City Hall is moving to Royal Docks
- Credit: PA
The mayor of London has announced that City Hall will move to the Royal Docks.
Sadiq Khan confirmed today (November 3) that the Greater London Authority (GLA) will leave its current home near Tower Bridge for The Crystal in Siemens Brothers Way. The move is expected to save £61million.
Mayor Khan said: “Given our huge budget shortfall, and without the support we should be getting from the government, I simply cannot justify remaining at our current expensive office when I could be investing that money into public transport, the Met Police and the London Fire Brigade.
“I know that City Hall is a landmark building for many – but as mayor I will always focus my severely limited budget resources on front-line public services and supporting Londoners and our recovery from this pandemic, rather than on high City Hall building costs.
“The Royal Docks is an amazing place, and we have the opportunity to turbo-charge the regeneration of the area, just as the opening of City Hall did for its surroundings.”
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Susan Hall, leader of the GLA Conservative Party, attacked the move as a “PR stunt” and “a half-baked plan based on dodgy numbers”.
On social media, she claimed the mayor was offered a “substantial” rent reduction by the landlord.
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“We will doubtlessly see costs spiral and fewer savings than he promises”, she wrote.
The GLA Group faces a £500m financial black hole this year and next due to Covid-19 with tax income expected to be lower for years.
Rent to private landlords Kuwaiti-owned St Martins is set to go up to £9.6m a year.
The current lease allows for a break in December 2021, meaning the mayor has to decide this year if he wants to leave.
After allowing for the costs of the move and works at The Crystal, including new security measures, the relocation is expected to save £61m over five years - £6m more than forecast when the mayor announced the proposals in June. The Crystal is owned by the GLA.
Mayor Khan expects the move to act as a catalyst for the regeneration of Royal Docks, leading to 25,000 new homes and 60,000 new jobs over the next 20 years. The Crystal will be renamed City Hall.
Assembly Members can remain based in central London, but their business will be carried out at The Crystal.
Mayor Khan has submitted a change of use planning application to Newham Council to seek approval for the necessary changes needed, including the creation of a new chamber. It is expected to be considered in December.