Office sale will create new jobs

HIGH Peak Borough Council’s former offices at Chinley have been sold to a local property company for more than £600,000.

Stevenson Deane Property Co Ltd have bought the premises for £603,000 and are planning to refurbish and improve the buildings to create a range of prestigious office accommodation. It is intended that the space will become available to let from early to mid-2013.

The company is based at the Botany Business Park in Whaley Bridge, which they own and operate.

It is hoped that their investment in the buildings will encourage both new and existing businesses to locate into the High Peak, bringing with them associated employment opportunities.

Welcoming the sale of the offices, Councillor Tim Norton, High Peak Borough Council’s Executive Member for Corporate Services, said: “This is really good news and an excellent deal for the people of High Peak.

“By selling the Chinley site, the council is able to reduce its costs and so protect services in the face of reduced Government funding for councils.

“More importantly in this difficult economic time the site will come back into productive use, supporting business growth and local jobs.”

The Chinley offices were put up for sale in 2010 and were re-marketed earlier this year after a prospective purchaser withdrew from the sale.

However, in June, there was controversy when the Buxton Advertiser revealed how the former offices had cost the authority more than £100,000 since being closed on cost-cutting grounds.

The decision to shut the offices was made by the authority after councillors heard that the annual cost of running sites in Buxton, Chinley and Glossop was more than £340,000.

But figures obtained by Chapel-en-le-Frith resident Edmund Bradbury under the Freedom of Information Act showed that, up until March 22 2012, the authority had spent £109,406.65 on their former headquarters.

Mr Bradbury, who began his local government career at the Chinley offices in the 1950s and fought a long campaign calling on the council to re-consider their decision to sell the building, discovered that the authority had spent £62,441 on security; £1,315 on a new barrier at the entrance; £3,710 on insurance; £8,844 on heating/lighting and £6,253 on maintenance.

A further £4,563 had been spent on hiring accommodation for council meetings with an additional £22,280.65 spent on a public address system for use at the venues now used for many meetings.