Workers in Falkirk’s municipal buildings will have to find a new home after councillors ruled the current building was too far gone to save.
Falkirk Council officials say the building is so dilapidated they have ruled out refurbishment and opted for a move to a new location.
The council’s executive committee agreed on Tuesday to adopt a phased approach, first looking for a site and building new office premises and then constructing a new civic facility or town hall.
The “high risk” approach of staying put in the current location was thrown out as being too costly and potentially putting the health and safety of staff at risk.
Councillor Linda Gow said: “Successive administrations have made the mistake of not investing in the building. Now it’s come to the stage it’s not worth investing in anymore.”
She suggested the council look at the nearby former Westbank Day Clinic, now declared surplus to requirements by NHS Forth Valley, as a potential new home.
Other suggestions included building on council-owned land to the south of Falkirk Stadium, on a site at the Falkirk Gateway and on the Meeks Road car park.
Council Leader Craig Martin said: “We all agree this facility is no longer fit for purpose and we have to address this for the long term future of the council.
“However, we have to do this in a manner which protects the tax payer’s money.”
Adopting a phased approach to finding a new location for an office facility and a replacement town hall was seen as the most cost effective.
Councillor Craig R Martin said: “We need something that is fit for purpose for both the municipal buildings and the town hall. Perth Council has the Concert Hall which is a great asset for them.”
Creating new offices for just over 500 staff will cost an estimated £9.8 million, and the new town hall £11.1 million. The annual average running cost is estimated at £790,000.
It was agreed to establish a working group consisting of all the administration’s portfolio holders, the leader of the opposition and Provost Pat Reid. Production of a full business case for new office space will take around 16 weeks and will involve more detailed work on issues like design and cost.
The case for the civic/town hall facility will take around six months.