A Chapel-en-le-Frith man who started his 40-year local government career at the former Chinley Council Offices in 1950 has called on the High Peak Borough council to reconsider its decision to dispose of the premises which were once its headquarters.
Edmund Bradbury says the closure last year of the offices, which were central to the Borough’s main population areas has reduced access to open government.
He said: “It was anticipated at the time when the decision to dispose of the premises was made that some savings would be made by the disposal of the premises, but unfortunately there have been important escalating costs of background heating, essential maintenance and security of the buildings to be covered until the sale is completed.”
But a spokesman for High Peak Council said that the offices were still up for sale, adding: “By not operating that site we are saving a lot of money.”
However, Mr Bradbury believes that there are ongoing new costs of hiring or using accommodation for meetings at various venues including Chapel Town Hall, Buxton Pavilion Gardens, Glossop Municipal Buildings and other venues.
Key Development Control Committee meetings have had to be revised from early evening to 1.30pm owing to evening bookings of Chapel Town Hall which is inconvenient for working members of the public wishing to attend.
There had also been the cost of adapting existing council buildings to accommodate staff from the Chinley Offices plus to the resultant upheavals and travel costs involved.
Mr Bradbury said he thought the Council had made a grave error was made when the members of the council prior to elections last May decided to dispose of the headquarters, something that has certainly not been contemplated by our surrounding authorities, with consulting the public.
And amplification in meetings at Chapel Town Hall had been described as “diabolical” by members of the public.
“I understand that a number of members of the existing council are not happy with the current situation, and I do hope that reconsideration will be given at an early date to the future of the early headquarters as local residents expect to have an adequate focal point for their authority’s activities,” said Mr Bradbury.