BOLSOVER District Council has finally moved its main offices to a new headquarters in Clowne as part of a cost-saving plan aimed at becoming more efficient and protecting public services against Government cuts.
However, the authority’s multi-million pound planned move from its Sherwood Lodge site, in Bolsover, to the former Clowne college campus, on High Street, had come under fire from protestors and some Bolsover residents.
Save Sherwood Green campaigners raised objections to the council’s sale and agreed conversion of Sherwood Lodge site, off Oxcroft Lane, into a large supermarket and petrol station because of the loss of green land and a perceived threat to local businesses from a major new store.
But Bolsover District Council is confident the supermarket will help regenerate Bolsover town and the authority’s move on January 2 to its smaller base in Clowne - known as The Arc - will save the council money and make the authority more cost-effective.
Council leader Eion Watts said: “This is a practical and economically sensible move and the whole process is going to save money and free up more cash. The world’s changing and we’re changing with it.
“It will help us to stave off Government cuts and allow us to deliver the services that people want. We have been hit heavily time and time again by Government cuts and by moving we’re trying to pre-empt future possible problems.”
The council initially considered a possible move after it was approached by an interested buyer for its Sherwood Lodge site and while this was under consideration Chesterfield College also made its Clowne campus site available to any buyers.
The council argued the future Morrisons supermarket will help keep shoppers in the Bolsover town, bring in new shoppers for the store and other businesses and the development will include landscaping.
It also feels that the council’s move to Chesterfield College’s former Clowne campus site will preserve a site that was due to close and bring an increased footfall for business in Clowne.
Bolsover District Council has also got approved plans for a new council Contact Centre, on Middle Street, to be built so there will be no loss of public service for the town.
In the meantime, Sherwood Lodge still has a contact centre which is open to the public and is still serving as an open base for police and Derbyshire chamber of commerce.
The Arc, which has 2,931sq ft of office space by comparison with Sherwood Lodge’s 5,604sq ft of office space, is considered by the council to be a more stream-lined and efficient base which will mean greater energy savings.
Its modest renovation and refurbishment includes smaller and shared offices and parts of the larger site are being let to Chesterfield College including the library, classrooms and a workshop.
The council has also kept and developed the college’s former sports facilities including grass and all-weather football pitches, a gymnasium, a dance studio and badminton hall which will continue to be available to the public and serve as a good source of income.
Staffing numbers at the council have also remained the same with about 250 employees, 37 elected members and no job losses.
Cllr Eion Watts added: “This is an exciting new start for the district of Bolsover. It’s a re-birth.”
The council said the sale price of Sherwood Lodge and the cost of The Arc would both remain undisclosed for the present because this information is still regarded as “commercially sensitive”.