EMPTY space is being rented at Wyre Forest House in a bid to raise council income but critics say it shows the new offices are too big.
Stoke-on-Trent College has rented a room at Wyre Forest District Council’s £10 million headquarters, Finepoint Way, as part of a plan to raise money on spare office space.
It is moving in early this month and a lease agreement has been signed for it to occupy the room for a year to use as a base in the Wyre Forest area. A council spokeswoman told The Shuttle the new tenant did not want to reveal the rental costs.
Wyre Forest UK Independence Party (UKIP) parliamentary spokesman Michael Wrench, who organised a petition opposing the building before it opened, said had council leaders listened they “would not be in this mess”.
Independent Community and Health Concern leader Graham Ballinger added it was “clear before the contracts were signed” the offices would be too big.
Conservative councillor Marcus Hart, who was the district council’s acting leader before last night’s vote for John Campion’s successor, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be welcoming Stoke-on-Trent College. We are proud of the facilities we have here and hope they settle into their new base.”
The council says the move will bring funding into the area and college staff would be working with the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership and representatives of different industry sectors to encourage economic growth. It will also work with members of the North Worcestershire Economic Development and Regeneration team, who are based in the building.
Heather Sheldon, project manager at the college, said: “We are looking forward to moving into Wyre Forest House. We were extremely impressed with the facilities, location and the welcoming feeling from all the staff.
Council leaders announced last November, when presenting the administration’s 2014/15 budget proposals, it would look to raise council income by renting out some of the rooms currently unoccupied at Wyre Forest House.
Mr Wrench, however, said: “More than 3,500 people signed a petition saying it was a waste of money, in the wrong place and a mismanagement of public funds and now they have a building that is too big for them.”