Lib Dem councillor welcomes County Council HQ move to Woking
Today councillors at Surrey County Council agreed to the purchase of Midas House in Woking.
The County Council has been looking to move out of its current home in Kingston for some time and has chosen the office building as the location for its new Civic Heart.
The current headquarters, County Hall, is expensive to run, not fit for purpose and not in Surrey. Midas House is a much smaller building and only councillors, the senior leadership team and some support staff will be based there; others will be relocated to offices in Leatherhead, Guildford and Reigate.
Will Forster is Chairman of the task group responsible for scrutinising the move.
"As a councillor for Woking at both county and borough levels, I am pleased that Surrey County Council is planning to move to the town. It will be a good boost for its economy and reputation. If the County Council is based in Woking, it might even start to address our local infrastructure issues!"
He went on to say there was still a lot of work to do before the move happens and that it was still not without risk. "The Council has tried to move to Woking before, namely to Brewery Road in Horsell, and the plans were a costly mistake. The infamous Northamptonshire County Council moved to a new headquarters just before they declared themselves bankrupt. This is why scrutiny is key - and that process hasn't always been easy. I needed to be sure that the project would deliver value for money and so I was adamant that an independent evaluation of Midas House had to be carried out, even though the document wasn't made available to councillors until just before the meeting."
However, Will is now hopeful that the County Council can sell County Hall for a significant amount of money that will more than cover the cost of buying and moving into Midas House.