Woking to be Surrey’s civic heart

WOKING has at last succeeded in attracting the county council’s headquarters to the town, Guilford having lost out in its aspiration to be Surrey’s administrative centre.

The two towns have been vying for nearly 50 years to lure Surrey County Council away from its base at Kingston, which became part of Greater London in 1965 and is therefore outside the county boundary.

A rear view of Midas House, which has an underground car park with spaces for around 160 spaces

The council has decided to move its HQ back into the “heart of the county”, to an office block in Goldsworth Road, Woking.

The council is buying Midas House from Woking Borough Council, which purchased the building in February this year for £23.4m. The authority owns several other office blocks in the town centre, including the Export House tower and Dukes Court, as part of its policy of safeguarding office accommodation

Colin Kemp (left) and Saj Hussain, who are both members of Woking borough and Surrey county councils, welcome County Hall moving to Midas House

County council leader Tim Oliver said staff will begin to move out of Kingston in phases from spring 2020. It is understood the council will be taking over vacant space on three floors of Midas House, which can accommodate up to 1,500 people.

Cllr Oliver said: “Aside from the fact that the new civic heart will now actually be inside the county of Surrey, which has been our long-held ambition, the real driver has been the desire to place services right at the heart of the population we are here to serve.

“A new modern facility in Woking will help us achieve not only those objectives but will also help to position us as a leading council fit for the future.”

The council chamber, the senior leadership team and staff representing all the council’s functions and services will be based at Midas House. Other teams will be relocated to council offices in Leatherhead, Guildford and Reigate.

For the full story get the 7 November edition of the News & Mail

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