Proposals for better services from fewer buildings

9 November 2021

Proposals to deliver services more effectively from fewer buildings will be discussed by the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee next week.

The plans for some of the council's assets outline how a proposed transformation of the way in which services are delivered will put them at the heart of the borough's communities and make significant savings by no longer having to maintain older buildings which are not fit for purpose.

Proposals include relocating the Grays Library and the Register Office to the Civic Office buildings, while a new cultural strategy is developed to promote greater community participation and more opportunities to create, engage and experience arts, culture and heritage in Thurrock.

Cllr Mark Coxshall, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Strategic Planning and External Relationships, said: "Many of the buildings we have traditionally operated services from are now old, dilapidated and no longer fit for purpose. It is estimated that it will cost a minimum of £16million to bring the Thameside Complex alone up to standard, this investment is only to maintain the current building and will not increase capacity or bring any much needed improvement to the performance area.

"The review has enabled us to look at how these services are delivered and the extent to which they need to be tied to specific buildings in the borough. This is about outcomes and ensuring that we work smarter in a way that meets residents’ needs. We have successfully relocated some of the operators to better, more suitable premises.

"These proposals will allow us to re-imagine services for the 21st century which are based in communities rather than behind the doors of aging buildings, with the additional benefit of releasing surplus buildings so land can be used for redevelopment and regeneration purposes. However, I also welcome interest from local groups on the potential for community asset transfer of the Thameside Complex."

Cllr Deb Huelin, Cabinet Member for Communities, said: "We are working with groups and the local community to develop a new shared vision for the delivery of arts and culture across the borough.

"There is so much more to delivering arts, culture and heritage than the buildings they have traditionally been based at. These proposals outline a bold new future in which groups work with the council to deliver in the very heart of our communities."

The proposals will be discussed by Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee next week before going on to Cabinet for a decision.