Agenda item

DISPOSAL OF OLD TOWN HALL AND SOUTH STREET CAR PARK AND IMPACT ON CIVIC CENTRE DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY

Bromley Town ward

Minutes:

Report DRR17/067

 

Following the Executive’s decision on 22 March 2017 to terminate the Development Agreement for the disposal of the Old Town Hall, it was agreed to seek alternative uses for the site. Cushman and Wakefield had been instructed to advise as to how the Old Town Hall site could be utilised as part of the Civic Centre Development Strategy and they had now reported that use of the Old Town Hall for either a democratic hub or to house staff was not viable due to the costs of refurbishment and the inflexibility of the space within the building, especially as the building was Grade 2 Listed. In addition, officers were proposing consideration of a new option for the Civic Centre site, involving retaining the Palace, East and West Wings and Council Chamber. This work would be carried out by Cushman and Wakefield and was expected to cost £40-45k. A PDS Member commented that this should take into account the need to reduce the use and storage of paper on the Civic Centre site. 

The report had been scrutinised by the Executive and Resources PDS Committee on 29th November 2017 and the Committee had resolved that the matter be deferred pending the preparation of a further report setting out full costings for six different options.  The Chairman of the Committee expressed concern at the payments being made to Cushman and Wakefield and urged that more work be carried out in-house.  At the Leader’s request, officers agreed to provide the schedule of rates for Cushman and Wakefield, who were involved under the TFM contract with Amey. Officers confirmed that these rates were at a discount and were checked by benchmarking to ensure that they remained below full market rates. 

 

A Member asked whether the Area Action Plan (AAP) needed to be refreshed to take account of new possibilities for these sites. Officers were not able to confirm when this would need to happen, but the planning position was clear to potential developers from the current AAP and the emerging Local Plan. The Leader stated that he would be interested in considering a joint venture approach in addition to the outright disposal option as part of the Council’s marketing strategy and, carefully noting the Executive and Resources PDS Committee Chairman’s comments, invited the PDS Committee to become closely involved in shaping future developments at both the old Town Hall and the Civic Centre sites as plans for the future use of both became clearer. 

 

RESOLVED that

 

(1) It is noted that the Old Town Hall Complex and South Street Car Park freeholds cannot be utilised for the Council’s own purposes and therefore to agree that both sites should be marketed for disposal on the open market on an unconditional basis.

(2) It is noted that annual revenue savings of £110k will result if the Old Town Hall and car park are sold.

(3) It is noted that a new option for the Development Strategy of the Civic Centre has been identified which will require further appraisal which is estimated to cost between £40-45k and that once the cost has been clarified (within the aforementioned range) that the Resources Portfolio Holder be authorised to approve this work.

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