ANDOVER town council is set to move into a new office within Incuhive co-working space later this year.

The authority has been looking at options to save money on office space when its current lease in Black Swan Yard expires in September.

In January, members voted in favour of the option of serviced offices in the town centre, as opposed to taking a unit on the outskirts of town. They asked officers to look into this and return a final costing and timeline to the council.

At its full council meeting last month, members were presented with the option of a room within Incuhive - a co-working space above the Chantry Centre which opened in summer 2021.

READ MORE: Andover Town Council considers options for new office

The total cost per month would be £1,797.68, plus additional money needed for storage and moving costs, and to purchase necessary furniture.

Members were asked to consider a recommendation which would see officers given the power to give notice on the current lease, start a new lease at Incuhive from April, and pick the “best value” quotes for storage and delivery once the exact needs have been assessed.

Despite general consensus that this was a step in the right direction, the plan was not liked by all.

Cllr David Coole said: “If the council can justify having offices at all, then I would say this option is a sensible one. But how can the council honestly justify any office?” Given the responsibilities are limited to planning comments, allotments, Christmas lights, I think we will struggle to justify the massive payroll, so I fail to see how we can further justify expense on offices. In the town clerk’s own opinion, officers have worked successfully from home.”

He added that, given the “shift work” carried out by officers, and the fact that some staff members are part time, a smaller space than the one proposed to house five desks, could be considered.

He called it a “waste of tax payers money” and was interrupted by meeting chair, deputy mayor Cllr Robin Hughes, who said he didn’t want Cllr Coole to “be rehashing history”.

Cllr Hughes added: “The council has made a decision to take the new offices in the Chantry Centre. What you are doing is going over history. If you have nothing new to add, can I ask you not to add anything else.”

READ MORE: ATC votes to stay in town centre amidst new office decision

Cllr Gregori suggested an amendment to the recommendation, so that the powers for removal and storage costs be left out and brought back to council when final figueres are available. However, this was not seconded.

Members then voted on the recommendation in full, and it passed with nine in favour, three against and one abstention.

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