Bodmin's new Cornwall Council offices at Beacon Technology Park set for final approval
BODMIN is set for a major jobs boost with the new £15 million local authority hub at Beacon Technology Park set to be given final approval later this month.
The new offices in Bodmin will not only house local government workers, but are expected to be home for companies such as BT Cornwall, which has taken over some council services.
Cornwall Council's Cabinet is expected to rubberstamp the development at the end of the month, after the finance and resources committee gave its backing to the project last week.
Original plans for an £8 million office have been revised, with the committee approving the larger complex which is capable of accommodating 670 people.
"The scheme will save money for taxpayers, safeguard council bases in Liskeard and St Austell, and bring new jobs to North Cornwall," the council's Cabinet member for finance and resources, Alex Folkes, said.
The ten-year BT Cornwall partnership will see the telecoms giant take on a range of services such as telehealth and telecare, ICT support, document management, invoice processing and employment support. The 300 telehealth jobs are expected to be housed in the new complex, which will be seen as a major boost for the town after the collapse of MPG Books.
"The plan was to relocate staff from some very inefficient buildings in Bodmin to save some money. However, we saw the opportunity to save even more money by building a bigger office to house more staff," Mr Folkes said.
"We did not want to lose our bases in any of the key towns in Cornwall – notably Liskeard and St Austell – so the battle was to find an efficient use for the spare space. Our partners at BT Cornwall have agreed to take up this space and locate new staff there."
Bodmin councillor for St Mary's, Ann Kerridge, hopes the offices will finally be approved after "years of debate".
"Even though there is no threat to council offices in Liskeard, Wadebridge and St Austell, there is still opposition, led by Wadebridge councillor Scott Mann, who said the plans are ludicrous," Mrs Kerridge said.
"Let's be clear: new offices in Bodmin make absolute sense – new jobs, they save money and kick-start development in a neglected corner of Bodmin."
North Cornwall MP Dan Rogerson added: "Talking about the future of this site is tinged with some sadness that efforts to secure the future of Foster Hall were not successful in finding any organisation willing to take the building on.
"As we look to the future, the decision by Cornwall Council's finance and resources committee to back the plan to build a bigger council office in Bodmin and to allow BT Cornwall to fill the extra capacity is a welcome one.
"The scheme will save money for council tax payers, bring new jobs to North Cornwall and make the site more attractive to other businesses, while safeguarding council offices in Wadebridge, Liskeard and St Austell."