What the town hall move means for you

WHITBY taxpayers could face a reduction in council services as part of the financial plan for decamping from Scarborough Town Hall.

Nick Edwards, the borough council’s head of finances, said whether the authority moved to new premises or stayed put would result in costs to the taxpayer and efficiency savings.

He was giving two presentations in Whitby on Tuesday night on the potential changes and had been asked to attend an extraordinary meeting of Whitby Town Council.

The review of the council’s accommodation began in September last year and three options were put forward which involved staying in the building and bringing it up to standard, moving the office accommodation or relocating both the offices and the civic function.

Councillors agreed in July to explore a full re-location at a cost of £3.2 million with additional annual costs of £260,000, but with a £3 million injection from the Homes and Communities Agency including a deal to take on the Futurist and the town hall.

This is judged to be better than paying out £5.8 million to refurb the town hall and there would be costs of £465,000 a year on top of that.

But Whitby Town Councillors quizzed Mr Edwards on the implications for the tax payer and whether they would be left to pick up the extra tab.

Mr Edwards said: “How it would impact you is in the additional costs. If you decide to stay, you are looking at a 5% to 6% increase, if you decide to move it is £260,000 a year so you are looking at a 3% increase.

“There are things I can do to limit that cost but I can’t pass it to the council tax payer because the government won’t allow me to do so.

“What I will have to do is make efficiency savings or cuts in services.”

This could see between eight and 15 jobs lost as the council would be changing the way it works.

At present the town hall is “like a rabbit warren with offices all over the spot” but new premises, likely to be the former Skipton Building Society building at Eastfield, will be open plan.

Mr Edwards added a review by cost cutting consultants, Northgate, said this method of working could be more efficient.