Castlewood staff in soon

THE first wave of staff will move into North Somerset Council’s new Castlewood offices at the end of this month.

THE first wave of staff will move into North Somerset Council’s new Castlewood offices at the end of this month.

About 150 employees will be the first to move from satellite offices spread around the district into the council’s new Clevedon hub, which was bought last year at a cost of �12.6million.

Over the past few months, work has been carried out on the building’s interior to make it suitable for its new use and the first staff will move in over the weekend beginning on October 29.

For those already living in the north of North Somerset the move should not cause too much disruption. However, those staff currently working in Weston will need to organise additional travel arrangements.

To help those who will have to travel further to get to their new place of work, North Somerset Council will run a shuttle bus service from Yatton train station.

The service will be operated on a three-month trial basis by a local bus company.

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A small charge will be made to those using it and North Somerset Council will subsidise the operator until the number of people using it increases as more staff move into Castlewood.

As well as taking staff to and from Castlewood in Tickenham Road, it is also hoped the shuttle service could provide a link to the existing business parks in Kenn and also the shops in Clevedon’s town centre during lunchtimes, possibly appeasing claims that the move would be unlikely to benefit traders in Clevedon.

North Somerset Council’s executive member for asset management Carl Francis-Pester said: “It makes the move a little bit easier for staff who face transport issues and hopefully this completes the transport link.”

The deal to buy Castlewood was confirmed in March and North Somerset Council hopes the move will provide annual savings of �64,000 over 25 years.

Once staff are moved out of the council’s satellite offices, these will then be sold to recoup costs. Attracting tenants to use some of the office space could also raise up to �125,000 in the first year.

One such tenant could be the district’s health organisation, NHS North Somerset, which currently has three offices in Clevedon.

However, discussions are still ongoing between the two authorities and nothing has yet been confirmed.