New public services hub gets green light from planners

A new public services hub in the centre of Mendip is now a step closer to reality after revised plans for the project were granted planning permission.

Mendip District Council’s Planning Board last night (Wednesday 5th June) approved the updated plans, which will see the ‘1984’ building – named after the year it was built – completely transformed to provide a new council chamber on the first floor, along with a new two-storey extension which will provide additional office space.

In a change to the original plans, which were granted planning permission last autumn, the existing council chamber will now be demolished, rather than converted and extended, and completely re-built to integrate with the new two-storey extension.

Permission has also been granted for the construction of a single-storey link building between the 1984 building and the 1987 building.

Meanwhile, a new expanded and improved reception area will now be developed in its current location at the Cannards Grave Road site, in the 1987 building, providing an attractive and customer-friendly one stop shop for many of the key public service providers in the district.

The council’s Shepton Mallet site will act as a central hub for a number of public services groups. Those already confirmed to be joining Mendip District Council at the hub include Avon and Somerset police, Capita, Somerset County Council and Shepton Mallet Town Council. Other key public service and voluntary sector providers are expected to confirm shortly that they will also co-locate.

Building work is due to get under way in the summer. Once completed, staff from the other frontline services to be based at the hub will move on to the site alongside existing Mendip District Council employees, with almost 600 jobs based at the Shepton Mallet site.

The creation of the public hub is a groundbreaking idea from Mendip District Council, which will see the authority maximise the use of its council offices in Shepton Mallet, saving local taxpayers millions of pounds.

Financial projections show that Mendip District Council could make net revenue savings of almost £6.5million over 20 years from the project. The rationalisation of the district council’s office space will give it the opportunity to generate revenue by facilitating the public sector hub.

Donna Nolan, Mendip District Council’s Corporate Manager for Governance, Assets and Public Spaces, said: “The granting of planning permission for these revised plans is great news and gives us the green light to start building work this summer.

“A great deal of work has been going on behind the scenes to bring this project to fruition and soon people will be able to see the new-look Cannards Road site beginning to take shape.”

Cllr John Parham, Portfolio Holder for Governance, Assets and Public Spaces, said: “The granting of planning permission is a major step forward for this project and I now look forward to work beginning on site.

“The hub will bring key public service providers onto one site in the centre of the Mendip district, making these partners even more accessible than before.

“It is also good news for the local Shepton Mallet economy. With more staff based at the council’s offices, it should lead to more money being spent locally.”


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