LYME Regis Town Council has thrown out suggestions of moving its staff to new office accommodation, and instead will focus on improving current facilities at Guildhall Cottage.
Councillors discussed the issue of office accommodation at a recent Human Resources Committee, when Councillor Steve Miller put forward the idea of moving into Broad Street premises previously occupied by Lloyds Bank.
Councillor Miller said this would provide a modern space in the centre of town, and rental costs were advantageous for Lyme Regis high street. He also said these costs could be further off-set by converting Guildhall Cottage in Bridge Street into residential accommodation.
Councillor Sean Larcombe argued it would be a “waste of money” to rent the Broad Street premises and suggested the £100,000 earmarked in the budget for this would be better spent on refurbishing the existing office accommodation, expanding into the Tourist Information Centre downstairs, which the town council is expected to take ownership of when the new unitary authority comes into force next year.
Councillor Brian Larcombe said he had previously suggested that the council could move into the former Three Cups Hotel when it was renovated, but he now agreed with Councillor Sean Larcombe’s proposal.
The Mayor of Lyme Regis, Councillor Michaela Ellis, said she didn’t think staff would be able to remain in the current office while it was being refurbished, and moving to the former Lloyds building would save money in the long run, taking into account the opportunity to sell Guildhall Cottage.
Town clerk John Wright also warned councillors that undertaking a refurbishment would be a major building project and it would be difficult for staff to deliver services when working in a building site. Someone would also need to be employed as project manager.
However, councillors agreed not to pursue the opportunities to move into either the former Lloyds building or Three Cups Hotel, and instead to refurbish the existing office with expansion into the Tourist Information Centre.
Councillor Owen Lovell suggested the refurbishment should also include the Mayor’s Parlour, which he described as the “most underused” part of the entire Guildhall and adjoining offices.