The backlog of repairs required at the county council’s historic headquarters is thought to be “extensive” but the authority cannot say what the cost could be.
In a meeting of the council’s improvement and scrutiny committee this month, Cllr Angelique Foster, Conservative cabinet member for council services, stated that the backlog of repairs was “extensive” and “stretched back many years”.
In 2014, former council leader Cllr Anne Western, Labour, stated that the premises in Bank Street cost the authority £2 million each year to maintain and that offers to purchase the site, and move the council HQ to another site would be considered and were actively being sought.
This month, a spokesman for Derbyshire County Council said: “We’re currently assessing the condition of County Hall in Matlock.
“We know there is a backlog of repairs, which isn’t surprising given the age and size of the building. “When the assessment is done we will set out a programme of repair and maintenance work.
“Until we have finished this work we won’t be able to provide more details or put a cost on it.”
The current base of the county council was built in 1885 and began life as a hydropathic centre under the management of John Smedley – as a Victorian spa – before it closed and the authority bought the building in the 1950s.
Speaking this week, Cllr Western said: “The building is a massive drain on the council’s finances, it is a historic building and is not fit for purpose – it is not a flexible space and is expensive to heat.”
By Eddie Bisknell – Local Democracy Reporter