Slow Progress in Shifting Government Office Space
In 2010, the government embarked on plans to downsize office space being used by the state, freeing up more potential square footage than all the office space in Canary Wharf combined.
However the scheme to downsize and shift the vacant space, saving potentially hundreds of millions in taxpayerΓÇÖs money, is showing slow progress.
In a press release from the National Audit Office (NAO) earlier this month, the regulatory body announced that, ΓÇ£While the Government is now exploring how property can help wider civil service reform, the NAO has yet to see this translate into concrete plans.ΓÇ¥
However, the NAO goes on to report that ΓÇ£in many cases, departments are nearing the point where they have consolidated their own estates as much as they can individually… further savings will require them to share space and use it more flexibly.ΓÇ¥
The NAO has estimated that as much as ┬ú830 million a year could be saved by 2020 if the proposal were to rally and some of the office space could be made available to UK businesses.
But itΓÇÖs not all quiet on the state office front, as a ┬ú23 million renovation project is due to start on a disused government office block in Westminster. The building at 1 Page Street was once the home of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).
DEFRA has now relocated to Smith Square and the abandoned building is being slated as the next state-of-the-art Westminster business centre, complete with 11,000 square metres of office space.
ΓÇ£The London commercial sector is beginning to improve after a difficult few years,ΓÇ¥ says Mike Donegan, the Construction Director of BAM, the company undertaking the project on behalf of commercial property developers, Derwent.
ΓÇ£The project will require a comprehensive reworking of the existing building, particularly given its historic uses. We look forward to creating the fantastic office space that this prime location deserves.ΓÇ¥
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