LONDON: The London Mayor Sadiq Khan has said that quitting the landmark building on the south side of the Thames next year would protect front-line services and help speed-up the regeneration of the Royal Docks.
He has earmarked The Crystal, a small conference centre in Newham, located beside the Emirates cable car’s northern terminal, as the new home of the Greater London Authority. It would be renamed City Hall, the Evening Standard has reported.
The Crystal was acquired by the GLA in June 2019 when Siemens, its previous tenants, paid the Mayor an undisclosed lump sum to end its lease four years early.
City Hall, the “testicle-shaped” glass building designed by Lord Foster at a cost of £43m, was opened by the Queen in 2002 but ran out of space within three years. It was designed for 440 staff but the GLA now employs about 1,000 due to the Mayor’s increased powers.
Last week Mr Khan revealed that the GLA group, which includes the Met police, Transport for London and the London fire brigade, faced a post-coronavirus financial hole of up to £493m over the next two years, forcing him to make “significant cuts”.
Quitting City Hall would save an estimated £55m over five years. As part of the plan, the GLA will enable staff to work from home more regularly.
Mr Khan, who launched a six-week staff consultation today, said he would rather spend public cash on front-line services and supporting the economic recovery than on the “above market” City Hall rent.