Rocky start for Nottinghamshire County Council's multi-million-pound HQ build

The Nottinghamshire County Council Oak House construction site off the A611 Annesley Road near Hucknall in Nottinghamshire
-Credit: (Image: Joseph Raynor/ Nottingham Post)

A new multi-million-pound Nottinghamshire County Council building is now set to progress with minimal delays after the start of construction saw 'the worst of both worlds'. The Oak House building, named after the oak tree in the council's logo, is set to be finished by March 2025.

Contractors say they remain on track despite having lost time at the start of the year due to "terrible" weather and ground conditions. The pond forming part of the site's design overflowed with water at one stage and two pits had to be dug on neighbouring land to allow surface water to be pumped into them 24/7.

Luke Melville, the assistant site manager with Morgan Sindall, said: "It was the worst of both worlds. You had quite a high water table mixed with pond clay, so no water seeps through. The water management was definitely a challenging aspect. If it's rained overnight, every morning you're spending the first couple of hours pumping out whatever fell the night before.

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"It can have quite an impact on the overall programme. Now we've got the super structure up we can crack on, because we're not in the ground anymore, so there should be minimal delays."

About 50 workers were on site on Friday (May 24) as the frame of the building, now mostly complete, was showcased. The project forms part of broader plans for the former farmland at Top Wighay, off the A611 near Linby and Hucknall, which will eventually house 805 homes, a primary school and skills centre.

As well as housing the council, Oak House will be home to key services for vulnerable children and adults and a customer service centre. The build will mean Nottinghamshire County Council largely vacating its historic County Hall building in West Bridgford - which it has occupied since 1946.

Assistant site manager Luke Melville of Morgan Sindall, pictured at the Nottinghamshire County Council Oak House construction site
Assistant site manager Luke Melville of Morgan Sindall, pictured at the Nottinghamshire County Council Oak House construction site -Credit:Joseph Raynor/ Nottingham Post

It reportedly costs £1.7 million a year to operate and maintain County Hall and the cost of essential maintenance over the next 12 years is predicted to be more than £30 million. Opposition councillors have previously raised concerns about the cost of the new £18.3 million office building, but the council's leadership insists Oak House will save money.

Councillor Ben Bradley, Nottinghamshire County Council's leader, gave an update on County Hall's future by indicating that it might not be completely sold off. The council leader said: "Our challenge is revenue - can we bring in some regular income that supports our services?

"Any additional income from whatever we do next with County Hall will help. We want to protect the building, we also need a facility in Rushcliffe, so there's a million options.

"Lots of ideas have been brought forward and as we have those conversations, we'll figure out what's best for us as a council." A final decision on County Hall's future is set to be made by the end of the year.