£14.2m contract awarded for final stages of County Hall redevelopment works
PUBLISHED: 17:33 27 November 2019 | UPDATED: 17:33 27 November 2019
A multi-million pound contract for the final stages of a revamp to Norfolk County Council's headquarters has been awarded.
The £14.2m contract to complete the refurbishment of County Hall's north tower, lower ground floor and basement areas has been given to the UK-based construction firm Mace Group.
The project to modernise the site began in 2012 after blocks of masonry fell from the building.
Opposition councillors have previously spoken out against the increasing costs for the council's headquarters, with Labour group leader Steve Morphew saying the site risked "finishing up as a gilded palace... at a time people can only dream of having their roads resurfaced".
And Lib Dem group leader Dan Roper said he would ask the council for a "full explanation".
An initial contract worth £22m was awarded to RG Carter in 2012, which saw an extra £10m for replacement insulation, heating and lighting added on a year later.
Councillors agreed to add a further £7m in 2017 for the works on the basement, lower ground floor and north wing - but it was subsequently revealed the bill for the works would cost in the region of £22m to £24m.
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Councillors were asked in January 2019 to commit £9.5m in funding to the redevelopment, which would enable the third and final stage of works to begin.
This was on top of a £14.4m figure which County Hall said was set aside for the project in 2016.
A county council spokesperson said: "One of our long-term aspirations is to have an efficient and modern estate and the next step is to move 540 people from Carrow House in 2020.
"By closing Carrow House it will save the council £400,000 per year in running costs and generate up to £1.1m by selling the building as part of the Colman site redevelopment.
"Before we can move any more staff to County Hall, the north tower, lower ground floor and basement require essential renovations.
"These offices have had limited work done to them since they were constructed back in the 1960s.
"The work is essential to make sure they meet current safety regulations and are fit for purpose.
"This is the third and final stage of the County Hall development, which started in 2013, and will be funded by the capital budget already set aside for the repairs and maintenance of County Hall."