Up to half of the council’s office space could be sold off in a bid to cut costs. Hyndburn council leaders are facing a £3m backlog in repairs on its council buildings and are also looking to trim the annual budget in the wake of the Government’s spending review.
A survey into the efficiency of its buildings found Hyndburn Council should halve its office space – with the authority set to draw up fresh plans to vacate or sell unneeded buildings next year.
Coun Peter Britcliffe, council leader, said "We are always looking at how we can reduce our costs and if we are able to use fewer buildings it helps us lower our overheads and make savings.
"This is an important issue for us right now, because we anticipate a reduction in the workforce as a result of the general reduction in public sector spending.
"We’ll therefore be looking at whether we can make better use of our buildings."
The council is already working with NHS East Lancashire and Lancashire county council to consider sharing accommodation to reduce spending and has not ruled out the demolition of council property.
The report, which was discussed by council chiefs at Tuesday’s resources overview and scrutiny committee, reveals the Willows Lane office building in Accrington is the most underused of the council’s office stock, and was also rated as ‘poor’ by employees.
The report states: "There is scope to reduce the amount of office space if staff are allocated less office space to work in.
"The next stage of the process is to make management decisions on which buildings we decide to improve and keep and those that we can allow to be vacated and sold."
The report comes just days after the county council announced it would be moving staff out of the Willows Lane offices to save on rental and running costs. It has shut 17 of its bases across the region and will move the majority of staff into the Globe Centre in Accrington.
But despite welcoming the news the council is looking to trim its budget, campaign group the Taxpayers’ Alliance urged the council to avoid a quick-fire sale of its property assets.
Spokeswoman Emma Boon said: "Taxpayers know that there are going to be spending cuts and they want to see their money being spent wisely on the local services they really need.
"Local councils need to make sure that they are using all of their resources as efficiently as possible.
"That includes reducing office space where necessary, but that space should not be sold off for less than it is worth."