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Brighton and Hove City Council muse selling Kings House
A council headquarters could be sold off as part of plans to balance the books.
Kings House has been home to Brighton and Hove City Council since the local authority was created.
The Argus understands bosses are looking at selling the building at the corner of Grand Avenue and Kingsway in Hove to save money in the face of unprecedented Government cuts.
Leading estate agents in the city recently valued the building at tens of millions of pounds.
However, last night council chiefs would not publicly be drawn on the issue, simply saying staff constantly monitored its property portfolio.
A council spokeswoman said: “We have no agreed plans to vacate Kings House.
“But the council constantly reviews its operational portfolio to ensure it is used in the best possible way.
“In terms of office accommodation, we have a programme to reduce the number of office buildings as part of a larger project to modernise the ways we work.
“The first two phases will save us about £800,000 and provide much-needed capital investment.”
The building is the workplace of hundreds of public servants, including the local authority’s senior officers, senior councillors, finance and human resources teams.
A wider review of the local authority offices in recent years has seen the creation of “hot desks” in some offices such as Bartholomew House in Brighton while other rented buildings have been vacated to save money.
Town hall sources said councillors, staff and trade union representatives would have to be consulted on any decision to vacate Kings House. It is believed possible uses could include a mixture of high-value flats and affordable housing.
The news has emerged just days after Jason Kitcat, the council’s former cabinet member for finance, became leader of the local authority.
The building was built as seven Italianate-style mansion blocks in 1872.
It used to be the head office of Seeboard before it was bought by the local authority in the 1990s ahead of the merging of the Brighton and Hove borough councils. In 1974 it became Grade II listed.
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