One public question had been received from Mr Southwell as follows:
Why have a Review for a Building which is about to be completed in approximately four months which was intended to be the Headquarters of Durham County Council when it is fit for purpose, when a Planning Report on the 5th March 2019, indicated 99.74% of Residents had no objections?
Councillor A Hopgood, Leader of the Council, thanked Mr Southwell for his question and responded as follows:
As set out in the Cabinet report we considered on 29 September, Cabinet asked for a review of the options for the new building to be undertaken and we have now considered the initial outcomes of that review. Specifically, in relation to the planning report that you refer to, paragraph 131 of that report sets out that the total number of representations received was 964, of which 956 were in objection and 8 were in support. So in summary, 99.2% of those responding were opposed to the planning application.
As a new administration taking control of the council at an unprecedented time, with coronavirus having huge impacts on individuals and how people work, and also given the scale of investment in the new building, we feel it is right and appropriate to undertake the review to carefully consider the options that are available for its future use.
I can assure Mr Southwell that we will ensure that any future decisions we take in relation to the building represent value for money and are in the public interest.