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Brighton council in Hove Town Hall and King's House sell-off?
A council headquarters and most of a town hall could be sold in a multimillion pound deal to cut costs.
As it looks to combat Government cuts, Brighton and Hove City Council has revealed a radical proposal to relocate hundreds of its 8,000-strong workforce.
This could see the local authority sell two-thirds of Hove Town Hall in Norton Road as well as its Kings House seafront headquarters in Grand Avenue, Hove.
It comes five months after The Argus revealed the local authority was considering selling the latter, which is grade II listed and valued by the local authority at £13 million.
As well as an immediate cash boost of up to £8.7 million, the council believes it could save between £870,000 and £990,000 a year in running costs.
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.”
The plan is one of two serious proposals to be discussed by the council’s influential policy and resources committee next Thursday.
The first, which would raise £18 million, would see all of Kings House and two-thirds of Hove Town Hall sold.
Staff would be relocated to office space in the remainder of Hove Town Hall, which would be upgraded, and other sites could be bought. This would cost between £9.3 million and £15.9 million, giving a potential profit of up to £8.7 million.
It is understood while Kings House could become residential, parts of Hove Town Hall would more likely become commercial units.
A second option involves the sale of Kings House and the conversion of the public spaces in Hove Town Hall into office space.
This would cost £12.2 million but would only lead to a potential profit of £1.1 million.
Councillors are expected to 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.
Garry Peltzer Dunn, a Conservative councillor and former leader of Hove Borough Council, said: “My heart says I am totally against disposing of Hove Town Hall.
“But from what I understand this is just a proposal so we will see what comes about from exploring the options.”
When asked if it could lead to the city ditching the name of Hove from its full title, Coun Peltzer Dunn said: “Over my dead body.”
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