BRINGING Ryedale District Council’s dilapidated offices in Old Malton up to compliant health and safety standards would cost at least £1.7 million before 2021, a financial assessment has revealed.

The council has undertaken the assessment as it continues to explore options of where it will be based in the future.

This has included the possibility of building new offices - either on the Ryedale House site or in Wentworth Street - maintaining or remodelling the current building.

The proposal is that the council will share this “public service hub” with possible partners such as North Yorkshire County Council, the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) and the police.

Construction of a new build is estimated at a minimum of £4m, while keeping the current building with “significant remodelling” could be as much as £5m.

Basic maintenance, plus some building fabric improvements, is estimated at £2.5m.

In a meeting of the council’s policy and resources committee on Thursday, council leader and committee chairman Cllr Keane Duncan told members: “This will be one of the biggest projects we’ll do in this term.”

The pre-existing plans for a public service hub at Wentworth Street - which go back several years - would create a building of 1,600 square metres, while the current structure is 3,300 square metres.

Cllr Duncan said he had been taken on a tour of the building recently. “There are significant sections of this building that are unused,” he said.

Discussions focused on the location and size of the potential hub, which agencies would use it, and the energy efficiency standards to which it should be built.

Most of the options would see the council remain at its current site, but the Wentworth Street plans are still on the table. Cllr Lindsay Burr said that it had to be on the current site in Old Malton. “To shoe-horn a new building into Wentworth Street is absolutely the wrong thing to do,” she said, citing the potential for increased traffic in the centre of Malton this might create.

Ultimately, members decided to focus on gathering more information on the Ryedale House site, with a focus on seven key areas.

These included determining the space required by Ryedale District Council for staff and members, establishing which partner organisations wish to join the public service hub, the space they require and their financial contributions, assessing demand for private sector office space, looking at future uses of the site under both scenarios, the relationship to other council-owned assets and the intentions of the businesses that neighbour the council in Old Malton, and running a full comparison of both the financial and environmental costs of each option.