HUNDREDS of local government staff from across north and east Cornwall could be moving to a new multi-million pound admin centre in Bodmin, according to a council whistle blower.
It throws into doubt the future of Higher Trenant in Wadebridge and Luxstowe House in Liskeard. Cornwall Council has recently stated staff would not be relocated and neither buildings would be closing.
But this week a council employee revealed to the Cornish Guardian that some staff in Liskeard had been briefed that they would be moving to Wadebridge in the short term and then on to the new centre in Bodmin which is due to be built in two years’ time at the Beacon Technology Park at a cost of up to £14 million.
Liskeard staff who move to work in Wadebridge will have their travel expenses paid by council tax payers.
Based on 45p per mile, a staff member living in Torpoint would be able to claim £15,768 per annum for working in Wadebridge.
The council employee said he had read previous statements from the local authority about safeguarding Luxstowe House, but knew they were untrue.
“It was particularly frustrating for us to read that there were no long term plans to shut Luxstowe House, because we’re being told they might,” he said. “The longer term plan was the east would operate from the hub in Bodmin.”
Cornwall Council has agreed to build the new administrative centre in Bodmin with the potential to cater for 675 staff, more than the current workforce at New County Hall in Truro.
Wadebridge town councillor Elliot Osborne, who only last week expressed his fears that High Trenant would close, said losing so many local government workers to Bodmin would be a real blow.
“It is going to have serious economic implications for both Wadebridge and Liskeard.
“I feel sure the majority of Cornwall councillors would never support the closure, but decisions are left to the few members who make up the cabinet, which is wrong, and we should have had an open discussion on the future of Higher Trenant,” said Mr Osborne.
This week, Cornwall Council again said it had no plans to close Higher Trenant or Luxstowe House.
It said there are times when a limited number of staff are moved between council offices for service efficiency.
“The council is committed to delivering the best possible public service which provides value for money and this, on occasions, requires staff to change their base location.
“When this happens, staff will be involved in these changes,” said a spokesperson.
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