Fringe Box



Letter: Was This Costly Refurbishment Really Necessary?

Published on: 12 Apr, 2016
Updated on: 12 Apr, 2016
Guildford Borough Council Offices at Millmead.

Guildford Borough Council Offices at Millmead.

From Bernard Parke

Hon alderman and former mayor

It was back in the eighties when there was a considerable debate on the building of a new civic suite, including a, then, state of the art council chamber.

The need had arisen as The Guildford Borough and Guildford District Council had amalgamated.

The new council had had to squeeze into the old Rural District Chamber in Millmead House.

In those days, quarterly meetings were full robed affairs, held in The Guildhall. There were 12 full council meetings each year as opposed to just the quarterly meetings now.

The cost of creating the new chamber in the 80s was in the region of £4 million, an expenditure not lightly received by the public at large.

After nearly two decades we have seen a revamp of the civic suite with a projected budget of £3.6 million.

The refurbishment includes many feature such as air conditioning. There is also a disability access  costing £31,000 replacing the special facility of the chair lift, fairly recently installed.

No doubt it was believed that this new facility was a priority to ensure the smooth running of  our, 48  member, Guildford  Borough Council, but we are told that central  government is to balance the Chancellor’s budget by cutting the Revenue Rate Support Grant and, in doing so, put more pressure on councils to increase council tax, yet again.

Was such a costly refurbishment really required at a time of national austerity?

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