PLANS have moved forward to create a public services hub on the site of Ryedale House.

Ryedale District Council’s (RDC) policy and resources committee voted last Thursday to proceed with detailed designs for the hub, which will house the job centre and possibly North Yorkshire Police, at the council’s current head office in Malton.

The council will access up to £70,000 of funding from the Cabinet Office’s One Public Estate fund to support the work, which will include a scoping exercise to decide whether to refurbish the existing building or create a new, purpose-built structure on the site.

RDC had previously considered a public services hub in Wentworth Street car park, but the initial designs were deemed not fit for purpose.

This new brief will be to create a modern facility to house a number of different public services, including the council, on the present site in Old Malton Road.

If the new plans are accepted, the council could seek planning permission in a year’s time, with a view to starting the necessary works at the end of 2021.

Ryedale House was opened in 1974 when the then new authority was established and was later formally opened by the late Princess Margaret.

While the ambition for an improved building takes shape, RDC is already drawing public sector organisations together in the existing Ryedale House building, to improve collaboration and reduce the number of journeys members of the public need to make to access key services.

Plans to move JobCentre Plus into Ryedale House have already been approved, with staff expected to relocate from their current building in Norton Road in March.

Meanwhile, a decision on whether North Yorkshire Police should also rent space is to be made at a meeting of the full council next week.

Cllr Keane Duncan, leader of RDC, said: “The idea of a public services hub has been under discussion for some time, but our latest decision is a significant step forward and at no direct cost to the authority.

“By locating services together there is a big opportunity to improve customer service, cut running costs and free up space.”

Cllr Keane added: “I am hopeful that this new set of plans will give us a facility that will work better for the public, and be more efficient for the public sector.”