A council’s flagship £58m offices could end up being one of a number of buildings underused in new plans for post-pandemic working.

Conwy council’s “Renewal Programme” is designed to open up services and formalise new working arrangement as it heads out of lockdown.

The idea, discussed at the authority’s cabinet meeting on Tuesday, is to have one body looking at how all departments in the council will work and how services will resume.

The report detailed how home working had “reduced the carbon footprint” of the organisation, which is aiming to be carbon neutral by 2030.

The programme will move through three stages, which all mention the benefits of home working for staff.

This could see council buildings like Colwyn Bay’s Coed Pella base underused.

It costs £1.45m a year in rent and is set to cost £58m over its 40-year lease.

Only the second floor of the building has been used during the lockdown as most staff worked from home – a development not lost on the council’s  bosses.

In the short term, any staff working at offices will have to be socially distanced.

In the medium term, it’s likely some sort of social distancing will have to remain in council buildings.

In the long term, if staff are given the green light to keep working from home, the need for state-of-the-art office bases could be in question.

All three stages of the Renewal Programme detail linked benefits of “reduction in carbon footprint via reduction in use of office space; reduction in staff travel; working from home; holding remote meetings”.

Jane Richardson, the council’s strategic director for economy and place, told the meeting there were two main elements to the plan.

She said: “This is a unique project. Workwise, 2020 will be looking at how we work as a team post-lockdown.

“This agile way of working, with home-based working, does reduce our carbon footprint.

“Service renewal is how we move to safe reopening of these services.

“There’s almost no part of this organisation left untouched by this work.

“This is very, very pacy and agile as we respond to Welsh Government’s fast timetable for reopening.

“Another piece of work will support the public and business community on how to unlock.”

A Renewal Programme board made up of senior officers and councillors will oversee the project.

A “Workwise 2020” board will focus on how staff will work as the authority follows the Welsh Government’s traffic light system out of lockdown.

A separate “Service Renewal” project board will also report to the Renewal Programme Board about how to open up services to the public.

Cllr Brian Cossey warned that making these plans for new ways of working without allowing ordinary members to scrutinise them could lead to “a lengthy council meeting” when members did get to vote on the proposals.

Leader Sam Rowlands said: “I understand there will be regualr reports to scrutiny.”

Cllr Cossey said the project gave a good reason to reintroduce scrutiny meetings to the council, which has held none since March’s lockdown instruction.