Closure would not damage Morpeth economy ‘unduly’

County Hall, Morpeth.
County Hall, Morpeth.

The county council’s Labour administration has emphasised again that the sale of County Hall is ‘simply one concept being explored’ at a time of extreme financial pressures.

At the January meeting of the council’s north area committee, Morpeth Town councillor David Parker raised concerns about the effect the sale could have on the town.

And in a written response, part of the agenda for February’s meeting of the committee, the county council’s business chairman, Scott Dickinson, said: “County Hall was built in 1981 to accommodate approximately 2,500 staff.

“Current staff levels are around half of that and the repair cost projection is significant to bring County Hall up to the most basic modern standard as a workplace for staff.

“This is without the major ground works and building costs necessary to repair the buttress.

“The energy costs of the building are five times that of a large school and if we move to town centre buildings we could make a considerable saving on energy alone.”

Referring to the impact on Morpeth, he added: “We believe that the economy of Morpeth will not suffer unduly as it has a possibility to grow northwards, eastwards and southwards and the money we harvest through the development of the site and the re-siting to town centres could save Northumberland’s services, jobs and economy over the next decade.”