Braced for 120 jobs to be lost
MORE THAN 100 local government staff are expected to move out of Wadebridge and be based at Bodmin's new £15 million administrative centre after it was given the go-ahead last week by Cornwall Council.
The news comes just two months after the local authority said the 120 workers at Higher Trenant would remain in the town – irrespective of whether a new office complex was built in Bodmin.
But Cormac, the civil engineering and highways arm of the council, and which employs more than 900 staff, is in advanced talks with the council about setting up its headquarters in Wadebridge and will require most of the Higher Trenant building to accommodate its workers.
The new enlarged administrative centre to be built on the Beacon Technology Park will now be able to accommodate 675 people, twice the number originally envisaged.
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Three hundred local government workers currently in various office locations in Bodmin will move to the facility, plus around 40 from offices in St Austell and Liskeard, as well as the 120 based in Wadebridge.
Cornwall Council is hoping the spare capacity at the new Bodmin complex, which is scheduled to be built in 2015, will be taken up by staff from BT Cornwall, but a deal has yet to be struck.
Wadebridge East Cornwall councillor Stephen Knightley said yesterday: "It's my understanding that Cornwall Council staff now employed at Higher Trenant will be moving to the new building in Bodmin.
"Cormac is consulting its staff about the move to Wadebridge and there is a likelihood of another agency moving to High Trenant too, which will mean the building will be full to capacity, but this still needs to be confirmed."
Cornwall Council Cabinet member for finance, Alex Folkes, who led the move to build the £15 million complex in Bodmin, said: "We are moving ahead with building the bigger Bodmin office but it is important that it is filled. A new office building sat half empty will not save us any money.
"If BT Cornwall doesn't take up the option to move into the new office complex in Bodmin then we have to look at other options. These include working with our other partners and those in the private sector. If those options aren't possible then we have to look at our own staff.
"The most cost-effective option for us would be to move staff from St Austell to the new (Bodmin) office, but it is our fourth or fifth preference."
He said it was important that they did not "pull out of Cornwall completely" and kept a presence in major towns across the county.