DWP move to council offices gets the formal go-ahead

South Holland District Council's offices in Priory Road, Spalding.  Photo: SG290114-223NG.
South Holland District Council's offices in Priory Road, Spalding. Photo: SG290114-223NG.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will be moving into South Holland District Council’s offices in Spalding.

Councillors agreed to lease part of the ground floor of the under-occupied council building in Priory Road to the DWP in order to generate income for other projects.

A maximum of £350,000 will be spent by the council to adapt the space for the DWP to move in, it was agreed at a meeting on Wednesday.

The proposed leasehold arrangement is expected to generate an annual income of £42,000 to offset against the running of the council buildings.

It had previously been hoped that the ground floor of the office buildings would become a ‘community hub’ with all kind of services being offered by organisations renting space from the local authority.

An initital £2.7m was provisionally put aside for the project if it had gone ahead as originally planned.

However, one by one, interested parties dropped out, with only the DWP currently happy to move into the building.

But the door is still open for organisations to move into the space at a later date if they want to, as the space around the DWP’s office will be ‘futureproofed’ for potential tenants.

Coun Nick Worth said: “If they want to come in later, we can do something for them. Some said it wasn’t the right thng for them or it just wasn’t the right time.

“It’s just making better use of the space we have available as the number of staff members has reduced.”

The DWP’s move is part of the council’s Moving Forward programme, which aims to support the sustainable 
future of the Priory Road offices. The project aims to improve access to services – DWP estimates that around 70 per cent of its clients are the same as those using council services generally.

The council will provide a ‘turnkey solution’ – providing furniture as well as space.