East Renfrewshire Council is considering plans to close its headquarters in a cost-cutting move that would see offices in Barrhead improved.

A review of council offices is being carried out after hybrid working introduced during the Covid pandemic left many desks unoccupied.

With around £30million of savings needed over the next three years, officials have suggested closing buildings which are “surplus to requirements.”

One option would see the Eastwood headquarters, in Rouken Glen Road, closed, with staff moved to either Barrhead or offices at Spiersbridge Way, Thornliebank.

The other would keep the current HQ and end the lease at Spiersbridge Way.

Officials reported offices are “expensive to maintain,” with the cost of heating and lighting in the three main buildings in 2021/22 reaching £213,000.

It is expected to increase to £457,000 by 2023/24 due to rising fuel prices, while general running costs for the buildings were just over £1m last year.

A council official said: “The introduction of hybrid working has left even more desks unoccupied and that does present us as a council with an opportunity to reduce person-to-desk ratio and consequently save money.

“It gives us the opportunity for the council to operate fewer buildings and that comes at a welcome time, given the financial challenges and also the environmental challenges in terms of reducing our carbon footprint.

“This isn’t just an intention to have fewer buildings, we also need to have better buildings that are fit for purpose.”

If the current HQ is closed, birth, marriage and death registration services could move to Eastwood House or a new Eastwood leisure centre.

Eastwood House could also be used as a civic chamber.

It has been reported renovations to the headquarters are “financially prohibitive” due to the construction type of the building. If it was demolished, a vacant site would be available for “future opportunities.”

If the headquarters are retained, the lease would be ended at Spiersbridge.

Officials believe this could be beneficial, as the building is less accessible for the public and the HQ is seen as the council's “traditional base.”

Council leader Owen O’Donnell said: “The impact of Covid and how we work as individuals has fundamentally changed.

"It’s absolutely appropriate and timely that we do look at desk ratios and where we actually need buildings now, particularly for those who are able to work on a hybrid basis.”

The offices in Barrhead's Main Street are expected to be retained, given their "size and adaptability.”

Council officials see the site as having a “regeneration role” in the town and believe more staff using the offices can increase footfall.

Investment would be needed for renovations and to install energy efficiency measures. Hybrid meeting technology would also need to be installed, reducing the need for staff to travel between buildings.

Almost £2m was allocated for improvements to the Barrhead offices in 2018 but work was delayed due to Covid. Designs are now being costed.

The lease of the Spiersbridge offices expires in February 2026 and, if the building is handed back, the council would need to pay the landlord around £500,000.

There is also an option to purchase the building before the lease ends.