Today (Wednesday 8 June), Thurrock Council officially opened the doors to the ground floor of its new £9.8million Civic Offices building.
The contemporary 3-storey building, which will be delivered on budget, has been designed firmly with energy-efficiency in mind, showing the council's commitment to sustainability, lowering its environmental impact and kick-starting huge regeneration plans across Grays.
The ground floor features a significantly improved welcome area and will support the borough's most vulnerable residents who have been offered appointments or those who have been referred to council services. It is also home to the new bespoke Register Office and ceremonial garden, with over 30 weddings and many citizenship ceremonies taking place since early April.
The building has opened in phases, with the multi-function committee rooms playing host to council meetings and welcoming the public over the last 2 months. The development also means the oldest part of the current Civic Offices can be used as land for building much-needed, 100% affordable council homes for Thurrock residents.
Leader of Thurrock Council, Cllr Rob Gledhill, said: "I am delighted that the impressive new building is starting to open up to the public. A lot of thought has gone into its design, how we use it and what we will use it for and it is reducing our carbon footprint as well as decreasing running costs.
"By opening our ground floor today, we can offer direct support to those residents who really need us most and will be able to do so in a sensitive and confidential manner. We know some residents and enquiries have to be dealt with face to face but through the pandemic residents made the most of our online services to pay, report and apply, which they can continue to do any time and any day of the week."
Cllr Mark Coxshall, Deputy Leader and Cabinet member for Regeneration and External Affairs, added: "This new building will be the catalyst for the ambitious redevelopment of Grays, stretching from the River Thames through to the heart of the town. As it stands, millions of private and public investment has been secured for Grays regeneration, showing that the government, Thurrock Council and investors are serious about the future of Grays and its potential to be an engine for growth and opportunity."
More facilities will open to the public over the summer, including a purpose-built coffee shop with indoor and outdoor seating, and the new Council chamber which has been meticulously designed to stand for generations.
Photo below: the new council building.