Ford joins Council HQ Group

Councillor Martin Ford
Councillor Martin Ford

Democratic Independent and Green Group councillor Martin Ford is to serve on Aberdeenshire Council’s Office Space Strategy Working Group.

The five Aberdeenshire councillors who are not members of either the Alliance or Partnership groupings on the Council are entitled to one place between them on the group.

The representation from amongst the five was decided by drawing lots.

Cllr Ford said: “The working group has an important task looking at future office provision.

“Any spending pressure due to rising office costs would be a problem.

“Whilst there would be local economic benefits to Inverurie from relocating the Council’s HQ to the town, the overall financial position of the Council and its ability to deliver the best possible public services across Aberdeenshire in future has to be the main focus.

“The Council can borrow money at very low interest rates. What matters is the cost of servicing any borrowing incurred to fund construction and whether this is less than the saving from lower office operating costs.

“If the Council can borrow money to build a new HQ, service that loan and still make a net saving on office costs compared with the status quo, there is a strong case for going ahead on the grounds of avoiding cuts to public services.

“There’s a prima facie case for building a new HQ in Inverurie purely as a cost saving measure. Of course, there are risks inherent in any large project of this kind.

“It’s essential to understand both the risks and the business case to be able to make an informed decision as to whether to go ahead.”