'Save money and use what's being paid for' - 16 things you said about Sunderland City Council HQ move

Families in Sunderland have called on the council to move their headquarters to an existing building instead of setting up at the city's Vaux site.

Tuesday, 23rd October 2018, 2:42 pm
Updated Wednesday, 24th October 2018, 6:12 am
Sunderland City Council leader Graeme Miller, alongside Sunderland Civic Centre and the Vaux site.

As previously reported, council bosses have backed proposals to move the authority's HQ to the site, in a bid to replace the current civic centre with a smaller, more cost-effective base.

Sunderland Civic Centre, in Burdon Road, was built in the 1970s - but maintenance costs at the building are rising, and the size of it is "no longer appropriate" to house the council.

The Civic Centre, Burdon Road.

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Speaking at the time the plans were revealed, council leader Graeme Miller said: "Building a new civic centre on the Vaux site would help lead the regeneration of the city centre, which is a priority for the council, by signalling to other developers that Sunderland is a good place to invest.

"It would also free up land for a mixed residential development to be built on the site of the current civic centre, helping generate additional footfall in the city centre."

Coun Miller also told the Echo that the building "just isn't fit for purpose" - and that the plans would allow the authority to modernise the way they work.

What would you like to see on the Vaux site?

Cabinet members backed the scheme last week, but it has been criticised by both Conservative and Liberal Democrat councillors, with some calling on an already-existing unused building to be chosen for the new base instead.

Dozens of you have been reacting to the story on social media, sharing ideas for where you think the council should set up shop if and when they move from the civic centre site.

Here are some of your suggestions from the Sunderland Echo Facebook page:

Chris Parry: "Most of your services are now done online or by phone and you don’t need a new building to modernise the way they work. There are plenty of other empty buildings which can be renovated to accommodate council offices. You haven’t got £80m, hence the planned rise in council tax next year!"

Darren Waddle: "There are plenty of empty buildings they could use that would cost less money."

Brian Watson: "Move the headquarters to the Edward Thompson site at Hendon, leave the Vaux site as it is, we are used to it looking as it does after so long."

Shirley McQuillan: "The second floor of Binns is empty since they moved the library back into the museum building, save money use what's being paid for!"

Alison Mason: "Another ridiculous idea from this Labour council. Yet another waste of taxpayers' money."

Craig Thompson: "Plenty of empty buildings need filling, use any one of them."

John Stoker: "Doxford Park, empty offices there."

Scott Metcalfe: "Plenty of empty offices in city or even in all the business parks."

Alan Wright: "They want something, anything on the Vaux site. The longer it is a wilderness the greater the embarrassment to them."

Eileen Joyce: "They should’ve put a vote to the public asking if they should build a new council building or should they be forced to use one of the many empty but adequate buildings in the town."

Steve Brennan: "Instead of looking backwards (as this town always does) why not look forwards and build a fully eco-friendly, forward-thinking building?"

Susan Tye: "I have visited South Shields Town Hall in the past and what a magnificent building it is and the way it is looked after speaks for itself, the people must be really proud to have it still standing, but the people of Sunderland can only say 'if only'."

Susan Ophield: "Why not build some accommodation for the homeless there's nothing wrong with the civic centre, it's a work building not a home, spend money where it's needed on the vulnerable."

Michael Norman: "It would look ridiculously out of place on the Vaux site, they should stay were they are and spend the money on the needy of Sunderland."

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Robert Kitching: "Use the old library, council already own it and won't cost a fortune. Problem solved."

Chris Barron: "Copy the beautiful town hall from South Shields with the offices at the back overlooking the Wear."