Sadiq Khan’s bid to move City Hall out of Southwark gets formal objection from London Assembly

Josh Salisbury (03 September, 2020)

Mr Khan has been accused of overstating the savings which would be made by leaving Southwark's City Hall building

5096City Hall

The London Assembly has formally objected to plans to move City Hall out of Southwark to save money.

The capital’s government could move to east London under plans by Mayor Khan, as he believes the current City Hall building by Tower Bridge is too expensive.

Mr Khan has claimed that moving to The Crystal in east London would save £55m over five years. 

But in a ‘formal objection’, chair of the assembly, Navin Shah AM, said the figure had been inflated, and a proper financial appraisal had not been undertaken.

In a letter to Mr Khan, the assembly chair said: “Your proposals for The Crystal do not have a sound financial basis and, when one considers value as well as cost, are detrimental to the standing of the Greater London Authority.”

The assembly has urged the mayor to look at other locations, such as County Hall, or taking additional space at the London Fire Brigade HQ on Union Street.

Chair of the Assembly, Navin Shah

This was not presented as an option under the current consultation, said Mr Shah. “The Assembly is at a loss to understand why this option was not presented for consideration as an option, along with The Crystal,” he said. 

“It is a matter of serious concern to us that, at no stage in the process to date, was this option presented.”

Eight pages of “alternative options” have been presented to the mayor, instead of the current plan to vacate City Hall, and have some staff in TfL’s and LFB’s headquarters as well as in The Crystal.

Among the concerns raised are a “failure to negotiate with the current City Hall landlord” and a fear that not having City Hall in a central London location would “diminish London’s government.”

The mayor has not publicly responded to the letter, dated August 19, but has since re-affirmed his belief that a move would be in the best interest of the GLA.

 

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