08 October 2021

Major investment leads to opening of new home for Valuation Office Agency in Plymouth

An official opening has marked the successful transformation of a landmark Plymouth office building following a major property investment by Plymouth City Council which has provided a new home for the Valuation Office Agency in the city.

Midas Construction completely refurbished the Crownhill Court building which was acquired by the Council to provide new premises for the Valuation Office Agency’s increased workforce as they searched for a new base in Plymouth.

The property is one of two major customer service centre hubs in England for the VOA which employs more than 3,600 staff who are responsible for compiling and maintaining lists of council tax bands for 26 million domestic properties and the rateable value of more than two million commercial properties for business rates.

Jonathan Russell CB, Chief Executive of the Valuation Office Agency, who formally opened the office said: “I am delighted to be in Plymouth to officially open our new VOA office. This modern, fit-for-purpose building is one of our two customer service hubs across the country and is absolutely vital to the work of the agency.

“It’s important for the agency to be in the right locations to attract the right people and skills, now and in the future. I’m really pleased we have been able to work with Plymouth City Council to secure Crownhill Court as our new home in the city.”

Deputy Leader of the Council, Councillor Patrick Nicholson, said: “I am delighted to see the new VOA office formally open in Plymouth. The Council’s Economic Development team secured the VOA Plymouth office as one of only two service centres in England. This is a major coup that has accommodated around 300 civil servant jobs in the area let by Plymouth City Council to the VOA.

“This was an empty office building that we as a Council have brought back to life, buying the building, completing a comprehensive refurbishment and securing a valuable employer at the property for the benefit of the city. Not only are we creating and safeguarding quality jobs, we’ve re-purposed an empty building and through our contractors provided work and apprentice training opportunities for local people.”

The Council brought the freehold of the empty office building in 2018 through its Property Regeneration Fund. The refurbishment was carried out by Midas Construction, part of the Midas Group, with Ward Williams Associates project managing the scheme. Improvements included to the mechanical and electrical systems, new partitioning as well as floor, wall and ceiling finishes.

Andy McAdam, Executive Director at Midas Construction, said: "As a locally based business we have been very proud to work on this hugely important project for Plymouth which provided a significant boost for the local economy during construction and, now complete, will continue to create high quality jobs for the city.

“Through working in partnership with Plymouth City Council and Ward Williams, we estimate to have kept more than 90 per cent of the project spend (about £4.2 million) in the local area at a time when this economic activity was much-needed. We had eight apprentices on site over a 60-week period, more than 2,600 operative weeks were worked on the project and at its peak there were 120 people on site. It’s been a great team effort and having successfully and safely delivered the project we’re delighted to see the building handed over and being brought back into use.”

Nikki Griffiths, Partner at the Plymouth Office of Ward Williams Associates added: “It has been great to be a local consultancy on a local project in Plymouth! The new VOA office will provide brilliant employment opportunities for the community through the refurbishment of this previously unused space.  Delivering this project during the pandemic wasn’t without its challenges but we are proud that it has enabled us to continue to contribute to the local economy though these difficult times for the city.”

Picture credit: Picture courtesy of the Valuation Office Agency (VOA)

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