New tenants sought for civic centre

SOUTH Gloucestershire Council says it is seeking new tenants for Kingswood Civic Centre following the announcement that health provider Sirona is to move out.

The centre, which was built in the 1970s and refurbished at a cost of £6 million in 2011, was at risk of closure in 2016 after more than 200 office staff were moved to the council’s new headquarters in Badminton Road, Yate.

It was saved after Sirona Care and Health took up a long-term tenancy. But now Sirona is moving its base to Badminton Road too. Since the pandemic, many staff at both organisations work flexibly, resulting in a reduced need for office space.

But a council spokesperson told the Voice this did not mean that the civic centre, which houses the council chamber, a One Stop Shop and the library, would be sold.

“Sirona moving into the Badminton Road office will help to meet the council’s target of £500,000 in income from making best use of our estate,” the spokesperson said.

“In recent years the council has successfully introduced more flexible ways of working for its staff, which means that space can be used in different ways to support the delivery of important services. This has in turn released office space and created the opportunity to generate income through leasing out parts of the building.

“We are in negotiations with another potential tenant to lease office space at Badminton Road and are also seeking tenants for the space at the Kingswood Civic Centre that will be available once Sirona relocate from there.

“Aligned to the new Council Plan, the estates strategy is being reviewed and this will include the vacated space at Kingswood Civic Centre.”

Announcing the plans, Sirona and the council said: “Both organisations, which already work closely together, look forward to further strengthening their working relationship. By moving some of its staff to Yate, Sirona will benefit from the use of modern office space and facilities, while the council will receive rent, which will help balance the budget at a time when the cost of delivering services continues to increase.”

Sirona is a Community Interest Company that provides community NHS services in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire. A spokesperson told the Voice that the growth of the organisation meant it needed a bigger organisational headquarters.

Sirona chief executive Sue Porto said: “Moving to Badminton Road is a key step in ensuring our organisation is optimised for the post-pandemic world where hybrid working still requires locations for our staff to meet and collaborate in the same space.

“This move will also help grow our already strong partnership working with South Gloucestershire Council.”
The move is likely to happen towards the end of the year, once IT and other services are in place for Sirona at Badminton Road.