Surrey County Council is moving its headquarters back into the heart of the county, after more than 50 years located outside Surrey’s boundaries.
Council Leader Tim Oliver announced today that the council’s decision-making centre will move to Midas House in Woking.
It is a modern building close to mainline train and bus links, fit for an agile and dynamic workforce working in partnership with the residents of Surrey.
Staff will begin the move out of the current County Hall in Kingston in phases from spring/summer 2020.
Cllr Oliver said: “I am truly excited about this momentous move, which will accelerate changes in the way we work, enabling our employees to work even more flexibly and spend more time with our residents and service users.
“Aside from the fact that the new Civic Heart will now actually be inside the county of Surrey, which has been our long-held ambition, the real driver has been the desire to place services right at the heart of the population we are here to serve.
“A new modern facility in Woking will help us achieve not only those objectives but will also help to position us as a leading council fit for the future. This underpins the need for the council to be financially sustainable, as well as being in line with our reduced carbon footprint ambitions and green travel agenda.”
Cllr David Bittleston, Leader of Woking Borough Council, said: “I am thrilled to welcome Surrey County Council back to the centre of the county – it is fantastic news both for Woking and the wider county.”
“The move will be a major boost for Woking, bringing further new and exciting economic opportunities, jobs and making the town busier and more vibrant. Surrey County Council’s decision to relocate shows that Woking’s regeneration and town improvement works are attracting key businesses and employers to the borough.”
The current County Hall, built between 1891 and 1893, found itself technically outside the County boundaries following the Local Government Act 1964, which resulted in the site being located in the Royal Borough of Kingston Upon Thames.
The move to Midas House, which can accommodate up to 1500 staff and is subject to full Council approval, reflects the transformation of the council into an organisation fit for the future, with an increased focus on working alongside residents to deliver Surrey’s Community Vision for 2030.
The new building – which will be mainly funded by the sale of County Hall – represents a fraction of the cost it would take to bring the existing HQ up to modern standards. Maintenance costs for the Victorian building are also high, whereas the new base will generate savings of around £700k a year.
Cllr Oliver and all SCC’s councillors, the senior leadership team and staff representing all the council’s functions and services will be based at Midas House. Other teams will also be relocated to SCC council offices in Leatherhead, Guildford and Reigate. Many staff will also adopt agile working practices, basing themselves from a variety of locations across the county including district and borough council offices.
Preparations to sell County Hall are under way.