Office – Wealden District Council, HQ Refurbishment

Wealden District Council is implementing the amalgamation of its Crowborough and Hailsham sites, to put into practice a Transformation Programme to ensure prioritised quality services delivered by Wealden District Council. At the core of this strategy is the refurbishment and extension of the Vicarage Lane Headquarters building in Hailsham, East Sussex.

To enable maximum resources to be allocated to deliver front line services to the customer. It is proposed to increase occupancy with new ways of working in appropriate adaptable office accommodation.

The existing occupancy of the mid ‘80s Hailsham HQ is 234 staff accommodated in cellular offices, recently implemented new ways of working arrangements and adhoc open plan office arrangement. The existing layouts are dominated by personal and local storage furniture. Accessibility and visibility of the reception is poor, internal circulation is labyrinthine. Internal partitioning limits the amount of cross ventilation and inhibits social interaction and flexibility which is central to the ethos of new ways of working.

The Council’s Vision
“Wealden District Council’s new HQ will provide the catalyst for improved community engagement through an appropriate, sustainable and customer focused facility. It will promote quality of life for Wealden District Council’s staff though flexible working arrangements; be able to adapt to keep pace with increasing public expectation; be delivered on time and represent true value for money”.

A new way of working
On moving to a Single Site HQ for its staff, Wealden District Council will implement more flexible working arrangements to maximise use of the office space and achieve a 4:3 staff to desk ratio.

Expectations of the flexible working arrangements are that only staff whose work requires them to be wholly office based will have a fixed, permanent workstation. All other staff will be expected to increase working from home where possible and/or be out on site visits and will therefore share workstations with others.

Frankham have worked collaboratively with the client to identify working adjacencies, occupancy levels, storage & FF&E principles and to identify the concerns of working in a new working environment, the team have attended presentations with the end users.

Main building refurbishment
The scope of work encompasses modifications and refurbishment of the main building including a suite of rooms located above the adjacent leisure centre plus two areas of new build works to improve the working environment and provide accommodation, facilities and furniture layouts suited to new ways of working.

The works include:

  • Relocation of the front entrance and reception from the current location to the new extension.
  • Full strip out and refurbishment of existing building.
  • New natural ventilation strategy.
  • Introduction of a three storey extension between the main HQ building and the leisure centre providing a new reception, conference rooms, meeting rooms and general office space.
  • To create voids at first and second floor levels in the middle of the overall floor plate to improve daylight penetration and aid passive ventilation to the ground, first and second floors.
  • Refurbishment of the existing community to provide both the democratic meeting chamber for the Council and continue to provide a full range of community facilities.

The fundamental principle of the design is the intensification of the office accommodation and the provision of the flexible office working environment to facilitate new ways of working. This incorporates retention of the existing stair cores, re-planning of WC cores, maximising an open plan environment, rationalising circulation, meeting rooms, informal meeting areas, general office accommodation, IT hubs, breakout spaces and copying areas.