COUNCIL chiefs have unveiled plans to retain the ownership of Poole’s Civic Centre – with Dorset’s coroners service moving into part of the building.

If approved by senior BCP Council members, the proposals would see a ‘vertical slice’ of the site remodelled and continue to operate for civic purposes.

The project, which requires a budget of just over £1 million to create a fit for purpose space, would also offer an area for the Poole Charter Trustees in the Grade II listed building.

A report by Matti Raudsepp, BCP Council director of customer and business delivery, published ahead of the cabinet meeting later this month, said the charter trustees and coroner had been engaged with regarding the proposed layout.

“It is proposed that BCP (Council) will retain the freehold of the Poole Civic Centre and a ‘vertical slice’ will be remodelled for retention as a civic building in Poole,” says the report.

“Consideration has been given as to the best use of this space alongside the Poole Charter Trustees.

“The Dorset coroners service has been looking to relocate from Bournemouth Town Hall, and the gravitas and location of the building is a good fit for their needs.

“The use of the building by the coroners service alongside the mayoralty function, located in the heart of Poole, presents a viable future for the retained building.”

It is proposed that the £1.07 milllion budget, which includes a 17.5 per cent contingency, is sourced from prudential borrowing. £350,000 had already been allocated to moving the coroners service, so cabinet members are asked to support an additional £657,000.

Mr Raudsepp’s report says the other section of Poole Civic Centre and the wider site could be vacant for more than a year, with local authority operations all moving to the “BCP Civic Centre” in Bournemouth by next May.

It adds: “The process for developing a disposal strategy for the Christchurch and Poole legacy civic offices is underway and the options relating to these disposals and the repurposing of the Poole Civic will be reported to Cabinet in due course.”

If the plan gets cabinet backing on October 27, the changes could be delivered by the end of 2022, subject to listed building consent and a five to six month build timescale.

A review of the council’s asset management strategy and plan will take place before a decision is made on the best use of an area of unallocated space in the proposed ‘vertical slice’.