This is what it looks like inside the former Aviva office two Norfolk councils have agreed to spend millions of pounds on, to turn it into their new headquarters.


South Norfolk and Broadland district councils have, amid controversy, agreed to use taxpayers' cash to buy the Horizon Business Centre at Broadland Business Park.

Aviva closed the office, along with the neighbouring Willow House, to move staff back to the city centre, last year.

And the two district councils have agreed a deal - for a figure which has yet to be disclosed, but is believed to be between £6.5m and £9.5m - to purchase it.

An undisclosed sum now needs to be spent to fit out the open plan office building - and at least half a million pounds is likely to be required to install a council chamber.

Council leaders are hoping staff can transfer from Broadland's Thorpe Lodge and South Norfolk's Swan Lane offices by the summer.

Officers have said the move would bring about an 84pc reduction in energy costs, compared to running the two existing buildings - which are likely to be sold off.

But the deal has prompted criticism.

Councillors at both authorities had questioned the need for the switch and whether the figures - which have been discussed behind closed doors - stacked up.

Three South Norfolk councillors - Clayton Hudson, Michael Edney and Josh Worley - quit the Conservatives in protest over the proposals, ahead of Monday night's decision to press ahead with the purchase.

Mr Hudson and Mr Edney both described the purchase as a "white elephant", but council officers have said it will have lower running costs, will be cheaper to maintain than the current buildings, would enable better collaboration and help attract new staff.

The building is within the Broadland area, but the possibility of creating a small South Norfolk satellite office in Diss, where people could head to make inquiries, is being considered.