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Grand tour for elected members

Councillors have had a guided tour of the new-look Municipal Buildings on the eve of the reconfigured offices opening to the public.

Andy Fisher, head of housing, health and community services at Boston Borough Council, walked members through the building accessed from West Street so they could see new areas where the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), the probation service and the council's customer services and revenues and benefits teams will be located.

Visitors to the council will be welcome back through the main West Street entrance from 8.45am on Monday, March 26.

For some months, while building work has been underway, the council's main reception counter and the revenues and benefits department has been moved further along the street and visitors have had to use a temporary entrance.

The Edwardian building, which once housed the council, the police - complete with cells, the fire brigade and the library, has undergone a transformation.

Spacious offices which served very few council staff have been redesigned as open plan to accommodate many more. This has also enabled closer and improved working across departments.

The space freed up has created room for other organisations such as the DWP, relocating from  Crown House, the Jobcentre Plus building in Lincoln Lane, and various Lincolnshire County Council departments including the registrars and the probation service, who moved from County Hall, generating savings for them and much-needed income for the borough council. Negotiations are continuing for a move to Municipal Buildings of two other town-based organisations making the West Street office a one-stop shop for a number of public services.

The DWP, which has also taken over Babbage House, will open for business on Monday, April 9. All the new offices have been adapted to suit modern demands, with automatic on/off energy-saving lighting and latest technology including computers for the public to access online services..

The design has been a massively-complicated project, involving cutting through some supporting walls, laying new floors and reducing ceiling heights. On top of that, and at the same time, consideration has been applied to routing literally miles of cabling for electric sockets and switches, lighting, phones and computers plus piping and ducting for heating.

Andy, who negotiated the leases, praised Nigel Hall, the council's property services officer, who managed day-to-day design and construction issues. Andy also congratulated the professionalism of the main contractor Robert Woodhead Ltd and their sub-contractors, the entire project coming in under budget and on time.

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Andy Fisher shows councillors the new customer services are in Municipal Buildings.

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The are some nice touches, such as the branded Boston skyline artwork.