Council celebrates five years at the Civic Offices, Bexleyheath
On 12 May, the London Borough of Bexley celebrates five years in the former Woolwich building in Bexleyheath.
The move to the new building has resulted in sizeable savings and the construction of hundreds of new homes, including affordable housing.
The landmark building stood empty for eight years before the Council moved in 2014. It bought the building from Tesco, who had planned to build a superstore on the site. The cost of buying the site and refurbishing the building were met from the income received from the sale of the site of the old Civic Offices.
Most Council staff are now based in the building and the move has saved around £2 million a year of Council tax payers’ money.
“Bringing people together on this site has proved a great success, because it has reduced our operating costs and meant the old sites we occupied could be redeveloped with much-needed new housing,” said Councillor Teresa O’Neill OBE, Leader of the Council. “As well as being our offices, the building is used for a range of events - like our Ageing Well day and our Apprenticeship evening – so local people also benefit.”
Before the Council moved in, work was carried out to adapt the front entrance of the building and to add a Council Chamber, meeting rooms and extra offices.
Tesco sold much of the area originally occupied by the Woolwich to a developer, who built houses and flat on the land at the rear.
The new Civic Offices were formally opened by the then Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, on 7 October 2014.
Before moving to the Civic Offices, Council staff were based at various locations around the borough, which since have been redeveloped -
• The former offices in Slade Green are now home to new houses and flats, a new library and community centre.
• The former offices at Hillview are the site of a residential development.
• Crayford Town Hall is home to a residential development and GP surgery.
• A new mixed used development is under construction on the old Civic Offices site in Bexleyheath, comprising 518 one, two and three-bed flats and retail units.
• Wyncham House in Sidcup is now leased to a local insurance company.
The pagoda-style building at 2 Watling Street was originally built as the headquarters of the Woolwich Building Society, who moved into its offices in 1989. It was closed in 2006, after the Society was taken over by Barclays Bank.