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New offices could help council hit green targets East Hampshire District Council is looking to make

East Hampshire District Council is looking to make its new premises an exemplar green building as part of its move from Penns Place.

The council plans to move from its long-held Petersfield base this year and transfer its operations to a new site nearer the centre of town.

The offices at Penns Place have been EHDC’s home since its inception in the mid 1970s and are now in need of expensive refurbishment. It is estimated that the building would require around £3 million of renovations to bring it up to standard.

The council has declared a climate emergency and has committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2050. A major step toward achieving this goal would be to exchange the inefficient, poorly-insulated Penns Place with a more modern building with a better environmental performance.

The proposed new building, New Barn, in Bedford Rd, has a C-rated Energy Performance Certificate and would need to be improved to meet the council’s requirement.

It is proposed that significant effort is made to improve the building’s green credentials and work is underway to consider how this can be achieved.

EHDC's Cabinet met on Thursday 14 April to discuss the plan and agreed to put £50,000 towards a detailed business case that would investigate the costs and logistics of making the move.

New working practices, accelerated by the pandemic, now see many staff working from home for all or part of their working week, meaning less office space is needed. New Barn is just under half the size of Penns Place and would be a much more efficient use of space.

It would also be much more convenient for EHDC’s customers, being a ten-minute walk from the centre of Petersfield and close to the town’s train station.

As part of the move the council is also looking at the future possibility of customer hubs around the district.

Cllr Richard Millard, EHDC Leader, said: “The council is keen to provide an environmentally friendly, efficient and positive working environment for its staff, which, when coupled with flexible working policies, will optimise office space and increase productivity.

“This move would not only reduce the council’s carbon footprint but also save the council money with a smaller, modern, more efficient office.

“We shall see what the business case shows us, but it looks an exciting prospect at the moment.”

New Barn was bought by EHDC in 2016 for £2.5 million as an investment. It will become vacant at the end of June when its current tenants move out.

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