7:12am Monday 24th March 2014
THE former site of County Hall in Torfaen will be sold off, if the local authority cabinet agrees its freehold is surplus to council requirements.
The building – jointly owned by Torfaen County Borough Council (TCBC) and Monmouthshire County Council (MCC) – was demolished in October 2013 because of structural defects which were judged to be beyond economic repair.
With the local authority contributing £1 million as half the costs towards the tear-down, a report due to go before the council’s cabinet on Tuesday recommends the Croesyeiliog site is marketed for sale by Torfaen council on behalf of the two owners.
The report says: “It is now proposed that cabinet declares our share of the freehold interest in the site surplus to TCBC requirements.”
The site is allocated in the Local Development Plan for residential
development, alongside the existing Gwent Police HQ.
TCBC said this would contribute to one of its corporate priorities to “prevent Torfaen residents becoming homeless.
The report added: “One way in which this is to be done is to ensure the range and quality of housing is appropriate to meet people’s needs. Making the County Hall land available for residential development will contribute to this priority.”
County Hall was most recently shared by the two councils, until both found new homes in Pontypool and Magor respectively.
It was also the now-defunct Gwent County Council offices prior to the restructuring of local authorities in 1996.
But ‘concrete cancer’ was said to have forced its closure, despite it being less than 30-year-old when the problem was diagnosed.
The building was officially closed in 2010, with estimations putting repair work at an eye-watering £30 million mark.
This was largely due to rain penetrating the cladding and rusting steel supports.
In 2008 the Argus reported that Monmouthshire and Torfaen councils hoped to get around £4 million each when the site was sold – but land prices plummeted soon after.
There were also rumours in 2012 that a disused nuclear shelter was built underneath the building and would require filling in, at a cost of around £675,000.
Last year, the two councils submitted their own planning application to develop 220 homes on the site. That is now understood to have been withdrawn.
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