Option to sell Chichester council offices to be rejected
Converting Chichester District Council's offices into a nursing home, hotel, or residential units were some of the ideas explored during an options appraisal of the site.
A piece of work has looked into whether East Pallant House could be used in a more economical way or if the buildings could be sold, with the council finding another home.
Following the appraisal it will still be used as the council’s primary office accommodation, but future options will be explored to reduce operating costs and generate income.
The north wing is already leased on a commercial basis and officers have concluded that more office space can be freed up to lease out to partners, voluntary sector organisations or businesses.
The option to sell all or part of East Pallant House and move to another location is set to be rejected when cabinet members meet next Tuesday (February 6).
Consultants estimated the sale value at £3.4m for office space and £3.7m for residential, but to satisfy planning policy it would have had to be marketed for commercial purposes for two years.
Other types of use were explored with consultants including turning it into a hotel or nursing home.
Meanwhile discussions were held with West Sussex County Council about the city centre’s Northleigh House, alongside sharing its council chamber for committee meetings.
According to officers: “From an investor or developer perspective EPH would provide a rare and untested opportunity for Chichester and consultants anticipate there would be high levels of interest and the property could achieve a figure in excess of those reported, particularly if there was a competitive situation, although it is likely that any bids for alternative uses would be conditional on obtaining a successful planning consent.
“The only way to fully test the market and obtain an accurate capital appraisal would be to speculatively market the site.”