PLANS are being chalked up for KES to expand into the top floor of the district council’s headquarters in Stratford.
Members of Stratford District Council’s Cabinet will consider whether to give the go-ahead to a proposal which would involve a sixth form centre being set up to serve King Edward VI School on the now empty second floor of Elizabeth House when they meet on Monday (July 2).
SDC report that due to a number of factors including reduction in staff numbers and increases in remote working, the council no longer occupies the whole building in Church Street, opposite Shakespeare’s former school.
Parts of the ground floor are already being sublet and the second floor is now surplus to SDC requirement so consideration has been given to how this space could be best used.
Following professional advice from Savills, subletting the second floor is the preferred option.
However, Savills also stated that if Elizabeth House was to remain branded as the council offices it would restrict the market appeal and achievable rent of the building to potential tenants.
The best options proposed were either to carry out alterations to split the building or to find a tenant who was compatible with SDC remaining in place.
On this basis, an expression of interest has been received from KES who would use the second floor as a sixth form space. This would ease space pressures on the school’s current site and allow them to take an additional form of entry each year.
Following extensive discussions a 25 year lease has been agreed, though KES has also expressed an interest in purchasing Elizabeth House should it become available.
KES and SDC would share the main stair and lift access with each demise separately secured. SDC would need to carry out some alterations to the ground floor to separate the staff and school access from reception and form a separate customer entrance to the council’s reception directly from Church Street.
KES would pay SDC rent for the space, together with a service charge.
The main alternative option considered by officers was selling Elizabeth House. SDC would then have to search for a new headquarters in the town but there were found to be no options available that compared favourably with remaining at Elizabeth House and subletting the surplus space.
Savills also suggested Elizabeth House would have a broader appeal if tenants were given the primary entrance to Elizabeth House. Officers however viewed that the works would be extensive and demote the status of SDC within the building.
Officers have recommend the Cabinet approve the proposal to sublet the second floor of Elizabeth House to KES as it allows SDC to remain at Elizabeth House on a more financially sustainable basis, the income achieved can be used to support valuable services and it gives an opportunity to support a successful school within Stratford.