TORY -led Cheshire West and Chester Council wants to spend almost £20m buying offices in the new HQ building overlooking the racecourse.

The figure was revealed by Labour opposition leaders whose concerns over “best use of public money” led to the proposal being referred to the council’s corporate scrutiny.

Labour opposition leader Cllr Derek Bateman said: “This is probably the single biggest piece of expenditure the new council is likely to incur and we need to be satisfied that it is a good use of public money and the purchaser of County Hall has good intentions for the future.

Council leader Cllr Mike Jones will not talk about the plans in detail but has confirmed the unsuitability of County Hall for modern purposes and the desire to slash the number of operational offices from 24 to three.

A council spokesman said: “This council is pledged to make the best use of its resources and get best value for money. It goes without saying, therefore, that any financial decision will be made along these lines.”

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