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Cash-strapped Northamptonshire Council to sell its new BDP-designed HQ

Bdp one angel square hufton crow
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Northamptonshire County Council is to sell its £40 million BDP-designed headquarters just months after moving into it

The cash-strapped south Midlands local authority will look to offload One Angel Square and lease it back from its new owners.

BDP won a design competition for the new civic office building in 2013, beating FaulknerBrowns, Aedas, Associated Architects, Stride Treglown and Sheppard Robson.

The 22,000m2 office building, which completed last May, was designed to allow the council to consolidate staff from 12 separate properties into one place.

Now the council is looking to sell the complex freehold and lease it back for at least 25 years. It is also considering subletting space within the building to third parties.

County council cabinet member for finance Robin Brown said: ‘Our financial challenge is severe and ongoing and therefore we need to explore all avenues of funding that are available to us to fund our statutory services.

‘This arrangement would see substantial capital receipts, which would make a significant funding injection for our core services. And of course we would remain in One Angel Square for a substantial period of time so we could still get the benefits from this modern, flexible working environment at the heart of the town centre.’

A spokesman for the council said work to market the building had started ‘as a matter of priority’, adding that ‘council staff working in One Angel Square will continue to do so’.

BDP’s scheme saw a derelict site in the heart of Northampton transformed into an office block enclosing a central courtyard and facing a newly created public square.

The practice said of the scheme in 2013: ‘The natural light, visual connectivity between floors and garden quadrangle will all help in creating a building that will allow both staff and visitors to experience a sense of wellbeing and help collaboration and sense of identity.’

But architect Will Alsop, who was born and grew up in Northampton, told the local press, also in 2013, that all the shortlisted concepts for the building, which had been on anonymous public display, were ‘dull’. He likened one submission to a ‘budget hotel’.

BDP declined to comment this week on the council’s plans to sell the building.

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