City Hall move to East London delayed by security and renovation setbacks

The London Assembly’s move from City Hall to an East London building has been postponed due to delays with refurbishment and security, the Local Democracy Reporting Service understands.

The Assembly is due to leave City Hall by November 26, but delays to refurbishments at its new home at the Crystal building in Newham mean that it will need to use a temporary venue for at least two weeks before the move can be made.

A spokesperson for London Mayor Sadiq Khan said that despite the setback, the move would save the taxpayer £61 million over five years.

City Hall has been the seat of the Greater London Authority since opening in 2002.

The building has been leased by the GLA from the Kuwaiti-owned St Martin’s Property Group at a cost of £11 million a year on a 25-year contract.

However, the terms of the contract allow the authority to move to another venue temporarily at the end of 2021.

Some Assembly meetings will still be held at City Hall in early December after it leaves on November 26.

The venue that will host the GLA before it can move to the Crystal building in the East End has not yet been confirmed, though the Barbican Centre has been mentioned as a possible venue.

London Assembly sources told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that a number of essential changes to the Crystal building, including security and equipping the building for Assembly sessions, have not yet been completed.

Sadiq Khan’s office said that the money saved from the move would be invested in essential services and housing.

A spokesperson for the Mayor of London said: “The Greater London Authority (GLA) is on track to move to the Crystal building in the Royal Docks by Christmas, saving taxpayers £61m over five years.

“As part of the relocation, the GLA will leave its current home near London Bridge on November 26.

“Assembly meetings scheduled for the first week of December will still take place at the current City Hall and arrangements will be put in place to hold Assembly meetings due for later in the month at a suitable alternative location.”

Green Party Assembly member Caroline Russell said: “It’s disappointing that the move to the Crystal is delayed, and that the London Assembly is set to be without a home for a few weeks.

“We know that the relocation will make it harder for many people to access City Hall, and I fear any delay will only create further complications for the Londoners we support.”

Newham Council was contacted for comment.

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