Epping District Council’s offices are being transformed into a new community hub.

The Civic Offices in High Street, built in the 1980s, are being ‘radically altered’ to offer office and meeting spaces available to the council, public organisations and businesses.

The project will clear the way for the conversion of the council’s older Condor Building into housing – one of five sites across Epping being developed by council owned development company, Qualis.

After a personal tour of the site, council leader Chris Whitbread said: “The internal transformation is amazing. ISG has removed most of the interior office walls and corridors. You can feel the sense of space as the building is opened up. Gone are the small offices with their artificial barriers to communication. In are new collaborative work-spaces designed to make the most of the talents of our staff and deliver the best possible services to our residents.

“New ways of working brought in before coronavirus have stood the council in good stead during the pandemic. Many staff will continue to work from home after the building work is completed, reducing the costs both for local council tax payers and the environment.”

He added: “We made these plans to reduce our office footprint before anyone heard of coronavirus, but the technological investment in remote working for our staff has paid huge dividends.

“There is also a huge environmental benefit from the reduction in our carbon footprint. We’ve cut our carbon emissions with fewer car journeys, as well as improving the work-life balance of many staff no longer entering the daily commute on congested roads.”

The top floor of the Civic Offices will be set aside for private businesses to rent while new meeting spaces will be created on the ground floor accessible to groups and societies.

The council hopes Epping Library will relocate from its old building to the new offices.

Cllr Whitbread said: “The traditional city centre business districts are changing. People don’t want a return to the long London commute. The emphasis is moving out of London to small, convenient and local office spaces.

“The Civic Offices will provide a base for new and established businesses to prosper and grow, with the rental income helping to support public services to our residents.

“It was fascinating to see the building stripped back to its bare bones. We look forward to the new community hub to emerge, heralding a new era for Epping Forest.”

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