Aberdeenshire Council headquarters to move to Inverurie?

A press release from Aberdeenshire Council today shows that the council are looking at moving their headquarters from Woodhill House in Aberdeen to Inverurie. The proposal will see the council purchase the football grounds at Inverurie Locos to build their new HQ

In the press release Aberdeenshire Council said

A councillor working group set up to consider the consolidation of two of Aberdeenshire Council’s largest office buildings, will make a series of recommendations to full council regarding the future of the project.

The cross-party working group was set up in November to explore the business case for relocating Woodhill House in Aberdeen and Gordon House in Inverurie to a new site. If agreed, the proposals will see a smaller, more flexible and cheaper office built at Harlaw Park, at the same time as enabling more employees across services to work more flexibly in modern fit-for-purpose buildings.

Councillors on the working group were told that maintaining the existing offices in Aberdeen and Inverurie would require a major investment and would leave the council with office buildings far larger than it needs both now, and in the future.

They are keen to see officers progress proposals for the consolidation of existing offices in Aberdeen and Inverurie, along with investment in office accommodation in other towns across Aberdeenshire in order to support flexible working arrangements for office-based staff.

Plans include placing a greater emphasis on staff to work in localities closer to the communities they serve; adopting more flexible working practices, reducing travel time and increasing time spent on delivering services. This may result in further investment to council office facilities in towns like Ellon and Stonehaven to provide greater flexibility to staff to work in different locations. It also opens the door to exploring further co-location with public and private sector partners.

Councillors will discuss a report on the office space strategy at its next meeting on 26th January, and if agreed, a Member/Officer working group will be established to oversee the progress of the project, intended to continue beyond the May elections.

The recommendations in the report to full council will be as follows:

The Council is recommended to:

1.1 Approve the Revised Business Case for Option 2, namely:
1.1.1 A new Council office at Harlaw, Inverurie to house the functions of Gordon House and Woodhill House;
1.1.2 Explore options to consolidate existing offices in Ellon into a new office in Ellon;
1.1.3 Explore options to refurbish and expand Viewmount/ Carlton House Stonehaven;
1.1.4 Instruct officers to negotiate to acquire Harlaw Park (Locos Ground), Inverurie in order to provide an option to facilitate a Public Sector Hub; and
1.1.5 In principle, to relocate Colony Park if needed as part of the proposals.
1.1.6 Instruct Officers to provide a Masterplan for the Harlaw site;
1.2 Instruct Officers to progress to Gateway Stage 2 to develop the proposed Harlaw option;
1.3 Instruct Officers as part of the Gateway Stage 2 process to collaborate with Public Sector partners for potential re-location opportunities for the proposed Inverurie facility, provided that it did not delay the process; and report on the preferred option for the future use of Woodhill House;
1.4 Instruct Officers to continue to expand the worksmart principles for increased flexibility of deployment across Aberdeenshire to maximise productivity from staffing resources;
1.5 Instruct Officers to continue to explore opportunities to make the best use of Council properties which would maximise the economic and social benefits; and
1.6 Establish a Member/Officer Working Group to oversee the progress of the project, which is intended to continue beyond the May elections.

I wonder what is wrong with the land designated for employment and business use in Turriff in the Local Development Plan.

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