Lib Dem idea for a shiny new council HQ – my notes for the radio interview

Shiny new headquarters for the council. All very interesting but what we need to be focused on is transforming our services for the elderly, those with learning disabilities, the young, schools and our roads.

Not shiny new headquarter building for the council. This is nothing more than an attempt to cause a fuss before the elections in May. We know we can’t rely on the Lib Dems for anything when it comes to finance. I understand the Lib Dem Cambridge city council has this week announced it has made a right mess of the finances.

The level of savings we need to make together with funding the extra demands being placed on us by demographic pressures and inflation are enormous. These will not be solved by moving into a more efficient energy building. These will be solved by our staff showing innovation, dedication, going the extra mile. That will not be helped by the disruption and affect on moral of relocating everyone. To say nothing of the cost.

I have carried out a number of HQ moves in my business life. It is painfull, very distracting for staff and always costs more than you think. It also causes a planning blight until the move takes place, which was what I discovered at Shire Hall. Things were not getting done because we might be moving. Staff did not want to move closer to shire hall because we might be moving. All very unsettling.

The Lib Dems, at all level of government always turn inward when things get tough. They would rather form another committee than do anything useful for the people of Cambridgeshire. Killian called for a study on the subject. Does he not realise studies cost money and create uncertainty. The Lib Dems are full of theory but lack any real life experience. Perhaps you could ask Killian how many HQs moves he has been responsible for?


As I understand it the original report to move out of Shire Hall says for it to be viable we would have to go to Northstowe:

It would require us to sell the site for top dollar – unheard of in these times,

That we would basically have to get the land in Northstowe for free,

There needs to be two people for every desk,

Construction costs would have to be extremely low – lower than we have achieved so far.

Moving to Northstowe would require the A14 to be improved. The first phase is actually 1500 homes and therefore any business centre would come later – this all means that any move would be in the future while we have to make millions of savings now.


In cabinet I checked with KB and he agreed that he wanted a budget hotel on a prime piece of Cambridgeshire and build a shiny new HQ for councillors. This is when residents are telling us to spend money on their roads, looking after the vulnerable and educating their children.

KB is not being ambitious enough – Making Assets Count is looking at public service buildings in the round and save millions across the board. We are a Government pilot in this respect and are held up by Ministers as good practice. This means sharing buildings and facilities with other organisations and we already have had health colleagues in Shire Hall.

Can we now get the subject back to caring for the elderly, the sick, the young.

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