Council to sell Hove HQ for housing and rent out part of town hall

Posted On 04 Sep 2013 at 4:19 pm

The council wants to sell its seafront headquarters, King’s House, for housing and move more staff into a refurbished Hove Town Hall.

It also plans to let about a quarter of the town hall for commercial use and build a roof-top extension, adding a floor to the northern part of the building.

Premises used for social care in Buckingham Road would also be sold.

But questions about the future of the Citizens Advice Bureau – currently based in Hove Town Hall – are expected to be raised.

Brighton and Hove City Council said that the changes were “phase three” of its “Workstyles” project, aimed at making better and more efficient use of its property portfolio.

A report to a special meeting of the council’s Policy and Resources Committee next Thursday (12 September) sets out the case.

Councillor Leo Littman

Councillor Leo Littman

The council said: “King’s House could be sold in proposals to improve the way the council works while delivering big savings to invest in efficiency measures.

“Selling the building, valued at an estimated £9 million, would raise funds for better IT systems, energy efficiency and digital communication.

“It would also help reduce the authority’s property portfolio costs.

“The change is being proposed under phase three of the ‘Workstyles’ project that looks at modernising the council’s business.

“The authority aims to change the way it works to improve customer access and service delivery, make best use of office space, save money and cut its carbon footprint.”

Three options are being considered. The preferred option involves selling King’s House, a grade II listed building, to complete the work styles programme.

The council said: “It would include refurbishing outdated offices at Hove Town Hall to modern standards and equipping them with modern technology. Empty space in the building would become offices.

“Around a quarter of the building would also be released for commercial use which would generate further income for service improvements and smarter working methods.

“It is estimated the changes could save approximately £700,000 per year in running costs.

“If sold, King’s House is thought to be suitable for housing, subject to planning permission. It would include both private and social housing.

“Among benefits to the city would be an injection of almost £2 million of government New Homes Bonus funding over six years.”

Councillor Leo Littman, the ruling Green Party’s lead member for finance, said: “This proposal to move offices will help modernise the council and allow us to better serve the needs of the community.

Bin strike 2“It will allow us to deliver services more efficiently and make better use of our buildings.

“Combining this move with the more effective use of technology it will make possible will save money.

“Not only will this benefit the people of the city, it will also give our staff extra flexibility, allowing them to achieve a better work-life balance. It will also help to improve energy efficiency.”

New technology was installed at Bartholomew House in 2011 in phase one of the Workstyles programme.

About 500 staff were able to use the new technology work more flexibly across three of five floors in the refurbished building in Bartholomew Square, opposite Brighton Town Hall.

The ground floor was extended to create a customer service centre.

Phase two consisted of three major projects, involving 700 staff and the opening of a new customer service centre at Hove Town Hall in February this year.

The customer service centre brought together council staff and Sussex Police after the force closed the old police station in Holland Road. It was sold to the council for use as a school.

Another element of phase two involved bringing the vast majority of the Children and Families Service Team together on one site.

By basing them at the Moulsecoomb Hub, the council said that it had increased collaboration at modern facilities for staff and customers.

The rest of Bartholomew House has also been renovated.

  1. Uncle Protein Reply

    Selling Kings House means more money made available to put towards the ‘traveller’ budget…

  2. Brian Simons Reply

    Hello. I have hired the whole of the Banqueting Suite of the Hove Town Hall for the last 18 years to hold a regular Art Deco Fair 6 times a year which of course includes and have included the livelihoods of some 50 professional and part time professional dealers as well as my partner and myself. This has become somewhat of a ‘cherished’ event and good publicity over the years for the Halls. I am concerned that if your plans go ahead we can’t use these spaces any more much into the long term future. Is that right? These developments are causing all of us serious concerns as well as I am sure for other regular loyal users, citizens of Brigthon & Hove who hold these spaces and events dear. Please reply to this message.You may of course check my website on decofairs.co.uk to see for yourselves.

    Perhaps you can advise what serious success rates you believe you may have and over what time span you have for these plans and if they do include the ‘commercial refurbishement’ of these valued and probably ‘listed’ spaces?

    Where else may I address my concerns and ‘grievances’?

    Thanks. Brian

  3. Brian Simons Reply

    I am amazed I have no response form you. Brian .5th November

  4. saveHOVE Reply

    We will indeed lose many wonderful exhibition opportunities when Hove Town Hall is entirely changed and much of its interior lost.

    Clearly regular annual events are planned well in advance too. Kings House is being marketed for a year as offices before it can be offered for sale to a developer to convert to housing.

    For at least 18 months there will be no council meetings at Hove Town Hall either – they will be alternated between Brighton and Portslade town hall buildings.

    Traders, etc. who are in the dark and concerned would be well advised to check the council website’s Calendar of meetings, choose a full council or Policy & Resources meeting and submit a public question in writing which requires an answer on the day to one of these committee meetings. 100 words to the Administrator of the committee a minimum of 7 days before the date of the meeting.

    And you get to ask a supplementary question that you do not have to notify.

    And start looking for an alternative venue from 2016 on.

  5. Brian Reply

    I am reliably told (I think!) that October 2014 is the last bookable day for the Banqueting Suite and that the Town Hall Banqueting Suite will be being pulled down then!…can you please be honest here and clarify…you say to look for an alternative venue for 2016!!!

  6. Brian Simons Decofairs Reply

    Can you advise yet please of the last hire dates for the Banqueting Suite end 2014 and 2015? There appears to be some confusion since you ‘posted’ that hirers should look for new Venues from 2016!

  7. Brian Simons Decofairs Reply

    Still waiitng! Play the game, please!

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