Eden has bought a “white elephant” in Voreda House and the district authority should be left to fend for itself with it, a town council meeting heard.
Ian Parker, services and contracts manager for Penrith Town Council, said the district authority was in the process of identifying partners with a view for shared occupancy of the newly-purchased Voreda House, which Eden had purchased to become its new headquarters.
The town council — which has completed an extension to its office lease on Church House for 10 years — had been invited to complete a partner requirement questionnaire in July asking potential partners what their current office needs were.
This was followed by a meeting in August, at which a steering group was formed for interested parties which were present.
Mr Parker said so far the town council had made no resolution and had not given any authority for officers to sit on a steering group, but a meeting had been scheduled for 19th October at which representation would be sought for three working parties — ICT, customer contact and co-ordination and a back office working environment and shared spaces working party.
Mike Shepherd, who had attended the meeting in August on behalf of the town council, said: “I wasn’t terribly impressed.”
Mr Shepherd said he came away from it asking if there was really space for everybody who seemed to want to be there.
“There was an awful lot of organisations with quite specific demands at the meeting and looking at the plans of the building, I couldn’t really see how it would all fit in,” he added.
Jonathan Davies said: “Eden Council has bought a white elephant and I think they should be left to fend (for themselves) with it, quite frankly.
“We aren’t a sub group of the district council and the district council may not even be there in a few years time with devolution happening.”
Mr Davies added that he didn’t think the town council should be backing Eden up on the purchase.
Dave Knaggs made a proposal, seconded by Mr Shepherd, that the council should be simply “interested observers”.
It was agreed the town council would not get involved with the strategy group.
“I would say we observe and if there is a point in time that Eden District Council want to come back to us, or we want to go back to them, the door is open,” said Mr Parker.