WIGAN Council’s core services are to be amalgamated at one super depot.
The £3m project – which will revive a mothballed former Asda clothing warehouse in Ince – will release three smaller sites currently handling highways, street lighting, waste collection, vehicle maintenance and council house repairs, for redevelopment.
Town hall chiefs say that the ‘hub’ scheme will boost service provision for residents and mean vastly improved facilities for around 1,500 council staff.
And they believe savings made in fuel and logistics will pay for the cost of the new depot in four years.
The project will also mean Wigan’s state of the art salt barn will be stripped down and rebuilt from the ground up at the side of the new Makerfield Way location, the former George clothing warehouse. Services currently located at the 150-year-old Sovereign Road depot in Wigan plus smaller sites at Christopher Street in Ince and Hindley’s Town’s Yard will now be reallocated over the next nine months.
The move is a “no brainer” according to Wigan Council’s director for the environment Terry Dunne (below).
And he believes that the council has a duty to provide modern and professional setting to its vital front line staff.
Despite many “sticking plasters”, he admitted, the three current depots have “reached the end of the road”.
But he remains “very excited” by the boost in the standard and quality of services he believes the same number of staff will be able to deliver from re-organisation, which has secured the backing of the local authority unions representing the 1,500 staff set to relocate by late summer 2013.
Mr Dunne said: “This is an example of how we can work innovatively to reduce costs and improve performance at the same time.
“The current situation of having three separate sites that all require significant investment is untenable.
“If we had chosen to retain the existing sites we would have had to have spent in excess of £1m per year in maintenance costs, just to keep them in their current condition.
As well bringing together teams from a range of council services into one place, being at the geographical centre of the 16 square mile borough will significantly reduce the council’s carbon footprint while saving £1m per year in maintenance, transport and other running costs.
All the existing depots face an existing £1m repairs bill and present irreconcilable health and safety issues for staff and neighbours because of the increasing workload triggered by a growing population and the push to recycling and away from landfill.
Council cabinet member for the environment responsible for cleansing, waste and highways Coun Kevin Anderson said that the project meant a disused depot facility can be brought back to life.
He said: “ It is a much better option than spending significant sums on a brand new site.
“As well as saving money, the new depot will also ensure that our teams have more suitable working conditions.
“Crucially, residents will get a more effective response to public issues by us bringing similar services under one roof.”
He said that he was pleased the council were developing detailed plans for the future which would be an advantage to the borough economy.