University to rent council office space.

Council staff – based in Bath’s Manvers Street – are being transferred to Keynsham to clear two floors of Lewis House to be rented out to the University of Bath.

It’s a twelve-month lease from the property’s owner – Bath & North East Somerset Council which says won’t affect the public services it provides on the building’s ground floor.

The One-Stop-Shop will continue to deliver public-facing services, including council and police, where it is safe to do so. It currently provides a limited welfare service and self-service due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Council staff based on floors one and two – prior to lockdown – will in future see their work base moved to Keynsham Civic Centre, but with the flexibility to work from home and with some space in the Guildhall also available to book by staff when they need to work from the city centre for the day.

Floors three and four of Lewis House will also be marketed as office space to generate income, again with staff moving over to the flexible working arrangements highlighted above. As well as generating much-needed income for the council, staff continuing working effectively from home, leading to reduced travel, will also support delivery of the council’s climate emergency commitments.

Councillor Dine Romero, Leader of Bath & North East Somerset Council said “Prior to Covid-19, we said we wanted to significantly reduce our office accommodation costs, given the financial pressures we were under even then. Lockdown has shown we can work flexibly, including from home where that makes sense. This year-long lease arrangement with the University of Bath gains us vital income from this building whilst maintaining service levels. It also helps with social distancing and reduces the need for students to travel as frequently.

“We are working closely with both universities to ensure a managed return of students at the start of the new academic year which puts public health at the centre. We are also committed to making sure the office space we own has active, well-managed uses that contribute to the economies and local businesses of Bath, Keynsham, Midsomer Norton and the wider area.”