Cash strapped Cheshire East looks set to close headquarters at cost of £2.2m
By Belinda Ryan - Local Democracy Reporter
27th Nov 2023 | Local News
Cheshire East looks set to give the go-ahead to close its Westfields headquarters at Sandbach.
The cash-strapped council is looking to reduce its costs and, with many staff working from home, no longer needs so much office space.
The corporate policy committee will vote next week on proposals to close Westfields and relocate staff to Crewe and Macclesfield.
The council estimates it will cost nearly £2.2m to close the Sandbach offices, relocate staff and equipment and refurbish the buildings they will move into.
A report to next week's meeting of the committee says staff have been surveyed on the potential closure.
"Overall, 47 per cent of survey respondents supported the closure of Westfields, with 35 per cent opposed to it," states the report.
But it adds, of the staff actually based at Westfields, 53 per cent were opposed to its closure.
The report continues: "Reasons given for supporting the proposal included that respondents felt the Westfields office is under-utilised and often empty, and that it will help save money. However, it was noted that support for the proposal is dependent on relocation specifics, particularly depending on where people are relocated to."
Those opposed to Westfields closing argued it is central, accessible, and people will have to travel further to get to another office and that it has good and free car parking.
The report also states that, if the Sandbach office does close, 65 per cent of current Westfields staff that completed the survey would prefer to be relocated to Crewe and only 20 per cent would choose Macclesfield.
If the committee does sign off on the closure proposal on Thursday, then the future of the site will be considered by the economy and growth committee at a later date.
The report states: "Options could include sale, lease or re-purposing arrangements."
If Westfields closes Delamere House in Crewe would become the council's registered address.
The corporate policy committee meeting takes place on Thursday, November 30, at 10am at Westfields.