Council fail to sell Crescent Gardens

NADV 1401142AM6 Council Offices. (1401142AM6)
NADV 1401142AM6 Council Offices. (1401142AM6)

Harrogate Borough Council have failed to sell the landmark Crescent Gardens office building.

The council has already started work building a new state-of-the-art office complex at Knapping Mount, despite the sale of historic town hall falling through.

It was estimated that the new office project would cost £9million taking into account the money made from the sale of Crescent Gardens.

Earlier in the year estate agents valued the building at between £2million and £5million, however the council said negotiations with the preferred bidder fell through after disagreements.

In July councillors voted to sell the landmark offices at a heated meeting. The councils chosen buyer was thought to be a developer planning to convert the grand building into a hotel.

Coun Graham Swift, Harrogate Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Tourism, Economic Development and Enterprise said: “It is important that the decision we make regarding the sale of the council’s Crescent Gardens building is the right one for the residents of our district. It is always better to make the right decision rather than a quick decision.

“While we have been able to reach agreement on a lot of points, we have been unable to conclude negotiations with the preferred bidder to our mutual satisfaction. As a consequence, I will be seeking approval of full council to re-market our Crescent Gardens offices over spring/summer 2016.

“There is strong demand for Crescent Gardens and re-marketing our offices is the right approach. We will seek to maximise the value of this asset within a re-use that fits with our heritage and location delivering a real economic benefit to the town and district.”

Building work has already begun on the new offices at Knapping Mount.

Coun Swift said: “The re-marketing of the Crescent Gardens offices will not impact on the building of new council headquarters. The move will benefit the Council Tax payers of the district. Council services will operate from a single site rather than five separate locations, as a consequence we will be able to offer better customer service, reduce duplication on each site, share resources and streamline processes and management arrangements. It will allow us to achieve savings of around £1 million per year. This money can be re-invested in front line services such as our award-winning parks and gardens, improving recycling, council housing, sports centres and swimming pools.”

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