Amazon factory switch for staff

AMAZON'photo; WALTER NEILSON
AMAZON'photo; WALTER NEILSON

A GLENROTHES factory will become home to hundreds of council workers this autumn, reports MIKE DELANEY.

The local authority plans to begin moving key services and their staff to the Bankhead plant in August and complete the switch in the following months.

For a period, it is likely that the council will operate from the building while it is still being used by Amazon.

The online retailer will be transferring the distribution centre there and the 100-plus people who work at it to a new site in Dunfermline as soon as it becomes ready

The move will cost the council £18.3 million, although it anticipates making savings in the long-term, because it will be able to consolidate services and close depots, including roads services, which is currently based in Thornton.

Fife Council’s policy, finance and asset management committee heard that all but £8 million of the cash needed for last June’s purchase and fitting out the plant will come from capital funds - the rest will be borrowed.

A report to the committee said: “One of the benefits of the council proceeding to purchase this property when it did was to provide focus to Amazon’s relocation plans.

“Concurrently to the council taking the initiative in providing modern fit-for-purpose services, Amazon has done likewise.

“They plan to vacate Bankhead in January, 2012, moving into their new larger premises at Dunfermline, construction of which proceeds apace.

“By necessity, the construction side of this programme is in two halves - the first dealing with the part not tenanted by Amazon to be ready for use in August, 2011 and the rest being the remaining offices and warehousing space to be ready in February, 2013.

“The space and process conflicts to manage for the parking, storage, waste recycling, fuelling and washing.

““The current iteration entails development of a site several minutes walk away in council ownership.

“This option is being considered because of cost stresses, arising from additional external space requirements for certain space operations, primarily parking and the salt dome.”

The building which will become the new hib has had a checkered history, having originally been built for Japanese business machine giants Canon in the 1990s, then taken over by American-owned ADC Telecommunications the following decade.

Both promised major jobs boosts for the town, but neither was able to deliver on their original estimates of the number of posts provided and both later quit the plant.