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Derbyshire council’s HQ and Matlock Library face possible changes with other buildings in the town

Derbyshire County Council’s headquarters – which could become a hotel as part of a multi-million-pound savings plan – is now among a number of other public sector buildings in Matlock facing possible changes during an ongoing project.

The project – led by the county council with funding from the national One Public Estate programme – involves public sector organisations including the county council, Derbyshire Dales District Council and some health services working together and looking at reducing and improving their buildings and properties in Matlock.

Derbyshire County Council’s cabinet has already voted in favour of a report supporting the proposed conversion of its headquarters at County Hall, off Bank Road, in Matlock, but it has also been looking at the future of other buildings in the town including its library, on Steep Turnpike.

County Council Deputy Leader, Cllr Simon Spencer, said: “Together we have a large number of buildings in the town, and we want to see how we could use them better, to both save money and offer better facilities for our front-line services.

“Most of the organisations that are part of the project don’t need the amount of office accommodation that they needed before the pandemic, as working partly in the office and partly at home has become the new normal.

“While our plans for County Hall are progressing, and will be informed and shaped by this project, we also have the library building, which is not really suitable for a modern library.”

The potential conversion of the council-owned County Hall is one of many cost-saving plans which the Conservative-led council has outlined. It is considering including possible changes to libraries and heritage to help balance an estimated budget shortfall for the 2024/25 financial year of over £39m.

Derbyshire County Council has stated that the multi-million pound landmark council-owned headquarters is no longer being used to its full potential with changed working practices, and its continued use is no longer practical or viable due to the costs of running and maintaining the entire building.

Proposals for the building include turning the south block of County Hall and the Winter Gardens into a hotel and events venue, while creating new homes in the north block and the south west car park and building a new, low carbon office on the site to accommodate up to 500 council employees.   

It is hoped changes to this building will result in 130 new jobs, an estimated £56m to £57m boost to Matlock’s economy, and a potential £150m boost to Derbyshire while saving the council more than £130m in repairs and update costs.   

The latest council-led project to review public sector buildings in Matlock – referred to as the Matlock Locality Review – has brought concerned partners together to see what opportunities are available to possibly reduce the number of buildings being used and to improve those buildings used for front-line services while offering better office accommodation.   

Cllr Spencer added: “Over the next few months we will work together to scope out what could be possible for the benefit of all organisations and the public that fund us all.”   

A full analysis of the buildings used by public sector organisations in and around the immediate vicinity of Matlock is planned, which is expected to lead to a business case being prepared for the identified options.   

Derbyshire Dales District Council Leader, Cllr Steve Flitter, said: “The district council acknowledges the need to work with public sector partner organisations in order to further improve the delivery of public services whilst also delivering efficiencies in operating costs.   

“The Matlock Locality Review is one such opportunity which deserves our full and serious consideration.”      

 

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