IT'S now official - Muswellbrook Shire Council (MSC) is on the move.
The organisation confirmed on Monday it will relocate its Administration Centre to the town centre.
Council and Metcash, owners of the IGA supermarket based at Campbell's Corner, verified the two parties had signed a formal agreement, which would meet the floor space needs of IGA.
It is anticipated the relocation will take place before December or early in the new year, according to MSC general manager Fiona Plesman.
"Before any of that occurs, we'll need to get the DA (development application) through first," she said.
"We've received a federal grant towards the move to help activate the town - and save IGA.
"I believe it's a win-win situation for everyone.
"We'll be bringing about 77 staff into the CBD."
Metcash approached council some time ago seeking to reduce its footprint in the Campbell's Corner complex - and council had been in discussions with the operators of the IGA supermarket to accommodate the request.
The agreement will also facilitate the relocation of council's administrative functions to the town centre and permit the dedicated future use of the existing Administration Centre for the Richard Gill National Music Academy.
"Where we are now - Maitland Street - is out of the way for a lot of people," Ms Plesman said.
"I believe council relocated there in the mid-1980s, primarily after the Muswellbrook and Denman council amalgamation.
"At the time, there was no more room to grow at the QE2 building.
"This [move] will provide easier access for residents.
"And, it's a good, central temporary location until we move into a purpose-built civic centre down the track."
An unused space on the first floor of the Campbell's Corner building, behind the Upper Hunter Conservatorium of Music (UHCM), will be renovated to accommodate council staff and an area on the ground floor, in space currently occupied by IGA, will be reconfigured to accommodate a customer service area.
"IGA will remain as the principal tenant on the ground floor and the layout of the reconfigured store has been agreed after a lengthy process of negotiation," Ms Plesman said.
"The store will be operating from a smaller footprint and other tenants will not be affected."
The town centre strategy envisions three zones within the CBD.
An education sector, encompassing the library, TAFE, UON campus and Upper Hunter Innovation Precinct, is well on the way to completion.
The second, including the civic centre, will ultimately house Council Chambers and Administration.
The third, an entertainment precinct, takes in UHCM and proposed entertainment and conference centre.
"Car parking is an important factor and council has developed a Car Parking Strategy for the CBD," Ms Plesman said.
"Staff will not be using any car parking at Campbell's Corner.
"Rather, vacant council land close to the town centre will be utilised for staff parking purposes."
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