Council office that has sat empty since March set for phased reopening

The 11-storey building is set to reach 50% regular occupancy by the end of the month, with one-way systems and elevator restrictions in place.

Coventry City Council’s offices at One Friargate are set to reopen from next week after sitting empty for six-months.

The 11-storey building has remained unused since lockdown began, with Council employees working from home or other locations.

Now with lockdown easing, the Council, who occupy nine floors of the building, have said they feel confident that staff can return safely to the building on a phased basis.

In the first week, only one in five employees will be able to return, but by the end of September the building is expected to be at 50% occupancy with one-way systems, hand sanitiser stations and restrictions on elevators in place.

The return has been welcomed by Cllr Jim O’Boyle, who said: “Like all organisations, the Council has been working very differently over recent months as we protect staff and the public.

“I know many people are keen for a return to a more normal way of life, and they want to get back to the city centre.

“This is the next step in our city’s recovery following COVID-19, and, as other companies return as well, including the Financial Ombudsman Service and Homes England at One Friargate, I look forward to seeing our city centre a little more like its old self very soon.”

Leader of Coventry City Council, Cllr George Duggins, praised his colleagues, saying: “Council officers have done an amazing job delivering services from home, but it will be great to welcome them back to the city centre.”

The Council has also this week approved £17 million funding that will support the development of a second office building in the Friargate development, with work set to begin soon.