Decision details

Reconfiguration of South Lakeland House and Kendal Town Hall

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: Yes




The Finance and Resources Portfolio Holder raised the issue of the Coronavirus emergency which clearly had the potential to disrupt the implementation of the project, however, still urged that the recommendation be approved.  The Council would need to work closely with the successful contractor regarding Government advice on health and safety at work, as well as any constraints imposed upon them and in the light of constraints.


The Leader thanked the Operational Lead for Delivery and Commercial Services and all officers who had worked on the Scheme.  He was delighted that the projected was moving ahead.


The Labour Group Leader supported the proposal and, in addition to points already raised, drew attention to the resulting benefits for residents.






(1)        the contract for construction works to reconfigure and refurbish South Lakeland House and Kendal Town Hall be awarded to the recommended contractor as identified in the Part II Appendix 1 to the report;


(2)        authority be delegated to the Director of Customer and Commercial Services and to the Legal, Governance and Democracy Lead Specialist (Monitoring Officer) to enter into, on behalf of the Council, an appropriate contract with the successful tenderer for the construction works; and


(3)        the appointment of Lambert Smith Hampton and sub-consultants through the Bloom procurement framework to project manage the scheme within the agreed budget be approved and authority delegated to the Director of Customer and Commercial Services and to the Legal, Governance and Democracy Lead Specialist (Monitoring Officer) to enter into the appropriate contracts.


Reasons for Decision


Investment in South Lakeland House and Kendal Town Hall will:-


·         provide office space to support the Council’s Customer Connect Programme;

·         create new modern town centre offices for other businesses;

·         provide a MintWorks2 for new Small and Medium sized Enterprises;

·         deliver much needed refurbishment of Kendal Town Hall;

·         provide much improved working facilities for all employees, both SLDC and KTC;

·         provide disabled access to all areas of SLDC offices;

·         enable a joint reception area in the front of the Town Hall;

·         open up more meeting room space for community groups; and

·         generate income and reduce ongoing maintenance costs for the Council.


In addition, the decision will assist in the delivery of the Council Plan priorities, as follows:-


Economy –


·         Engagement with the private sector and public sector partners will be central to the Council’s approach to helping grow and develop the economy.

·         We will when opportunities present themselves make best use of our property portfolio to support economic growth, through the use of our current and future asset base.

·         Through our economic development strategy we will continue to build on our traditional strengths, and pioneer new industries that make the most of our place. We will promote new ways of working so that businesses can compete and reach their potential whilst enjoying everything that is special about living in South Lakeland.


Environment –


·         We will reduce the Council’s carbon emissions by reducing our energy use through the efficient management of our land and buildings and be an exemplar to others.

·         We will support Cumbria County Council and local partners with their strategies for active travel.


South Lakeland District Council need to ensure we are adequately equipped to provide the best, most cost effective service for the communities we serve.  This will be met through a skilled workforce, ensuring that the staff have the ability to work efficiently working with more digital skill and a more flexible co-ordinated approach.  The places project will help the Council equip its staff to put the Customer at the heart of everything we do.


Alternative Options Considered and Rejected


·         Continue with the current position and do nothing – this is not recommended when considering the significant cost to maintain the building, the inefficient use of space, the loss of opportunity to refurbish the Town Hall and the economic benefits to the area.  This would still require significant additional expenditure to be added to a future capital programme to maintain South Lakeland House and Kendal Town Hall in an acceptable condition.  Following the emerging discussions on devolution and combined authorities, whilst doing nothing may be an option for those reasons, it is still reasonable to proceed with the scheme whilst those discussions continue to take place, as any options would require a base in the centre of Kendal and we would be best placed to provide office accommodation for any new Council structure brought forward and proposed.  If, in future, South Lakeland House was not required, the space occupied by the Council could be split into smaller units at little cost to accommodate more small and medium sized enterprises. 


·         A shared public sector hub option, co-locating with the County Council and Lake District National Park Authority on the County Hall site was fully explored but ruled out on cost grounds. Concern was also raised at the time with potential use of the South Lakeland House site with no obvious or viable use found for the site.


·         Undertake the work over a longer phased approach. This has been dismissed because of the increased cost that a longer phased approach would incur.  It would be difficult to manage contractually, and cause greater disruption for the organisation and the Council would be unable to benefit from the proposed income which would, therefore, make the scheme unviable.

Publication date: 27/03/2020

Date of decision: 25/03/2020

Decided at meeting: 25/03/2020 - Cabinet

Effective from: 06/04/2020