Charity plan to sell Devizes offices
9:00am Saturday 2nd November 2013 in News
DEVIZES-based charity Community First is planning to sell off its office base for housing.
The charity plans to move to more modern rented premises and is likely to remain in Devizes.
Philippa Read, chief executive of Community First, said the office, Wyndhams, used to be two houses and is in need of substantial modernisation.
She said: “It’s an old building which needs a lot of refurbishment and it is expensive to run. Our heating system is poor. We estimate we would have to spend £250,000 just to bring it up to reasonable office standards and the building doesn’t lend itself to that.
“If we had the money to do the work – which we haven’t – we wouldn’t get it back in the value of the building.”
The charity, which is Wiltshire’s rural community council, employs 60 staff, of which about 35 are based at the office.
Mrs Read said: “Working practices have changed and a lot of staff are working remotely and have the ability to hot desk now. We have empty office space.
“We would like to have open plan offices and to cut down on our overhead costs.”
The charity, which changed its name to Community First 15 years ago, has been in the three-storey building in St Joseph’s Place for more than 30 years.
It develops and delivers community programmes in Wiltshire. A few years ago it merged with Youth Action Wiltshire and also runs the Wiltshire Young Carers service.
Community First has applied to change the use of Wyndhams from an office to two houses. It will also submit a planning application to build four semi-detached houses on its car park and garden.
Mrs Read said the neighbours – St Joseph’s Primary School, the Catholic Church and a nursery – had been informed of the plans.
She thought housing on the site would lead to less traffic using St Joseph’s Place, benefiting the school.
- Wiltshire Blind Association hopes to move to new premises in the Devizes area by 2014. The charity has planning permission to change its office, St Lucy’s, in Commercial Road, back to a house. The charity says it is no longer suitable, or big enough, for its needs.
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