COUNCIL workers may have experienced a case of premature relocation because of building work at a Petersfield office.

East Hampshire District Council is currently in the process of fitting out a new premises off Bedford Road as its downsizing from its Penns Place headquarters.

Some workers have already made the move to the New Barn premises – renamed Monterrey House by EHDC because of the pine in front of the building – with the rest expected to follow over the coming months.

But their stay has been short-lived as councillor David Podger revealed last Thursday that some have been returned to Penns Place because of building work.

“Building work has restarted and it will be reopened in the new year,” said Cllr Podger to Petersfield Town Council.

“Some of the staff have been decanted to Penns Place in anticipation and will be moving back again when the work has been completed.”

The £1.7 million move away from Penns Place to a more “efficient, advanced and environmentally-friendly” building in Petersfield was signed off in July.

The building will be cheaper to run and could reduce EHDC’s carbon footprint by as much as 75 per cent. The move will also play its part in the council’s ongoing transformation to a modern, financially-sustainable stand-alone authority.

Sites across the district are also being considered for EHDC “hubs”.

Cllr Podger told PTC he believes Penns Place will eventually be demolished as it’s unlikely to find a commercial buyer given its sprawling size.

In another development, councillors also heard the MyEHDC council portal is being scrapped with artificial intelligence likely to feature in its replacement.