The completion date for the new civic centre hub designed to boost a town centre economy and save taxpayers millions of pounds has been scheduled for June.
The decision follows a commitment by Kier North to deliver the £15.4 million, four storey Castle House, next to Queens Gardens in the centre of Newcastle, in time for staff to prepare the building for opening to the public on June 25.
The building will house services from the County Council, Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council, Staffordshire Police and Aspire Housing, as well as becoming home to the town centre library and Newcastle Register Office.
Philip Atkins, Leader of Staffordshire County Council, said:
Castle House will boost Newcastle’s town centre economy, provide many services to the public under one roof and save taxpayers millions of pounds.
Kier North is looking forward to delivering a first class building and when it is complete the public will see for themselves what an asset it is and how it complements other exciting projects in the town centre.”
After staff have moved from the borough council’s current Merrial Street base, those civic offices will be demolished and become part of a wider redevelopment site at Ryecroft, where developer HDD has planning permission for a £27 million development with retail units, student accommodation and car parking.
Simon Tagg, Leader of Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council, said:
The delays to completing Castle House have been incredibly frustrating for both councils, our staff and also for the local residents who will benefit from bringing public services together under one roof. We will be monitoring the revised completion programme that Kier have come up with very closely in the hope that there are no further delays.
Castle House – and its sister development which the Council is working on at nearby Ryecroft – are the biggest projects to benefit Newcastle town centre in a generation and the Borough Council is delighted to be playing its part in supporting our retail economy, boosting our development as a university town, saving taxpayers millions of pounds in building running costs and delivering services more effectively to local taxpayers.”
Castle House, which fronts on to Queens Gardens, will also include a large multi-function room and a study area for students, while the whole building will be wifi-enabled for public use.
Staffordshire Police will also have a presence in the building and Aspire Housing will be moving its customer service centre there.
John O’Callaghan, Kier Construction Northern Managing Director, said:
We are committed to delivering the new civic centre hub to the highest quality and share the councils’ frustrations in the delay.
We are working hard to ensure the remaining work is completed as soon as possible. When complete the new hub will be a real asset to the area with a range of important services under one roof.”