Workers building new council headquarters test positive for Covid-19 - but construction continues

Five builders helping to construct a council’s new city centre headquarters have tested positive for coronavirus.

Kier Group, which is building the new £50million base for Durham County Council on the Sands car park in Durham, has also confirmed a further three of its staff are self-isolating after they were identified as having contact with colleagues who were found to have Covid-19.

The firm has said it is taking every step to prevent any further spread of the illness, with resources available to help continue with the project within the company, which means there have been no hold-ups on the site.

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An artist's impression of how the new Durham County Council HQ will look once complete.An artist's impression of how the new Durham County Council HQ will look once complete.
An artist's impression of how the new Durham County Council HQ will look once complete.
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A Kier spokesperson said: “Following a small number of site employees testing positive for Covid-19, we undertook all necessary measures to prevent further potential spread, this has included a deep clean of the site, notifying Public Health England and actioning a track and trace list of people who may have come into contact with those that have tested positive – all of whom are now self-isolating.

"The site has remained operational throughout and continues to operate under the Site Operating Procedures which are in line with the Government guidance.”

Work began on the site, on the banks of the River Wear and close to the HM Passport Office and opposite the Radisson Blu hotel, in August last year.

The competition of the new building will see the council move to a “smaller, more affordable" modern headquarters to allow the land at Aykley Heads, where County Hall is currently located, to be used to create 6,000 new jobs and bring a £400 million boost to the county.

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As work began on the new site, the council said 250 new jobs would be created by Kier, including apprentices as well as people who were at that point unemployed, with the project also supporting local and regional suppliers and contractors.

The authority has said its move into the city centre would also boost trade among businesses nearby.

The county is not along areas added to a Government watchlist, run by Public Health England, due to the rise of coronavirus cases across the region.

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