8 April 2022
The Marmion House site will be marketed for sale in the coming months, while Tamworth Borough Council continues to explore options for a new home, as part of ongoing plans to ensure the authority remains fit for the future.
Members of Tamworth Borough Council’s Cabinet have this week approved further proposals in the ‘Recovery and Reset’ programme which is designed to tackle a number of financial challenges facing the council in the coming years, while protecting vital services for the most vulnerable members of the community.
Several feasibility studies and soft market testing have indicated that the most viable future use of the Marmion House site is likely to be residential development. A prospectus will be prepared ready for it to be marketed for sale in the summer, providing new opportunities for regeneration of the area alongside wider town centre investment.
In the meantime, a full options appraisal has been carried out based on the council’s requirements for a new town centre location for an initial period of up to five years while the longer-term position is considered. Several premises were assessed in detail and a primary site of interest has been identified at Spinning School Lane.
Further surveys, studies and financial assessments will now take place to explore the suitability of the building in Spinning School Lane, formerly used as a bingo hall, as the new, smaller home of Tamworth Borough Council, incorporating office space and the front reception service.
This is already a council-owned building and exploring how it can be used to support the Gungate regeneration, while at the same time using it as a potential base, could save money on short term rental costs.
However, a final decision will be taken on this in the coming months, pending the outcome of building and design surveys. The council will continue to assess other options and monitor the market for new opportunities in the meantime.
Moving away from Marmion House in favour of smaller, more cost-effective premises is a key aspect of the Recovery & Reset programme. The building is no longer fit for purpose and previous stock surveys have shown it will cost £2m-£3.5m of capital investment alone over the next five years, in addition to ongoing maintenance costs.
The building has been significantly underused in recent years, and this has been exacerbated by the pandemic, which has seen the majority of Tamworth Borough Council’s office-based staff successfully move to home-based working.
At the meeting this week, Cabinet also approved the continuation of face-to-face signposting services at Tamworth Information Centre, in Tamworth Assembly Rooms, for any residents who need in-person support in the meantime.
Responding to recommendations from a council scrutiny committee, members of Cabinet agreed this location will be kept under review as provision of a town centre location remains a commitment. Private appointments are already available as needed and the council remains committed to tailoring services to ensure full access for all customers.
While digital access to the council’s services has increased exponentially since the pandemic, the signposting service is there for the most vulnerable members of the community who need that additional help in person.
At the same time, the council is continuing to develop a vulnerability plan in conjunction with the voluntary sector, to ensure services are accessible to, and meet the needs of, vulnerable citizens.
Cabinet also approved the signing of the Staffordshire Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise Pledge, which is a public commitment of the council’s ongoing work in collaboration with the local voluntary sector.
A variety of plans were approved by Full Council last summer as part of the Recovery and Reset programme. These can be found online at www.tamworth.gov.uk/recovery-and-reset, together with all the background and FAQs for the project.
As well as decommissioning Marmion House and relocating to a new town centre location, it was decided that Tamworth Town Hall will become the new municipal headquarters of the council, where council meetings will be held. Work is continuing to progress these plans and carry out the required improvements needed on the building’s technical capabilities.