Councillors have raised concerns that there isn’t a back-up generator at the district council offices at South Walks House.

The offices based in Dorchester were left without power on Monday, August 21 after a power cut affected areas of West Dorset.

The power cut meant staff were unable to continue their duties and had to return home for the day.

Councillors have since raised concerns that the offices, which act as a headquarters for West Dorset District Council, North Dorset District Council and Weymouth and Portland Borough Council, were purchased without a back-up generator.

Dorchester Town Councillor Tim Harries said no forward planning was done by the council before closing the £9.7m deal for the offices in 2013.

He said: “It seems extraordinary there was no forward planning done with millions of pounds paid for the new offices.

“South Walks House has three councils working from their headquarters. We were told how we would have state of the art green space offices for the future, but nobody seems to have given any thought to what happens if there is a power cut.”

The cost of purchasing a back-up generator for the offices is estimated to cost around £300,000.

Mr Harries added: “The fact that it will cost £300,000 is locking the stable door after the horse has bolted. “

Councillor Fred Horsington said: “In my opinion, we are running three councils out of one building, so it is essential that they run 24 hours a day if need be. The only way they could do that is with a back-up generator.

Mr Horsington has suggested that it would be more cost-efficient for the council to purchase a second-hand generator.

He said: “If we think how often it would be used, they would be better off buying a second-hand generator. I have looked up the price of these and it would be in the region of £50,000. For the amount of times it would be used I think it would be a good investment.”

Martin Hamilton, Strategic Director at North Dorset District Council, West Dorset District Council and Weymouth & Portland Borough Council, said the power cut which took place in August was extremely rare.

He said: “While there has been much interest in the need for South Walks House (SWH) to close on 21 August due to the power cut, this is the first time this has occurred since SWH opened in February 2013. The Aug 2017 event was extremely rare and was brought about by three simultaneous faults to the supply grid.”

He explained the council will have considered the cost of a back-up generator when purchasing the offices.

He added: “At the time of building design, the need for a back-up generator at SWH will have been assessed by weighing the cost of providing and maintaining such a piece of equipment against the service impact of a power outage, and the likelihood of such an outage.

“Since SWH opened the partnership has increased the provision of services online, to minimise the need for the public to visit or phone the offices, and has invested in equipment which allow members and many officers to work remotely.

“The back-up provision at Crookhill is provided as part of the partnership’s business continuity arrangements and is in place to deal with all contingencies and not just power failure.”