City Hall move to Docklands delayed until January, despite ‘reduced’ rent offer

The new building will be occupied by the Greater London Authority in the first month of 2022, after the move from its rented base at Tower Bridge, the mayor has said.

City Hall’s move to the Royal Docks has been delayed until January, it has emerged.

The new building will be occupied by the Greater London Authority (GLA) in the first month of 2022, after the move from its rented base at Tower Bridge, the mayor has said.

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It will take up a permanent home in the Crystal, after the relocation was delayed when works uncovered long-term water damage to the floor of the site, which is owned by the GLA.

Sadiq Khan, mayor of London, said: “City Hall’s move to the Crystal building will usher in a new era for the GLA and this flourishing part of East London.

“The move will save £61m over five years.”

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan. Credit: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

He said savings would “help protect vital front-line services including policing, the London Fire Brigade, and our transport network” and “enable me to invest further in London’s economic recovery from the pandemic”.

The current site, dubbed “the glass gonad” by Boris Johnson, costs the GLA more than £11m in rent a year and is ultimately owned by the Kuwaiti government, while the Crystal has been called one of the world’s most sustainable buildings.

It emerged yesterday that the authority had been offered a lower rate of rent to stay in the building - but the amount has not been revealed.

Asked by LondonWorld, a spokesperson said: “Even taking into account a counter-offer from the landlord that would reduce the cost of staying at City Hall, the financial case for moving to the Crystal – a building already owned by the GLA - is impossible to ignore.”

Susan Hall. Photo: London Assembly

And Susan Hall, the leader of the GLA Conservative group, said the delay came as “no surprise” and that the mayor was “leaving London’s government in limbo”.

She said: “The Crystal is ill-suited to be home to the GLA. Sadiq Khan’s plan to convert the building was inevitably going to be a long and expensive process.

“Moving costs have already rocketed by 70% to £13.6m. The Crystal is quickly becoming a symbol of Sadiq Khan’s mayoralty: delayed, over budget and deeply uninspiring.”

The authority will move out over the next two weeks, before temporarily moving to its Union Street offices, where the final mayoral Q&A will be held on Thursday, December 16.

And the first formal public meeting at the new location will be Mayor’s Question Time, on Thursday, January 20, held in the newly-built chamber at the Crystal.

It is hoped the move will spark regeneration in the Docklands area, with 25,000 new homes and 60,000 jobs created in the next two decades, supported by the arrival of Crossrail.