Staff at West Lindsey District Council have been able to start the year in a new £5m, purpose-built central depot, which has been on the cards for 20 years.

The site, which was constructed and designed by Henry Boot Construction and Whittam Cox Architects, was officially opened in November by local constituency MP Sir Edward Leigh. The previous depots at North Warren Road, Gainsborough, and Gallamore Lane Industrial Estate, Market Rasen, have officially ceased operations.

The council anticipates that the central depot, where construction began back in late Autumn 2020, will secure the future of waste collection and street cleansing services in the district for many years to come.

The site includes a parking area for the fleet as well as storage buildings, wash facilities, visitor parking, and a main operations building, which has been positioned as a visual landmark from the A631. It is also flexible enough to act as an Emergency Planning centre for the district in times of emergency.

The facility was given the green light in April 2020 via a virtual Planning Committee meeting and it was given unanimous cross-party support.

Attending the official opening, council leader Owen Bierley commented: ‘I was last here at the launch of construction nearly a year ago – and I have to say the work that has been done in that time is absolutely incredible. My congratulations go to the team at Henry Boot Construction and Whittam Cox Architects for their vision and delivery – this site looks incredible, and it is a testament to our district that we have this central HQ for our Operational Services.’

With West Lindsey District Council committed to reducing its carbon footprint to net-zero by 2050, the design and construction of the building has looked to reflect that aim. Solar panels have been installed on the roof of the building, as well as other ‘green’ designs, including six electric vehicle charging points, LED lighting, and lighting controls. Heating, cooling, and hot water is provided by air source heat pumps, and there is double glazing to ensure working environments are comfortable for workers in a way that minimises carbon emissions.

The chair of the council’s Environment, Sustainability and Climate Change working group, Cllr Tracey Coulson, outlined that thinking about the climate first has to become the norm for all council projects.

‘As you can see, we have made sure that this new modern building does not contradict our plans to reduce our carbon footprint by 2050. By having a centralised depot, with modern and climate-friendly designs such as solar panels, we take a step closer to reducing our footprint across the district,’ she said.

Assistant director of Operational and Commercial Services, Ady Selby, is adamant that the move was an absolute must for the district. Speaking to LAPV, he explained that the old depots were ‘a bit of a dive’ when he joined the council in the mid-1980s.

‘When I spoke to my boss then he said we’re getting a new depot within the year and here we are 35 years later finally opening one. It’s been quite a journey. We’ve made do and mended what we had but it came to a point where the two depots just weren’t fit for purpose anymore,’ he said.

Mr Selby emphasised that the project has been delivered through a partnership approach. The local authority worked closely with the staff and unions in order to ensure the depot’s layout was suitable for those who used it on a daily basis. The need to reverse on site, for example, has been minimised thanks to the design of the new facility. Those involved in delivering the project also gained extensive experience working with external partners, such as Henry Boot Construction, Whittam Cox Architects, and the Environment Agency.

‘What we’ve learnt from it is the value of partnerships both internal and external, and as a result we’ve got a fantastic facility,’ Mr Selby concluded.

Echoing Mr Selby, Daniel Cocker, director at Whittam Cox, commented: ‘As Team Lincolnshire ambassadors we’re passionate about the West Lindsey region. It’s been a privilege to work with the council to deliver a sustainable new depot that will help the council move towards their net zero carbon target by 2050.’