The Highland Council’s Redesign Board is set to consider revenue savings of £370,000 for Inverness Town House when they meet on Monday 28 November.
The savings would contribute to an overall target £1M revenue savings as part of the Council’s Asset Management plan.
Subject to full Council approval, £370K savings have been proposed as part of the Asset Management overall project to redesign and reduce the Council’s office footprint.
The aim is to make operational cost savings, whilst reducing the Council’s carbon footprint and transition to a carbon neutral organisation by 2040.
The Redesign Board’s recommendation will go to the full Council meeting on Thursday 8 December 2022 for approval in line with the current Scheme of Delegation, which means that all properties under review, with Common Good interest, of which Inverness Town House is one, must go to the full Council.
It is proposed that from 1 April 2023, the savings would be achieved by ceasing payment to the Inverness Common Good Fund for use of the Town House for office space and parking, together with savings on utilities and maintenance costs for the site.
Redesign Board Chair, Cllr Bill Lobban said:
“Prudent financial decisions play a critical role in ensuring that we meet the ambitious revenue savings targets by reducing our office footprint across numerous Council buildings.
“The Redesign Board considered this review of our considerable assets and have worked together to produce this important piece of work which will greatly reduce our overhead costs, reduce our energy consumption and contribute to climate change targets while allowing this iconic civic building to be better utilised.”
Housing and Property Committee Chair and Provost of Inverness, Cllr Glynis Sinclair said:
“Inverness Town House has recently undergone a £7.4M renovation which has brought it back to its former glory.
“The investment helped to secure the heritage of the Town House for generations to come.
“This beautifully restored building offers new opportunities for the Common Good Fund to maximise its cultural importance in the heart of the city of Inverness in the form of tours, weddings and other events which mean the public and tourists can enjoy this remarkable historic building.”
The Council has introduced the hybrid working model since the pandemic.
Inverness Town House currently accommodates approximately 100 members of Council staff who will be relocated to more suitable office space at Inverness Headquarters.
The Inverness Town House is an important venue for civic functions and hosts up to 300 events each year (ranging from public meetings, to dinners, weddings and roadshow events).
These civic events generate a small profit for the Inverness Common Good Fund.
Tours of the Town House have already been running successfully since 2018.
Members will also consider whether to recommend a feasibility study to be commissioned for the longer-term use of the Inverness Town House to ensure the site is sustained beyond any transition to being a carbon neutral organisation by 2040.
The proposal does not mean any change to the current Service Point which will continue to operate from the Inverness Town House.
The full report can be accessed here