Bid to save town offices

PUBLISHED: 11:27 31 July 2008 | UPDATED: 07:03 30 May 2010

TOWN councillors are divided on whether they can rescue the district offices on Dunmow High Street from closure. Members of the Dunmow Town Council have discussed the possibility and have instructed officers to submit a financial report to see if they can

TOWN councillors are divided on whether they can rescue the district offices on Dunmow High Street from closure.

Members of the Dunmow Town Council have discussed the possibility and have instructed officers to submit a financial report to see if they can find the cash to buy the ex-Uttlesford District Offices and save the volunteers and charities which currently occupy it.

The idea of buying the large white offices emerged in May, and an action group was formed to try and push the issue through.

One of the supporters of the idea, ex-mayor Frank Silver has said that he would very much like to see a resolution sooner rather than later. "These things take too long," he said. "We have discussed it a number of times and I think it is time to act on it one way or the other."

The subject was on the agenda for the full town council meeting last Thursday but as yet no decision has been made.

The idea is to sell the current offices at Foakes House on Stortford Road and use the cash to finance a bid for the offices next to the post office which currently houses 13 charities who, if the building was sold off to another bidder, would have to find alternative offices to work from, such as the new library which is still on schedule for completion in September 2009.

Town clerk Owen Wilson will be trying to obtain the details of how much the offices will actually cost. He said: "It is possible that there could be two valuations, because the building has land at the rear which is also owned by the district council, the town council is only interested in buying the building itself."

The land at the rear is prime development land and would increase any valuations significantly but buying the offices on a stand alone basis could be within the town council budget.

Last week Essex County Council suggested that they would be investigating whether to buy the land at the rear, currently used as parking for refuse lorries, to convert into town centre car parking.

Highway planner Tony Buston said that there was a need to free Dunmow of traffic to make it more attractive to visitors and shoppers. He said: "We are aware of the old district council yard at New Street becoming vacant and that the possibility of obtaining the yard for a town centre car park is being investigated."

What do you think? E-mail us at nick.thompson@archant.co.uk

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