Bexley’s taxpayers are seeing an annual saving of over £2m following the move by the London Borough of Bexley into the Civic Offices at 2 Watling Street – far more than envisaged in the plans.
The “Bexley First” project saw the disposal or renting out of the four previous Civic buildings, and the relocation of all council staff onto the new site at no cost at all to taxpayers.
Now the reductions in running costs are delivering annual savings DOUBLE to what was initially planned.
It also helped bring a famous Bexley site back to life, as the building was the former home of the Woolwich Building Society.
Prior to the move into Watling Street in 2014 the Council was split across four buildings, with departments split across those sites too. As well as the costs of maintaining four aging buildings, it wasted a lot of money and time with staff having to move back and forth between offices.
Leader of Bexley Conservatives, Cllr Teresa O’Neill OBE, said: “This was rightly described as Bexley’s biggest ever recycling projects, bringing back into life a well-known Bexley landmark as well as creating a new home for the Council.
Instead of staff being split across four different buildings, spread across the Borough, we all work together as a strong team.”
The project was completed a no cost to taxpayers at all, with the costs being funded from the disposal or renting out of the former sites. Alongside this, the project has led to the creation of hundreds of new homes across the Borough, including behind the Civic Offices.
The project was – of course – opposed by Labour Councillors, who voted against reducing the Council’s running costs.
Instead they demanded a brand new building be created from scratch, with no new housing provided. The cost of their proposed new building was £25million!
Labour cited Newham as a shining example for the Conservative administration to follow.
That Labour Borough undertook what was supposed to be the same plan as Bexley but instead of costing their taxpayers nothing, it ended up costing them £111m!
A Bexley Conservatives spokesperson said: “Only a Labour Council would turn a project which was supposed to not cost taxpayers anything into a project that wasted £111million! And here in Bexley, Labour were telling us we should be spending £25million instead of saving taxpayers £2m a year.
It is the same story everywhere – Labour waste the public’s money, Conservatives save the public money.”