£12m price-tag revealed for council’s civic centre office

The final account for Harrogate Borough Council’s civic centre office has been revealed today – 31 March – five years after the building’s construction was completed.

As a result of unspent contingency and damages levied, the total overall cost of design, construction and fit-out was £12.53m.

Confirmation of this final figure was delayed after the parent company of the contractor responsible for building the property went into administration.

In 2015, the borough council decided to consolidate its office accommodation and customer-facing operations into a single modern, energy-efficient building.

The civic centre was completed in 2017 and became the main administrative base for the council in December of that year.

Following completion, a period of minor defect rectification and contract negotiations took place with the main contractor to agree on a final account settlement for the building works.

However, the construction contractor’s parent company – Harry Fairclough Ltd – fell into administration, so the council says it had to work with the appointed liquidators to agree on a settlement. These discussions have concluded with a final account for the construction of the building now agreed upon.

Harrogate Borough Council says the sale of three of its buildings also resulted in an income of £6.9m. Crescent Gardens achieved a sale price of £4m, Victoria Park House went for £1m and Scottsdale House was bought for £1.9m.

The council notes that when the proceeds of those sales are taken into account, the net cost of the civic centre project is reduced to £5.63m, less than the original business case.

Operating a modern building has also enabled the council to make further annual operational savings of almost £1m.

Councillor Richard Cooper, leader of the council, said: “The civic centre is a fantastic modern and energy-efficient building that has served Harrogate Borough Council – and its residents – incredibly well over the past five years.

“Despite it taking some time to agree on the final account as a result of the construction contractor going into administration, I am delighted the project has come in well under budget.

“The savings it has enabled us to make amount to around a million pounds a year which means we could protect frontline services, and improve them too.

“The building will continue to be used by North Yorkshire Council moving forward just as we said it would be should local government be reorganised.”