Guildford and Woking have emerged as the frontrunners to host Surrey County Council’s new HQ as councillors unveiled plans to cut the number of buildings it uses from 300 to 100 in an efficiency drive that aims to save tens of millions of pounds.
The potential locations for Surrey’s new ‘civic heart’ by the end of 2020 are revealed in a report about moving staff closer to residents due to go before the council’s Cabinet on 30 April.
At the same time, a paper about Surrey’s new asset and place strategy outlines plans to save up to £10 million annually in property running costs within three to five years and potentially developing buildings to create new homes and jobs.
The news comes as the Cabinet is expected to make a fresh commitment to working in partnership with other public services, businesses and residents in Surrey.
Leader Tim Oliver (pictured) said: “All of these proposals are at the heart of our plans to transform and modernise services as part of our Vision for Surrey in 2030.
“Our aim is to move out of Kingston by the end of 2020 and back among the communities we serve using existing offices and a new small civic building while also equipping staff with the technology that will allow them to work much more flexibly to suit the needs of local people.
“We’ve listened to worries about council buildings sitting empty and come up with a plan to reduce the number we use by around 200 while also sharing with our partners wherever possible – initiatives that will allow us all to do things better in addition to saving £10m annually of public money.
“Those properties that we don’t need will be looked at carefully to see if there’s an opportunity to create much-needed homes and jobs in the county.
“These papers add up to a council with a clear vision of a successful county. However, we can’t secure a better future for Surrey on our own. We must continue to build effective partnerships and improve how we work with borough and district councils while also helping communities to look after themselves and others.”