Council move

PUBLISHED: 09:18 28 December 2006 | UPDATED: 21:28 29 May 2010

I WOULD like to correct some of the statements made in your article entitled Chamber pushes for council move (December 7). Mike Perry is wrong when he says the council offices in Dunmow are sitting there virtually empty . This was true when the previ

I WOULD like to correct some of the statements made in your article entitled "Chamber pushes for council move" (December 7).

Mike Perry is wrong when he says the council offices in Dunmow are "sitting there virtually empty".

This was true when the previous Conservative administration of Uttlesford decided to abandon Dunmow by moving the planning department to Saffron Walden, something which I and my Lib Dem colleagues voted against.

For a period the offices were left vacant.

However this is no longer the case. After the Lib Dems won control of the council in 2003 we brought the offices back into use.

We did this by working in partnership with the Council for Voluntary Services to create a Voluntary Sector Centre, which now accommodates a large number of different voluntary organisations.

This is not just "a couple of voluntary organisations around the back", the Voluntary Sector Centre occupies the whole of the rear of the building previously occupied by the planning department.

In addition in the front of the building we have the Community Information Centre, which ensures that residents in Dunmow and the south of the district can access the full range of council services.

We have just refurbished this part of the building, as part of improving our customer services, to make sure the quality of service provided is even higher.

The building is also used as a base by council staff who work in the Dunmow area, and there is very little spare space left.

If, as Mr Perry suggests, Uttlesford were to move more of its staff into the Dunmow building, then we would have to evict the voluntary organisations who currently use the building to make room for them.

This could put at risk many of the vital services that they provide to our local community. I'm sure nobody would want that.

Uttlesford District Council is looking to take action to make sure its office accommodation is of the standard required to provide high quality services to the people of Uttlesford. By taking the radical action required to sort out some of the longstanding problems with our current offices, we will ensure that there is no need to look for accommodation elsewhere.

Cllr Mark Gayler

Leader of Uttlesford District Council

Member for Great Dunmow North

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