Joint investment in South Staffordshire’s headquarters enabling co-location of local services and specialist teams across the public, health, private and voluntary sectors.
Partnership: Staffordshire OPE Steering Group
Region: North West & West Midlands
South Staffordshire council has a stated aim of becoming financially self-sufficient and stable with an annual balanced budget of £12.4 million.
The challenge is to reduce running costs and maximise income from the council’s headquarters, whilst improving services for the community. The Codsall Community Hub project is key to meeting this objective through the consolidation of services based on local need.
In 2018, South Staffordshire council secured £125,000 One Public Estate (OPE) funding to complete an outline business case, aiming to: integrate service delivery, increase tenanted space, reduce running costs of the existing council headquarters, and lower their carbon footprint.
The aging council building was assessed to need investment of £4m over a ten-year period. In taking an entrepreneurial approach to this challenge, the council is turning a financial liability into a cost neutral project.
Work includes refurbishment and extension of the existing building and car park to create a modem environment and improving the building’s connection with the local residents. Financial neutrality will be achieved by subletting space within the Hub to community-based organisations from the public, private and voluntary sectors. It will also secure the Council building’s future.
Provision has been made for a new GP Surgery taking the opportunity to combine three NHS Trust buildings into one and co-locating staff. Local policing teams will integrate into the new office space, putting them at the heart of the community, along with specialist council, NHS and voluntary sector teams. This will enable further estate rationalisation across the different services. When finished the Codsall Community Hub will see over 20 different organisations on site, growing from just a handful only three years ago.
In addition to this, working in partnership with the NHS, the council is investing in the new GP surgery, creating a tri-party agreement between the GP practice, council, and CCG. Recent community consultation shows 84% of residents are in favour of the move, a real win for a much-needed provision in the local community.
A new surgery that will allow us to expand and see patients in a modern purpose-built space. Our current building was never designed as a practice and we have no patient parking. Going forward, the move will be of great benefit to all our patients, access will be improved, and we look forward to becoming a training practice and increasing our service.”
Pat Roberts - Patient Participation Chair at Russell House Primary Care Practice
The building will become a true community space:
- the existing library will move into a new space at the front of the building;
- there will be a new café and retail unit, set in an open plan atrium,
- and a new Changes Places facility will be installed, enhancing accessibility for visitors to the Library, Café, and GP surgery.
Over the next ten years, the new Codsall Community Hub will generate income of £5.7m plus £1.3m in capital receipts, releasing land for the development of 25 homes and creating 256 jobs.
The Hub is a Best Practise exemplar for the council's 2021 Climate Change, Strategic Development Framework, showcasing how old buildings can be repurposed to reduce environmental impact. This includes installing electrical vehicle technology, automatic lighting, battery storage, heating and cooling systems using recycled materials and an increase in the number of ecological habitats around the site.
As a final outcome, the council will have a modern and financially efficient building enabling the integrated delivery of services to local residents.