£878k plans to turn old Aylesbury offices into flats

£878k plans to turn old Aylesbury offices into flats

Published by Dan Gooding at 5:52am 30th August 2019.

After sitting empty for years, old council offices could be turned into flats - at a cost of nearly £878,000.

Council staff moved out of the building on Walton Street a few years back, when the back half was demolished to make way for a car park.

One option for the County Council was to turn it back into offices, but a lack of car parking put them off.

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Instead, 51 flats could go in there instead.

But that still begs the question about car parking.

Originally the project was thought to cost £727,000, but more money has now been released.

What do BCC have to say?

Waterside North - Artists impression front OCO (2)
How Walton Street could look under proposals

We asked the County Council the following questions and got responses from John Chilver, Cabinet Member for Resources.

Where has the £727k come from?

The funding is from our agreed capital programme and is an investment so the Council can achieve the very best value for the property in the longer term.

Why is even more needed for this now (£151k)?

The extra funding is needed as additional surveys have identified the need for more extensive works so the building can be bought back into use.

In particular, roofing repairs and asbestos removal will need to be completed, whatever the final use of the building.

Old County Offices
Old County Offices from the Waterside North car park

What is the value for money for the taxpayer?

There will be financial and non-financial benefits for the taxpayer. In the shorter term, the repairs will help reduce the cost to the Council of maintaining an empty building.

In the longer term, the proposal for more new homes helps meet local housing demand and will contribute to the wider regeneration and improvement of the Waterside north area of the Town Centre.

If office use was dismissed because of a lack of parking, why are apartments a better option when parking will still be an issue in an already crowded town centre?

Office use has been ruled out on cost grounds and the fact that the new Buckinghamshire Council will be looking to rationalise office space over the coming years.

Apartments benefiting from such a prime town centre location, are not always required to have a 1;1 ratio with parking (following other local town centre examples of re-development).

We will look at parking requirements  through the design stage, including the requirements of the Local Planning Authority and are confident we can address any parking concerns.

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