EAST Hampshire District Council’s offices at Penns Place will be redeveloped as it aims to move out by September.

It will transfer to an office block it owns in Bedford Road, Petersfield, previously rented by Moneybarn. The car finance company will go to a neighbouring office block.

Council leader Cllr Richard Millard said: “It would cost too much and be a huge amount of work to make Penns Place fit for purpose today.

“I would hope the council will be in the new offices by autumn. We will be looking at options for the Penns Place site, from housing to light industrial or even some form of multi-use site that could include a sports hub.”

Penns Place opened when East Hampshire replaced Alton and Petersfield urban and rural district councils in April 1974.

Regeneration and place director Simon Jenkins said: “The council has around 280 staff – and about 200 of them work from home now, to a greater or lesser degree – so we need more rooms for online virtual meetings, collaborative meetings and fewer desks, and this office block fits the bill.”

Taking it over gives the council one less building in its investment portfolio to worry about as it becomes harder to rent out office blocks in a post-pandemic world where the ‘new normal’ is home working.

It is unclear where the neighbourhood police, based in Penns Place, will go next. When Petersfield police station was sold to Petersfield Museum, Hampshire Constabulary could not find them a home in the town and there were fears they would be transferred to Waterlooville.

They finally rented space at Penns Place and moved in at the end of 2016 after a long and costly delay while secure phone lines were laid to the building.