New Forest District Council and the New Forest National Park Authority sign town hall deal
Release date: 25 November 2010
Local taxpayers will benefit when the New Forest National Park Authority (NFNPA) and New Forest District Council (NFDC) begin sharing office premises at Lymington Town Hall.
The two authorities are looking forward to the move, which will see the NFNPA set up its headquarters at Lymington Town Hall.
The Leader of the council, Cllr Barry Rickman, said: "Sharing office accommodation at Lymington Town Hall is an exciting prospect for both authorities.
"New Forest District Council has given its full support to the proposals and I am certain that council staff will embrace the new arrangements which enable us to work in a more sustainable and efficient way.
"We look forward to significant advantages and financial savings that will be made from this joint arrangement."
Ongoing annual savings of a total of at least £350,000 will be delivered by both authorities from reducing the number of public offices and sharing the costs of Lymington Town Hall. Savings will also occur from sharing support services. In addition, the district council will make efficiency savings from more services being administered from a single site at Appletree Court, Lyndhurst.
New Forest District Council is leasing part of the town hall and will collect rental from the NPA, which will benefit local taxpayers in the long term.
Refurbishment work on offices at the town hall is due to start shortly and it is hoped that National Park Authority staff will move in to the building in the summer of next year.
An important, but significantly reduced, grant of £750,000 central government funding is a major contribution towards the NPA's new headquarters, and will enable necessary refurbishment works to take place at both Lymington Town Hall and Appletree Court. Approximately £2m is being funded locally. The NPA is currently operating from South Efford House, at Everton, near Lymington. The NPA's lease on South Efford House is due to expire next year.
National Park Authority Chairman Julian Johnson said: "Our new base at Lymington will mean our services will be more accessible to residents and visitors thanks to the good transport links to Lymington Town Hall.
"We have worked hard with NFDC to keep the project cost-effective and reduce the costs.
"With the two authorities working side-by-side, there will be good opportunities for strengthening further joint working on issues which affect the New Forest. Building on existing shared services of finance and human resources, we will be looking at other ways to join services and further reduce costs in the current economic climate."