Thank you so much for bearing with us
That’s our message to residents and businesses of the district six months after the fire that tore through our offices in Crowmarsh Gifford.
Staff are now at their desks in new offices at 135 Eastern Avenue, Milton Park, which features a brand new reception that opened to the public on 1 July.
Over 120 people responded to the survey, including residents, councillors and staff. The vast majority of the people responding were satisfied with the way we coped in the aftermath of the fire.
Many respondents said the speed at which we got our IT systems back up and running was very good, although suggestions for improvement included an off-site IT system that wouldn’t be affected by an event like the fire. Ironically, when the fire hit, we were half-way through a major overhaul of our IT infrastructure, which included hosting our servers in Surrey. Had the fire come along four months later, the computer systems would have been significantly less disrupted.
That IT overhaul has continued since the fire and we have put measures in place to protect the systems in the future.
Cllr Matthew Barber, leader of Vale of White Horse District Council, said: “We’re very happy residents don’t feel they’ve been disrupted – that’s thanks to the hard work and dedication of everybody at the council. We’d also like to thank the huge range of people who have chipped in to help and the countless more who have offered help. It’s been a tough six months, but we’ve dealt with it well, we’ve learned a lot for the future and we’re stronger and more resilient than we ever have been before.”
Cllr John Cotton, leader of South Oxfordshire District Council with whom we shared the building, said: “We want to say another big thank you to all of our residents who have been so patient and understanding over the past six months. We’d also like to say thanks to the people of Abingdon who’ve welcomed us and been so accommodating whilst we’ve been temporarily based in their town centre. We’re proud with the way everybody at the council responded to a huge range of exceptionally difficult situations, and we’re very glad people have said they’re happy with how we coped.“
The next job for ourselves and South Oxfordshire is to decide what to do with the old offices at Crowmarsh Gifford, and ultimately where we will be based for the long-term - we have up to four years on the lease of the building on Milton Park. Where we end up will partly depend on a report from the insurers into whether or not it will be financially viable to rebuild and move back into the building in Crowmarsh, which is due to be published later this year.