01:00PM, Friday 02 November 2018
More than £41m was spent by Slough Borough Council on its new town centre headquarters, which it is due to move into in May.
The council completed the purchase of the freehold of 25 Windsor Road from Observatory House (Jersey) Ltd in July but could not initially disclose how much the six-storey building cost due to contractual reasons.
The Express can now reveal that the agreed acquisition cost was £39m, plus stamp duty of £1,939,500 and a purchaser’s fee of £391,000.
The council says the total net cost of acquiring the building, on the corner of Herschel Street, was £41,333,500.
The purchase will be financed through borrowing, via the Public Works Loans Board, and the sale of ‘surplus non-operational assets’, which the council expects will generate about £10m and provide housing land. The amount of borrowing has not been revealed.
It argues the creation of additional housing will produce a higher New Homes Bonus grant from central government, additional council tax receipts and lower costs on tackling homelessness.
The council expects 67 affordable housing units to fill its current headquarters at St Martin’s Place, Bath Road and says this will save the authority £600,000 a year.
Annual rental and lease costs and business rates will be less for 25 Windsor Road and revenue will be generated by letting out two floors to businesses, it added.
The council expects its purchase to become cost neutral within three years.
The costs do not include money spent on work by construction firms Kier and Bouygues, energy company Ameresco and service providers Avarto.
Bouygues has started fitting out the office while Kier has been contracted to rectify defects.
Conservative Group leader Cllr Wayne Strutton (Haymill and Lynch Hill) said: “How much is it really costing? When we bought it we were told it was a fit for purpose building but there now appears to be a whole raft of additional work.
“They are saying there’s a lot of snagging issues. Potentially it has value for money and is a good investment but is it going to deliver the services and functionality that we require without huge additional costs?”
Council leader Cllr James Swindlehurst (Lab, Cippenham Green) said SBC’s due diligence uncovered the snagging items and the previous owner is covering the costs of remedial works.