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Building at Kent County Council headquarters in Maidstone branded a firetrap

An elected official says he cannot wait for the day Kent County Council leaves its headquarters in Maidstone.

The authority is to continue its review into its office portfolio "in particular as staff embrace and utilise new technology, mobility is increasing and the way we work is changing across the council's staff base".

The number of the council's office buildings has fallen from 27 to 14 since 2012, bringing about annual revenue savings of £4.5 million and further "benefits" of £20.4m.

Kent County Council HQ
Kent County Council HQ

Sessions House - KCC’s Grade-II listed head office in Maidstone which houses 1,100 staff and the political chamber - has been excluded from previous reviews, but will now be looked at as part of the programme.

Cllr Harry Rayner (Con) said: "I look forward to the earliest possible date, with reasonable expense, we can get the county council out of this building.

"I can honestly say this is the worst office building I have worked in - with the possible exception of a really rough office I worked in on the quayside of Constanta in the days when Ceausescu had control of Romania.

"Or (maybe) a really rough Chinese portacabin on the quayside up the river from Shanghai.

"This place is absolutely grim. It doesn't work well – to me it's a firetrap from beginning to end.

"The earliest we can get shot of it, the better as far as I'm concerned."

Detailed council papers - as well as the main debate on the matter which took place yesterday (November 20) - were exempt from public scrutiny.

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