I believe the current debate around Northgate House falls into two parts, the first concerns the long-term future of the town centre. It is possible that Northgate House was built in the wrong place and at some stage will have to be demolished to make room for a larger development. The danger is that if is pulled down we might find the site left derelict for years. Surely we do not want a repeat of the Broad Street saga and there is a lesson to be learned from Bradford town centre.
The second part concerns what should be done about Northgate House in the short-term. No doubt some of the infrastructure and facilities are rather tired but does that justify stripping the building to its frame and spending £15m, particularly if the building might have to make way for a larger scheme within a generation?
It is right and proper that public servants should have decent working conditions but this is one of the newest office buildings in town and surely it could be smartened up at modest cost. Even so, whatever is spent will fall upon council tax payers at a time when we are all tightening our belts. Surely this is not the time to be undertaking a prestige project when basic services are being cut back in order to pay off the massive debt which was in the main caused by spending borrowed money.