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Council unable to give guarantee on staff moves

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: December 04, 2013

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CORNWALL Council has failed to give a cast iron guarantee that its staff working in Liskeard will not be moved to a new complex in Bodmin.

The council's Cabinet gave a new £15 million office complex in Bodmin the go-ahead last week.

The decision is part of plans to rationalise office space in the county, with many of Bodmin's staff who are currently based at other locations in the town scheduled to move to the new build.

It is understood that a small number of people currently working at Luxstowe House, Liskeard, and Penwinnick Road, St Austell, will also move to the site. But the council said it was unable to guarantee that more staff from across the region wouldn't be moved to Bodmin.

Alex Folkes, Cabinet member for finance, said this was because BT Cornwall – who it is hoped will share the new Bodmin office with the town's council staff – hadn't yet signed a deal with the council.

He said that there would be an "active review" of the situation with BT Cornwall and he hoped a deal would be completed "as soon as possible".

"We are moving ahead with building the bigger Bodmin office but it is important that is filled. A new office building sat half-empty will not save us any money.

"If BT Cornwall doesn't take up the option to move into the new office complex in Bodmin then we have to look at other options. This includes working with our other partners and those in the private sector. If those options aren't possible, then we have to look at our own staff.

"The most cost-effective option for us would be to move staff from St Austell to the new [Bodmin] office, but it is our fourth or fifth preference."

He said it was important that they did not "pull out of Cornwall completely" and kept a presence in major towns across the county.

"This decision is good news for Bodmin and it is good news for St Austell and Liskeard."

Liskeard mayor Sue Pike said she was hopeful that staff in Liskeard would remain in the town.

"There is a lack of high-paid jobs in Liskeard and it would be appalling if we lose them," she said.

The decision to build the complex in Bodmin was attacked by Conservative members of Cornwall Council.

Truro Trehaverne member Fiona Ferguson criticised the council for spending £15 million to build its own offices while slashing its budget.

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