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Rochford District Council’s presence in Rochford Town secured


At the meeting of Rochford District Council’s Executive this week (Tuesday 19 March), members agreed a series of recommendations that will ensure Rochford residents will still be able to access council reception services in Rochford whilst back-office staff will be relocated within the town to improve their working environment and reduce the council’s carbon footprint.

The Council have had a presence in Rochford since 1974 and this isn't going to change. The Council has been able to secure a partnership with Essex County Council to co-locate its customer services to a more central location in the heart of Rochford Town within Rochford Library, where services will be able to be continued and accessed by the public.  

At the meeting, councillors were presented with a proposed move of the main office. The proposal identified that the current facilities are at their end-of-life with over £570k worth of essential works required over the next 2 years, which is coupled with the ongoing revenue costs of the facility and its inefficiency with regards to energy and carbon use. The move from the South Street office for back-office employees will be able to achieve a circa £75k saving and reduce the council’s carbon footprint from approx. 27.6 tonnes of CO2e to 6.3 tonnes of CO2e. 

It was agreed the council’s back-office provision will move for the short term (no more than 2yrs) to the new Launchpad facility opposite Cherry Orchard in Rochford. This will assist the council in reviewing and securing the best option for the council for its long-term permanent HQ building. The move will make immediate financial revenue savings (£75k) and avoid capital costs (£576k), providing a better offer for the council employee's and reducing the councils carbon footprint by over 21tonnes of CO2e. 

The offices at the Launchpad will be for back-office provision only and customers will not be expected to attend this facility with the opening of the new enhanced library provision for the council's customer access provision for Rochford residents.  

It was also agreed that a commitment was made to hold future council committee meetings at the Civic Suite in Rayleigh and £30,000 from the 2024/25 Capital Programme is allocated to enable the required works to reopen the Council Chamber in the building. This will not affect the front desk reception service in the Mill Hall.

The move from South Street creates a pivotal moment for Rochford Town as it starts the journey on what the long-term future and vision of place could be. The Council has already committed to work with residents, businesses, and key stakeholders on the vision for Rochford Town and with this has committed £25k in this year’s budget to support engagement and consultation which will look to take place ahead of the summer. This work will also consider the future of the Freight House, which is seen as an iconic structure in Rochford Town and an important part of the ongoing landscape. However, what this is needs to be decided and the commitment of this money to invest in this overall direction creates many opportunities.  Any proposal for this or other assets owned by the Council will be determined through new businesses cases which will come forward.

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