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Government to shed London buildings

13th October 2014

Government to shed London buildings

Where business has gone, the government appears to be following. Over the last few years we have seen big business, included the banking and insurance sectors, moving their staff away from central London and out to the fringe areas or even the fringe areas encircling the capital in an attempt to save on rental and to provide arguably added convenience to civil servant employees in the form of parking and cycle options. 

The Cabinet Office has now announced as part of its estate strategy that it will also be significantly reducing the number of central government buildings in London, such as Whitehall, with the number decreasing by more than half, from 48 to 23. 

Although the change is not set to occur until shortly after 2020, the government is already in negotiations with councils as to new, alternative locations for its operations, with two of the areas under consideration being Stratford and Croydon – the latter already housing the relocated Home Office immigration complex. 

The announcement is not out of the blue; the government has been vacating buildings for some years in an attempt to reduce costs. Since 2010 the government has vacated 72 buildings in central London and 1,650 across the UK, claiming to have saved £600 million in running costs and raising £1.4 billion in revenue. The government’s announcement has stated that in some circumstances it can be 90% cheaper to have an employee in the outer areas of the capital than in Whitehall.  

It is anticipated that the vacated buildings will provide valuable residential and commercial space, although the market in 2020 cannot yet be predicted. 

The estate strategy also includes aspects of consolidation, such as reducing the space per employee from 108 square feet to 86 square feet by early 2018. 

This news was brought to you by Morgan Pryce, a specialist tenant acquisition agent with offices in Oxford Circus and the City. Morgan Pryce specialises in search, negotiation and project management and works exclusively for tenants.

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