A NEW council-funded office block has opened.

The work space, which cost £9.5 million to build, can be found on the site of the former Civic Centre in Ham Road, Shoreham.

Adur District Council said the block will secure hundreds of jobs for the area.

Research company the Focus Group is the new tenant of the four-storey building, following a relocation from Southwick.

The space means the company will be able to expand its workforce from 250 employees to 450.

Ralph Gilbert, of the Focus Group, said: “I want to thank everyone at Adur District Council for its support with this project.

“It’s a really exciting time for our growing company and, even just a few weeks into our tenancy at our new home, we are already starting to reap the benefits.

“We have said all along that we wanted to make this building one of the best offices in the region so that we can attract the best staff while showcasing some of the groundbreaking technology the company advocates and installs for firms across the UK.”

Adur councillors were given a first look at the new offices by Ralph Gilbert of the Focus Group.

After a tour of the newly christened Focus House site, councillors said they were impressed with the quality of the construction and the six-figure investment from their new tenants in transforming the inside of the building.

The council members were impressed with what they saw and believe the offices will be a big boost to the area.

Councillor Neil Parkin, leader of Adur District Council, said: “I’m delighted to see this new building open, which looks great from the outside and even better on the inside.

“In this current climate, it is extremely rare for local authorities to design and build offices to meet the local need for high quality employment space.

“But this deal shows that we are prepared to think creatively about how we can use our assets to get the best possible return for local residents.

“I want to thank Focus for its great commitment to Adur, investing a substantial sum to relocate within the area which will provide local people with employment.

“I wish them all the best in their ambitious proposals to grow and look forward to our new tenants going from strength to strength.”

The development has brought back into use the car park site which was largely vacant since the Civic Centre closed in 2013.

Work started on the site a year ago with construction teams from Willmott Dixon creating a striking brick and bronze clad building on time and on budget.

A statement from the council said: “Inside, the open plan office has a contemporary feel, with top-of-the-range internet connections, games area and roof terrace just some of the perks for workers.”

The project, which has been supported by £1.8 million of funding from the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership, was completed in April.

Focus said the move will ensure the retention of 250 jobs in the area while allowing it to continue to grow with hopes of a further 150 to 200 posts created in the first 18 months of its occupation.

With the office block now open, the focus for the council is now the main Civic Centre site.

Councillors have agreed to pursue a proposal from Hyde Homes to create 171 apartments above high-

quality office space for local small and medium businesses.