SOUTHEND Council could soon be looking for a new home after it was revealed only a third of staff still work from the Civic Centre.

The 16-storey council block in Victoria Avenue has not been used to capacity since before the Covid-19 lockdown.

As restrictions were lifted, many staff chose to continue working from home leaving offices largely empty.

Now the future of the building will be debated and new offices at the Victoria shopping centre in Southend – which the council now owns – has been touted as a new home.

There is speculation that this could mean the Civic Centre site being used for housing.

A council spokesperson said: “We are continuing to operate a mixed approach where appropriate, but with restrictions lifting, numbers in the Civic Centre have been increasing.

"Numbers vary daily, but we can have up to 250 staff working from the Civic Centre which is approximately a third of pre-pandemic levels.

“With people working successfully by mixing office and remote working, and the current reduced use of the building, discussions are ongoing regarding the future of the Civic Centre and these will continue following the election in May.”

The spokesman added: “It is important to highlight that the council delivers hundreds of services, many of which are based in specific locations or in the community.

"Many staff are not based at the civic centre and many who are, regularly worked in a mobile way.”

Southend Civic Centre, opened in 1967, was refurbished in 2011.

With many industries now requiring less office space it is unlikely to be rented out for that purpose.

Other tower blocks in Victoria Avenue have been converted to housing over the past decade.

Carole Mulroney, councillor responsible for environment, culture, tourism and planning, said: “I don’t know what’s going to be proposed but all authorities with large office buildings are reviewing the position after the pandemic.

"There is a need for less space because we won’t have so many people in situ at any one time.

“We have to be careful though because when people work from home for a long time they can feel isolated so we have to be careful how we deal with it.

“We will be assessing what we will need but all options are open at the moment.”