1 Victoria Street closes its doors in 'major step forward' for estate rationalisation

Lease ends on former BEIS HQ as Government Property Agency continues its efforts to shrink the government estate
Photo: William Barton/Alamy Stock Photo

The Government Property Agency has closed the doors of 1 Victoria Street, the former headquarters of the business department, as part of its estates rationalisation programme.

The building – which was the HQ for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and then hosted staff from its successor departments, the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, Department for Science, Innovation and Technology and Department for Business and Trade – closed its doors last month.

Staff moving from the offices are being relocated to government-wide hub buildings at 3-8 Whitehall Place, 55 Whitehall and 22-26 Whitehall, along with other sites in Whitehall.

In September 2022, CSW revealed £20.4m was being spent to refurbish to refurbish government-owned buildings at the north end of Whitehall in preparation for the 1 Victoria Street closure.

The ending of the lease on the building – which had to be temporarily closed for cleaning last summer when insects were found in DESNZ's office space – will save around £30m in running costs a year, according to the GPA.

The closure is part of a cost-saving effort to reduce the overall size of the Whitehall estate.

As well as ending leases on offices that are no longer needed, the Government Property Strategy set out plans to sell off 20 Whitehall buildings – up from 16 in the previous strategy – in a bid to save the taxpayer £1.5bn.

Announcing the property strategy in August 2022, then-government efficiency minister Jacob Rees-Mogg said “expensive office space in London” was being “underutilised” and that cutting the size of the public estate would save money.

The move is a “major step forward in consolidating the government office estate and reducing the number of buildings in central London”, the GPA said.

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