Sale of Hove Town Hall and council HQ being considered

Posted On 03 Oct 2012 at 5:42 pm

Up to two thirds of Hove Town Hall and the whole of King’s House could be sold as Brighton and Hove City Council reviews which properties it can afford to keep.

The disposals could save taxpayers almost £1 million a year.

King’s House, the council’s headquarters on Hove seafront, may be sold for conversion to flats while Hove Town Hall is more likely to be sold or leased to businesses.

The council said that it was looking at ways to make substantial savings and help reduce its property portfolio costs.

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The change would happen under the council’s “transformation workstyles” project which is looking at modernising the way that it works.

The aim is to improve “customer access” and “service delivery”, make best use of office space, save money and cut the council’s carbon footprint.

A report outlining options has been prepared for the meeting of the council’s Policy and Resources Committee on Thursday 11 October.

The council said that no firm decision had been made to sell the two buildings and further investigation was needed

Two main options are considered viable.

The first would entail selling all of King’s House and two thirds of Hove Town Hall. The remaining office space in Hove Town Hall would be upgraded for council use. Extra office space could be bought or leased elsewhere if needed.

A second option looks at the possibility of selling King’s House and converting public spaces in Hove Town Hall to make better use of the room available instead of finding another office.

The report recommends that councillors give permission for officers to look into likely demand for the buildings on the open market before any final decision is made.

If deemed viable the changes could be complete within three years.

However, the report points out there are a number of assumptions to test including planning hurdles and the potential loss of employment premises in Hove.

A dormant property market is said to present another potential risk.

It is estimated that the changes could save between £870,000 and £990,000 a year in running costs and could produce substantial productivity savings of about £2 million.

A council spokesman said:  “We said months ago we were looking into rationalising our properties to help change the way we work and this is where we’re up to.

“We have a duty to minimise costs to taxpayers. If we can work out of fewer premises that’s what any business would do – and that’s what residents would expect us to do.”


  1. Vodkaman Reply

    I’d be happy to see the whole of Hove Town Hall razed to the ground…ugly and I’d miss it as much as the old Churchill Sq!

  2. Valerie Paynter, Reply

    It may be ugly, but Hove Town Hall reminds us we once had our own Council, were once a town in our own right. Town Halls exist for civic rituals and events that are about the town they serve.

    It is plug ugly outside but its interior was once a well-daylit, serenely designed public space with offices and chambers around that on the inside. The Atrium was filled with living green plants that filtered the light falling on Reception so they were not blinded by sunlight.

    Then to save a couple of hundred Pounds they took away the plants, leaving the window area of the atrium defaced, vandalised.

    THEN! To deal with the sunlight problem created by removing the plants, they gave themselves planning consent and spent £3,000 on grey film over all the windows to cut glare (and the really beautiful quality of daylight in the public spaces area – which became gloomy). You can see the peeling, bubbled stuff on some office windows on the Norton Road side…..

    With what is planned, they might as well demolish and start again because the proposals for add-ons will uglify it further.

  3. Hoveman Reply

    They’ll have the option – if they want it – of moving into Amex House in Edward Street when the site is handed back to the city!

    I agree with the re-development of King’s house. It’s a waste of a building of that kind to use it as office space. A hotel would be the better option.. I believe that’s what it was originally.

  4. Valerie Paynter, Reply

    Kings House did have a period of use as a hotel and I agree with you on using it for that, Hoveman.

    Amex House is due to be demolished once they all shift into the new building adjacent. But even if it were to be kept (and I think it is an interesting piece of ‘Landmark Architecture’. The lurid blue windows jar, but make then black and it would be quite cool.

    Use of Amex for the council would further isolate Hove and Portslade from their conquerors. So no.

    They should big up Hove Town Hall’s civic use, demolish the carpark opposite and purpose-build an office annex (with an underground corridor link to the Town Hall main building)or demolish the whole thing and start again.

  5. Clive Reply

    Well, I would hate to see Hove Town Hall go, I think it’s a fine building of its era – the early seventies, a period of building that has yet to become fashionable, but surely will. (Remember how Georgian buildings were thought to be dispensable in the early twentieth century, and Victorian architecture was routinely trashed until Betjeman et al persuaded people it was worth something). The Town Hall just needs a good clean and refurb, in and out, though sadly it’s unlikely to get it anytime soon.

    I find all this Hove separatist stuff a bit strange. The present council’s main offices are in Hove, after all. The old council, having been responsible for planning enormities like Grand Avenue, strikes me as nothing to mourn. The alternative to the Brighton/Hove marriage would have been much worse – union with Shoreham was the other option on the table I believe, which would have created a nice rotten borough for the Tories, but done precious little else for Hove. So, floreat West Brighton!

    Oh yes, nothing wrong with selling King’s house – a bonfire of a Bassamite vanities would be no bad thing.

  6. Hoveman Reply

    Valerie Paynter … The windows in Amex House are blue because they very very thick.. About 4 or 5cm laminate of glass.. Just an ‘interesting’ tit-bit

  7. Valerie Paynter, Reply

    Hi Hoveman. That glass is also tinted. It does not possess the greeny tone of ordinary glass. It is fiercely blue. It needed to be something other than that naturally greeny tone (something to do with the silica derived from sand, maybe?)to ‘work’. I can see that. But the blue is sickening and perhaps the reason why this building has not attracted a Listing.

  8. Vodkaman Reply

    Hi Valerie – wow the old Amex building with black windows would be AMAZING!! You’re a genius!…and I would have liked to have seen the biodome-like interior of HTH that you’ve described.

    Clive – I take your point, I hate to think of the Regency and Victorian we’ve lost over the years but I just can’t believe the current HTH will ever be beautiful, though I agree Valerie it’s better on the inside. You’ll me telling me that I’m soon to be craving a mullet hairstyle!

    Has anyone been to Tate, St.Ives? Now there’s a good building. Imaging something like that as a civic space…yes please.

  9. Valerie Paynter, Reply

    The Greens talk the talk about one planet living and dream of big dreams but they could take that one small step at a time of walking the walk by reinstating the lushly planted atrium in Hove Town Hall, designed in for a reason and still needed. It also helped humidify the atmosphere. Negative ions and all that too in an electronically polluted (positive ions) space.

    Greens please take note.

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