Planning green light given to ‘money-saving’ council office at Top Wighay
A new, low-carbon money-saving council office has been given the green light to be built at the site of Top Wighay Farm near Hucknall.
It follows a meeting of the county council's Planning and Rights of Way Committee (Tuesday 26 July), with councillors voting to approve the construction of the flagship building which will help the council save more than a million pounds each year.
The new building is a key component of the council’s ‘Investing in Nottinghamshire’ programme to reduce the number of council buildings from over 17 to 10, resulting in an annual saving of £1.35m for taxpayers and more resources for vital public services.
The Top Wighay office will also generate income by leasing space to other public sector organisations and small and medium-sized businesses.
The applicant, Nottinghamshire County Council, explained how the Top Wighay office is part of broader plans to build a sustainable village on the site, which already has outline planning permission.
These plans will bring 805 new homes and a new primary school and are estimated to create more than 1,000 new full-time jobs and boost the economy by more than £873 million over a decade.
Chairman of the County Council's Planning and Rights of Way of Committee, Councillor Richard Butler, said:
"After hearing all the evidence, the committee by a large majority approved planning permission for this new and exciting money-saving project at Top Wighay Farm.
"This project will create new, high skilled well-paid jobs for local people as well as providing fit-for-purpose accommodation for our adult and children and families staff including our customer service contact centre and multi-agency safeguarding hub.
“It is a vital part of our Investing in Nottinghamshire programme and will help the council reduce building expenditure, so freeing up significant extra revenue for our most important public services.”
Environmental and ecological benefits from the project were also discussed at the meeting, with more than 100 trees to be planted on-site.
The location was also seen as a major benefit with the Top Wighay/Linby area being in the heart of the county.
Councillor Butler said: “It is clear that the location is a key point as councillors discussed how services will be near the people who need them the most.”
Councillors also welcomed the news around the Trentbarton 141-bus service that the county council is running a tender exercise with local bus operators with the intention to fund a like for like service.
It is intended that the new operator will start the new service from 5 September 2022 so there will be no loss in service.
Councillor Butler added: "It was outlined during the meeting how transport links and facilities will create a smooth journey for people wanting to get to the new council office.
"This will include regular bus services and a direct pedestrian/cycle path to the A611 to provide speedy and easy access to the building
"The council's hard work securing the continuation of the TrentBarton141-bus service was seen as an important part of connectivity to the Top Wighay site."
Now that planning permission has been approved, work on the site is expected to start early next year.
None of the development will be on green belt land.
The Top Wighay council building will be delivered through the Arc Partnership on behalf of Nottinghamshire County Council and is planned to open in late 2024.