SALE OF COUNCIL OFFICES CLOSER

Nrhn 100311 Ripley Town Hall, stock image

Nrhn 100311 Ripley Town Hall, stock image

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RIPLEY Town Hall and council offices have been put up for sale.

Owner Amber Valley Borough Council has finally put the 130-year-old Town Hall and the authority’s main offices on the Market Place up for sale in a bid to save money.

The council is looking at relocating its 320 staff who work there, including the possibility of some working from home.

The 2.8-acre site has the potential to become a retail centre or a block of flats, depending on what a new buyer chooses, according to King Sturge, of Nottingham, the agents handling the sale.

It says the site is ‘suitable for alternate uses,’ but says the price of the buildings will entirely depend on what it will be used for.

Amber Valley needs to save £2m over the next two years after its grant from the government was cut.

The move has angered Ripley Town Council, which holds monthly meetings in the chambers of the old building. Town council leader Cllr Steve Freeborn has urged Amber Valley to rethink its decision. He said: “The Town Hall was purpose built as a meetings chamber for the old Ripley Urban District Council and it still serves that purpose very well.

“There’s also the impact of the sale of the council offices; the sale particulars show the council offices’ car park as being for sale. Ripley desperately needs that car park to stay a public car-park.”

He has called on Ripley townsfolk to write with their opinions about the sale. The town council has written to borough council leader Cllr Stuart Bradford formally requesting it be taken off the market.

Cllr Bradford said putting the “under-used” site on the market could save thousands a year. He said: “We are still in the situation where we are located in a building which was built for around 1,200 people to work in and now we are down to about 320. It is bigger than we need. At the end of the day there are high fixed costs in that building such as rates, heat, light, power and maintenence. We could save £100,000 a year in rates alone.”

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