming said, “The council would have had no choice but to upgrade its office facilities.

“The decision to upgrade and slightly enlarge one office, instead of refurbishing two buildings, makes excellent financial sense and will result in less capital outlay in the future.”

Developers Willmott-Dixon will work on the offices in Vicarage Lane to make it a more open-plan office to cater for the influx of staff next summer.