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Welcome to Cumbria House!

A warm welcome to Cumbria House, our exciting new offices set over four floors on Botchergate, Carlisle. Teams started relocating to Cumbria House in phases from October and the big move was completed when elected members transferred across on 18 November 2016.

Relocating teams from a number of buildings in Carlisle, including The Courts complex, has been a huge logistical challenge and everyone involved deserves a big thank you for their patience and understanding during this period. A special thank you to the Project Team who have worked incredibly hard to get everyone moved.

Staff are now settling into Cumbria House, which is a key element of the council's Better Places for Work project to reduce the number of office buildings and work more efficiently.

By reducing the number of offices in Carlisle from 22 to two, the council will save £ 900,000 a year in running costs.  The new offices are also much more environmentally friendly and will cut the council's annual carbon output almost in half - from 1,546 tonnes to 826 tonnes - in line with the council's Climate Local commitments.

As well as saving the council money, Cumbria House will bring a wide range of benefits, including improved working conditions for staff.

Chief Executive Diane Wood said:
"The new offices will provide a fantastic working environment for staff. It will support our one team ethos, with everybody working together in one building. Cumbria House is a much more environmentally friendly building and, really importantly, it's better for our customers in Carlisle because they can now access all our services from one place.  When I first came to Cumbria, I was shocked at the state of some of our buildings - there was mould on the walls and rain coming through the ceiling. Now we have a fantastic, light, bright building with better working conditions and better facilities for staff. We want to be a more modern and efficient council and this building will help to get us there."

New technology
As well as offering improved working conditions, Cumbria House is also equipped with a range of the latest information technology, including:

  • Large screen interactive whiteboards, with easy-to-use video conferencing facility, in all meeting rooms.

  • Meeting room booking system, with each room having a display panel indicating if it's booked or vacant at any time.

  • Four public information kiosks with touchscreen and keyboard, located in the reception area, providing self-service facility for customers wanting to find council information, report a problem or apply for services such as a blue badge or school meal.

Digital Mail Room
Staff based at Cumbria House will receive their mail in a different way when a Digital Mail Room is introduced in the near future.

It means non-confidential mail will be scanned and then delivered to staff via email rather than hard copies, with certain exceptions such as bulky items and periodicals.

The Digital Mail Room will bring a number of benefits, including supporting the need to make efficiencies and reducing costly paper storage. It will also support flexible working by enabling you to access your mail, wherever you are working and whatever device you are using.

The Digital Mail Room will initially run at Cumbria House for a trial period and all feedback and comments will be welcomed during this test phase.

More details about the Digital Mail Room will be announced closer to the launch. In the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns, please email docstore.project@cumbria.gov.uk

What next?

So far there have been exploratory discussions between Cumbria County Council and other local partners about the possibility of creating a new, shared building in Kendal.

This is still at a very early stage and there is still a lot of work to do to understand whether such a new building is feasible and what the benefits of any shared location would be to all partners.

The exploration is now moving into its next phase of feasibility with building consultants being appointed to develop an outline concept in much more detail. We should have the results of this work by Spring 2017 and this will inform any final decision.

If a new building was identified as a preferred option this would not be complete until at least 2020. So as you can see this is a long term project and we will continue to  keep everyone updated as it progresses.

What people think

This is my fourth full day at the new build and I have noticed a significant psychological impact in that short space of time: I have been looking forward to coming into work, and because I know I'm going to a smart, bespoke, contemporary building I've been making the effort to look smarter!

 

I was a new build sceptic before moving over and was convinced I was going to hate it, not being a fan the open plan design of modern office environments, but now I love it!

 

Although I was initially not convinced about the building's location, I think its presence will have a positive impact on Botchergate, a part of Carlisle that has historically been less prosperous and a bit neglected.

Did you know?

Five facts about Cumbria House

  • Solar panels installed on the building will annually generate around 33,000kWh's of electricity - enough to power 80 desk top computers or makeover 300,000 cups of tea for a year!

  • The building has a rainwater harvesting system - a full tank holds 40,000 litres of rainwater, enough for over 4,000 toilet flushes!

  • Cumbria House has secure cycle storage facilities for 20 bikes.

  • There are male and female showers and changing facilities on the ground floor.

  • Four Electric Vehicle pool cars will be available for use from December 2016.