North Somerset Council HQ wins award

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By Prue_Reid | Saturday, November 17, 2012, 10:48

Just weeks after opening its doors to the public, the refurbished Town Hall at Weston-super-Mare has picked up its first national award.

It has been named the Public Building Retrofit Project Of The Year at the recent Retro Expo awards held at the NEC in Birmingham. 

The awards celebrate Britain's most inspiring retrofit products, projects and people.

Beating off strong competition, the Town Hall impressed the judges with all aspects of the refurbishment project, particularly the dramatic reduction in the building's energy rating from E to A which is reducing carbon emissions by 61 per cent and annual energy costs by £50,000.

The judges said: "The Town Hall was refurbished by Willmott Dixon on behalf of North Somerset Council to house 50 per cent more staff. The project demonstrates how a major refurbishment of an existing poor quality office building can deliver a workplace transformation capable of 21st century needs."

The new flexible working space on the three upper floors now has capacity for around 950 staff. 

The accessible public area, which is open seven days a week, includes a new library and easy access to council services such as housing, licensing and council tax and benefits advice. 

On Wednesday, January 2,  the police enquiries service will also move to the Town Hall.

The first month of opening saw 42,000 visitors come through the doors which was 11,000 - 35 per cent - more than projected. 

In a survey carried out with more than 200 members of the public as they left the building, 96 per cent rated their overall experience as 'good' - the top rating available.

The improvements are part of the council's innovative programme to reduce its offices from 18 to two cost efficient 'hubs' – the Town Hall and Castlewood in Clevedon – where council staff work alongside partners in the NHS, Agilisys and Liberata to deliver more integrated services. 

The cost was put at £10 million.

It is estimated the efficiencies delivered by programme will result in annual savings of £700,000 by 2015.

North Somerset Council leader Nigel Ashton who is a Portishead councillor said: "I am delighted to see so many people using the new building and the particularly high levels of visitor satisfaction.

"Our intention all along has been to provide a much better service for local people, to improve the way we work as a council and, at a time when we are facing severe budget challenges, to save money.

"The early signs are this pioneering project is delivering on all fronts and to be recognised with a national award so soon really is the icing on the cake."

To view more photographs of the refurbished town hall click HERE.



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