MONMOUTHSHIRE council’s new headquarters is expected open in March next year.

Work to build the state-of-the-art building that will be known as the Democratic Centre at Coleg Gwent’s Rhadyr campus began in April.

Monmouthshire council left its former base at County Hall, Cwmbran in March as the office block has concrete cancer and would have cost the council £30million to repair.

Council staff and councillors moved to existing offices in the county, using the Shire Hall, Monmouth for meetings and an office building at Magor for staff.

The £7.3million redevelopment between Little Mill and Usk includes a two-storey 2,564 sq metre building in two wings linked by a glazed area and a 200 space car park.

The ground floor will feature a glazed atrium at its entrance, open plan offices, conference and meeting rooms. A bridged link over part of the glazed area will provide informal seating on the first floor together with the debating chamber featuring tiered seating.

There are also members and chief executive offices and open plan offices with 200 work stations for 400 staff and 43 councillors using a flexible working system.

The roof is made of aluminium and has natural lighting and ventilation, incorporating traditional and contemporary material and green features such as solar panels and recycled water tanks.

The site will have parking for 172 cars, of which 50 will be for Coleg Gwent, on the former garden centre and three existing buildings are being retained and four have been demolished.

Simon Williams, operations manager for contractor Willmott Dixon said: "Construction started in early April and is on course to finish at the end of March 2013."