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CONWY: £10.6m Coed Pella bill

Conwy County Council

CONWY’S Coed Pella office in Colwyn Bay has cost taxpayers over £10.6m in running costs in the last five years.

According to information collected in a freedom of information (FOI) application by a member of the public, Conwy paid out £1,099,865, £2,225,144, £2,406,603, £2,409,292, and £2,510,054 in yearly running costs between 2018/19 and 2022/23.

This totals at an almighty £10,650,958.

During that period, the council, who work ‘paperless’, also splashed out £118,468 on stationary and other office expenses, spending £42,618, £29,328, £12,194, £16,493, and £17,835 between 2018/19 and 2022/23 respectively.

The building cost £638,869 to clean over the same five-year period, and the council paid £820,585 in utility bills.

The purpose-built state-of-the-art building has also cost the council £434,127 in maintenance costs.

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The £10.6m includes over £5.9m in rent payments (£5,900.491).

According to the same FOI, the building is occupied by an average of 300 staff per day.

The revelation follows Conwy increasing council tax by nearly 10% (9.9%), slashing services’ budgets by 10%, and cutting schools budgets by 5% – and already schools have been forced to make redundancies and apply for loans.

The FOI also revealed the building has 265 car parking spaces for staff, 31 for visitors, 17 disabled spaces, nine reserved van spaces, and three electric charging spaces.

A spokeswoman for Conwy County Council commented: “These figures are in line with the projected annual running costs we shared in 2018.

“It’s important to remember that the council originally reviewed its offices over ten years ago. Under previous local government reorganisation, we inherited a number of increasingly ageing buildings, some in need of substantial repair, and we had been given notice to vacate one of our largest offices at the Welsh Government building on Dinerth Road.

“We were faced with high repair costs and the need to find alternative office space for the staff. The cost of repairing our existing buildings together with leasing additional office space would have meant paying over and above the cost of renting Coed Pella.

“Other options were cost prohibitive and/or unable to cater for the number of staff who needed to be relocated. We lease the Coed Pella offices from the developer with an option to buy it for £1 at the end of the term.”

She added, “We are currently reviewing our office estate. In a recent meeting, cabinet agreed to proceed with preparing a comprehensive business case to consider a one-office strategy, with Coed Pella as the designated office. The business case will assess whether this is a viable solution.

“The full business case will take time to prepare, and we expect to present it to cabinet for consideration early next year.”