New HQ questions, answered
Ongo staff are planning to move into a newly-built HQ on Church Square, Scunthorpe, in spring 2018.
This exciting news has prompted lots of questions.
Here, our Director of Regeneration, Pete Stones, provides the answers.
Why are you moving out of the existing building you’re in?
The lease on our current HQ states we can leave in 2018, so it made sense for us to look at the different options for our location. It will be lower cost and much better value for money to move into an energy efficient, central location. We’ll be much more accessible to our customers too, close to the bus station. And we can combine our Customer Centre and HQ into one, saving thousands in rent costs.
We’ve carried out an audit on our current building, to analyse the size of building and number of desks we actually need. It’s been worked out that we could actually fit into a smaller building – which will ensure better value for money.
Why is Ongo moving to the town centre?
When we transferred from North Lincolnshire Council in 2007 a promise was made to tenants that we would support the local community, and invest in the town centre whenever possible. Moving an organisation of almost 350 staff into the town centre will definitely help to generate income for the shops and food outlets in the area.
We can also incorporate our Customer Centre into this new building, meaning we will only be leasing one building rather than two, saving quite a bit of money.
How much is this costing Ongo?
We will be leasing the building from North Lincolnshire Council, who we have been working in partnership with on the planning and design of the new Ongo HQ. The rental costs will be lower than we currently pay, along with savings to be made by being in a much more energy efficient building. We think we will save £25,000 a year in maintenance costs alone.
Why not move into one of the many empty buildings in the town centre?
We did look at this as an option, and looked at a number of premises including TJ Hughes and Lloyds, all of which were too big or costly. Once all the figures had been worked out it was more cost effective to move to a brand new, purpose built building rather than modify an existing one.
Why isn’t the money being spent on houses?
The money that North Lincolnshire Council has to spend on this building is from a completely different budget to one for building houses. The cost will also be recouped by the council over time, through rent. We have just received £7.75million in funding from the Homes and Communities Agency to build 257 new homes by the year 2020. This is alongside all of our other regeneration and new build plans.
How will Ongo moving into the town centre benefit the local area?
We hope that by bringing over 180 permanently office based staff to the town centre, and over 100 visiting staff, there will be increased income for all the local businesses based there.
Who is paying for this building?
North Lincolnshire Council. We will be leasing the building from them.
Will it impact Ongo Homes tenants?
Money wise – no, definitely not. Moving to this new building will not be a reason for tenant rents to increase. In fact, over the last year, our rents have decreased by 1%. Our tenants could be positively affected by this move, however. By being in the town centre and near the bus station, the office will be much more accessible than the current building located on Normanby Road, Scunthorpe.
Isn’t it just a big waste of money?
We don’t think so. In 2018 we need to either renew our lease at our current building, or move elsewhere. So we think it is a great opportunity for us to take the decision to move into the town centre (when lots of businesses are moving out of it) and do our bit to try and help North Lincolnshire Council’s plan to regenerate the area.