The majority of council employees could be relocated to new multi-million pound offices out of town in a move funded by a large house building scheme.

Plans have been drawn up to build 65 homes on part of Epping Forest District Council's Civic Offices on the High Street.

It is hoped that the 40 two-bedroom and 25 affordable homes could generate between £9.5m and £10.5m, with prices ranging from £600,000 to £650,000 for each.

The price of development is estimated to be around £20m.

This cash windfall would allow the council to build new offices on land it owns at North Weald Airfield, three miles away from the town centre.

The building would cost £8m and would house all but 40 of the council's staff, the remainder staying in the current building or being made redundant.

It is not clear how many people are in line to lose their jobs.

The remaining Civic Office space could be rented to business under the plans, with the necessary refurbishment costing £3m over the next ten years.

21 new councillors will return to Epping Forest District Council 21 new councillors will return to Epping Forest District Council

A further part of the development includes renting out 323 High Street - which currently houses IT services - for commercial purposes or to be converted into flats.

Councillors have been told that since September a number of partners and agencies have been approached or have approached the council to discuss the opportunity of locating services in the Civic building.

These include Essex County Council, Essex Police, West Essex Clinical Commissioning Group and Corporation of London.

Council leader Chris Whitbread said: “Epping Forest District Council is modernising to ensure we are fit for the future.

"The overall number of staff we employ is reducing. Along with agile home working, we are radically reducing our need for office space.

"Moving all but our customer facing, civic and democratic staff to North Weald will significantly reduce our office costs but that must not come at an economic price to Epping High Street.

"Bringing new commercial businesses and long-standing partners such as Essex Police into Epping will help to ensure a healthy lunchtime cashflow for High Street businesses.

"Leasing out the Civic Offices also gives the district council more income to spend on local services.”