Decision on moving City Hall to Royal Docks due this month, mayor says

The existing City Hall building. Picture: Ken Mears

The existing City Hall building. Picture: Ken Mears - Credit: Archant

A decision on whether to move the Greater London Authority to the Royal Docks is due to be made by the end of the month, the mayor of London has said.

Under plans originally announced in June, many GLA staff - including the mayor and London Assembly members - would move to The Crystal from the existing City Hall base as part of a £55 million cost-saving measure.

Others would go to Palestra House in Southwark, which is currently used by Transport for London staff.

A GLA oversight committee heard how money would need to be spent on making sure the building was made suitable for the GLA’s purposes, including security measures.

A planning application is set to be submitted to Newham Council shortly to obtain consent for work that needs carrying out in advance of any relocation.

Sadiq Khan said that many GLA employees were keen not to see cuts to frontline services and saw a move to The Crystal as one way to reduce that, although he added that “some staff members were concerned about the commute from home to work”.

However, assembly members were told that, on average, most staff would be in the building two or three days a week and working remotely the rest of the time.

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The meeting was told that a break clause in the existing City Hall contract - which would see the GLA complete 20 years of their original 25 year lease - needs to be exercised by December.

Caroline Pidgeon questioned the finances surrounding the proposed move, saying: “The idea that moving to The Crystal is going to bring all our costs down, that doesn’t seem to be the case.”

Mr Khan said: “We make up the additonal costs very quickly in relation to the savings from being at The Crystal.

“When you look over five years, forget going to 10 or even 15 years, you actually make up the one-off cost pretty quickly.”

On what benefits a move to the Royal Docks would bring to the area, Mr Khan said: “The Royal Docks is talking over the next 20 years about thousands of homes and thousands of jobs.

“I’m confident, should we move to The Crystal, we’ll see regeneration there that we might not otherwise see. I’m confident that us being there is better for regeneration than us not being there.”

A consultation on whether a change of use for The Crystal should take place is due to close on Thursday, October 15.

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