Willmott Dixon’s £8.4 million refurbishment of Weston-super-Mare’s Town Hall aims to save North Somerset Council £700,000 in running costs.

The project is a key element of the council’s office amalgamation programme which involves moving from 18 buildings to two cost-efficient ‘hubs’ where staff can work in modern, flexible surroundings alongside NHS and other council partners .

Transforming the Town Hall and creating a second ‘hub’ in the north of the town will lead to the substantial annual saving of tax payers’ money owing to the two building’s lower energy costs, coupled with revenue generated by disposals of redundant properties and savings on leases and maintenance.

Town Hall makeover

Working closely with North Somerset Council to minimise service disruption, Willmott Dixon transformed the upper floors of the 1970s-built Town Hall to create an open-plan office space for around 950 people, increasing capacity by 50%.

The ground floor was also redeveloped into a spacious new public facility, opening in October, which will provide easy access to many of the council’s services including the town’s relocated central library, which will have dedicated children’s and young people’s zones and a larger local studies area.

The new facility will also feature the first Changing Places facility in North Somerset providing disabled people and their carers with improved toilet facilities.

In addition to maximising the space, Willmott Dixon low energy experts from Re-Thinking helped to drastically improve energy efficiency through a combination of measures, including adding photovoltaic panels on the roof, to increase the building’s EPC ratings from E to A and reduce carbon emissions by 61%. A BRE airtightness test also found that it had exceeded the airtightness target of 5.0m³/h/m² at 50 Pa with an overall air permeability of just 3.05m³/h/m² at 50 Pa.

Neal Stephens, managing director at Willmott Dixon in the South West, said: “This has not only transformed the Town Hall for the benefit of council staff and service users, it has also enabled us to make a significant contribution to lowering North Somerset council’s energy usage and on-going energy and maintenance costs. This will save millions of pounds for the council over the coming years.

“While conducting the work we were also able to offer the community opportunities to get involved in the progress. We hosted school visits and education talks for local school children, while also creating several on-site positions for local unemployed people. We want to make a real contribution to the communities surrounding the sites where we work and we hope that this investment will help add real community benefits.”

North Somerset Council Leader Cllr Nigel Ashton said: “The transformation of our Town Hall is one of a number of projects Willmott Dixon has worked on in partnership with the council helping us to achieve our vision and provide value for money. As with other projects, Willmott Dixon delivered the Town Hall on time and on budget and worked seamlessly with our Property and Asset Management team. We have been impressed by their professionalism and commitments to help us provide an excellent cost-efficient public facility that, as part of our office amalgamation programme, will help us save over £700,000 by 2015.”