The completion date for the new civic centre hub designed to boost a town centre economy and save taxpayers millions of pounds has been postponed to 2018.
The £15.4 million, four storey Castle House, next to Queens Gardens in the centre of Newcastle, will open in the next few months once final work has been completed.
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.
Unfortunately, several parts of the building’s rear facade have been damaged during installation and need replacing. “This will be a disruptive and noisy job and the work would make the library and register office unusable for the public, as well creating difficult working conditions for staff.
We’re keen to be in Castle House, but only when it’s ready for use. The builders are sorting things out, and also bearing all of the costs, and until it opens all services are running as usual in their current locations.”
After the move the civic offices in Merrial Street will become part of a wider redevelopment site at Ryecroft, where developer HDD has planning permission for a £27.1 million development with retail units, student accommodation and car parking.
Philip Atkins said:
Together, these construction projects are the biggest investment in Newcastle town centre for a generation.
They will invigorate the town centre economy by offering major retailers larger units than have previously been available and lead to more people living and working in the heart of the town, as well as supporting the continued growth of Keele University.”
Cllr. Simon Tagg, Leader of the Borough Council, said:
By vacating the Civic Offices, we are enabling a much-needed retail project to take place in Ryecroft which will bring significant benefits to the town centre and local people.
The ‘sister projects’ of Castle House and Ryecroft will not only help to strengthen the vitality of our town centre, but will also save council taxpayers millions of pounds over many years in property-related costs.
Do it once and do it right is undoubtedly the best use of public money.
The delay is certainly unfortunate for everyone involved, but it’s best to have any problems ironed out before we move in to ensure that we can deliver improved public services from the outset.”
Delivered by Kier Construction Northern, the energy-efficient building also contains meeting rooms which can be used by the public.