THE major project to create a new home for Richmondshire District Council has finally got underway.

Contractors have moved on to the former Lower School site in Richmond and expect to have the new base ready by summer 2013.

Plans to create a new headquarters have been in the pipeline for 30 years and the redundant school has now been sold to the district for £400,000.

And the redevelopment of the site into state-of-the-art accommodation will bring all services under one roof for the first time in the authority’s history.

Existing offices in Swale House, Frenchgate and Friars Wynd will close and the Community Office in Dundas Street will be transferred to the new building.

Council leader John Blackie said: “We have been searching for a solution to the current poor office accommodation for the last ten years.

“This site provides the perfect answer – we have a building that allows us to bring all services under one roof making it much easier not just for officers and councillors to conduct their business but for our customers too.

“Seeing the contractors on site this week is very exciting – and means we are on target for a grand opening next summer.”