MUCH-NEEDED improvements will be made as Arun District Council gives its headquarters a facelift.
With work expected to start in August on the Civic Centre, in Maltravers Road, Littlehampton, the hunt for contractors to undertake the work has begun.
Nigel Croad, Arun’s resources director and deputy chief executive, said: “We are currently out to tender to award a contract to refurbish the public meeting and other rooms that form the Civic Centre civic suite.
“Once a contractor has been chosen in the next few weeks, we will be able to verify details of how much the work will cost.”
It is hoped the works will be finished in early 2015.
Areas which will be improved include the council chamber, public gallery and committee rooms, which are all regularly used by the public. The members’ room, chairman, council leader and opposition group leader offices, store room and toilets will also receive some attention.
Mr Croad said: “These are all original in design and almost 30 years old.
“Many of the fittings are at the end of their service life and a major overhaul and refurbishment is considered necessary to ensure that the civic suite remains suitable, sufficient and sustainable for the continued use by the council and the public for the next 20 years or more.”
A replacement electrical and lighting system has been designed to bring the provisions up to current standards.
The modern technology will also reduce energy consumption and future maintenance and operating costs. Improvements will mean the council chamber is capable of supporting webcasting technology, which will avoid them having to do it at a later date. The news about the improvement works was well received by members of Arun’s cabinet last week. The council’s member for planning, Ricky Bower, said: “Modern equipment is essential in this day and age. We need to act. If we put it off, we will never do it because of the costs involved, but it has to be done.” Cabinet member for corporate governance and deputy leader Dudley Wensley agreed: “It is never the right time to spend money, but as we know the facilities in this building are well past their sell-by-date. We need to ensure the centre is accessible to members of the public.”
The cabinet was told by the council’s head of finance and property, Alan Peach, the civic centre’s chamber had almost reached the end of its useful life. “There has been no major work in the last 30 years. In the camber we do have a number of issues, one of those is with sound quality and that will only get worse,” he said.
Mr Peach said it was essential the council moved quickly to get the work underway. He asked for the cabinet to give delegated powers to officers to progress the work, and they agreed.