Sadiq Khan has confirmed that plans for him and the London Assembly to move to the Royal Docks will go ahead.
The Mayor first announced his intention to quit the current City Hall building near Tower Bridge in June citing a looming rent rise which would have seen the Greater London Authority paying up to £9.6m a year from 2021.
Although the landlords have offered a reduction in return for signing a new lease, Mr Khan’s office say proceeding with the move to the Crystal building – which is owned by the GLA – will save £126m over ten years and “act as a catalyst” for the regeneration of Royal Docks.
Following completion of the move the Crystal will be renamed City Hall.
Mr Khan has confirmed that his teams will move to the new building and that while a proposal exists for Assembly Members to remain located in central London, all public Assembly business will be conducted at the Crystal.
Earlier this week the Labour group on the Assembly confirmed they would be based at the new HQ.
Group leader Len Duvall said: “We firmly believe that the institution of the GLA – which comprises the Mayor and London Assembly – is one entity that must remain together.
“We also believe this is essential for maintaining strong scrutiny, and though we account for twelve of twenty five Assembly Members, we believe our view is held by the majority of those on the Assembly.”
Some GLA teams will move to the London Fire Brigade’s HQ at Union Street in Southwark and staff will be able to work from home regularly, building on the success of home working during the pandemic.
Mayor Khan said: “My first priority will always be to protect funding for front-line services for Londoners.
“Given our huge budget shortfall, and without the support we should be getting from the Government, I simply cannot justify remaining at our current expensive office when I could be investing that money into public transport, the Met Police and the London Fire Brigade.
“The alternative to considering this move would be to cut the front-line services Londoners rely on.
“We all need to pull together to help London through this pandemic, and this is one direct change I can make to help protect Londoners from the damaging effects of the Government’s mishandling of this pandemic.
“I know that City Hall is a landmark building for many – but as Mayor I will always focus my severely limited budget resources on front-line public services and supporting Londoners and our recovery from this pandemic, rather than on high City Hall building costs.
“The Royal Docks is an amazing place, and we have the opportunity to turbo-charge the regeneration of the area, just as the opening of City Hall did for its surroundings.”