Defra is set to join the Home Office and DCLG at 2 Marsham Street. Image by Steve Cadman under CC BY-SA 2.0
Staff at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs will soon be sharing offices with their Home Office and communities department colleagues, under relocation plans announced by Defra's permanent secretary Claire Moriarty.
In a move Defra claimed would eventually shear £2m-a-year from its property costs, staff currently spread across three different London sites will move to Westminster's 2 Marsham Street – which has served as the Home Office's headquarters since 2005 and DCLG's base since 2014 – by early next year.
At present, Defra and its agencies are based at Ergon House, 9 Millbank, and Nobel House. The leases on Ergon House and 9 Millbank end in June, and those sites will be redeveloped into residential property, with Nobel House staff also moving to Marsham Street.
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"The expiry of leases at two of our properties has made it possible to take this opportunity to bring Defra group people in London together into one purpose-built office," said Moriarty.
"We are now busy drawing up a detailed relocation schedule with the current occupants of 2 Marsham Street with my aim for Defra group to complete the move by early 2018."
The move to a shared site comes against the backdrop of wider government plans to cut the number of sites occupied by departments by 75% by 2023, with organisations increasingly encouraged to work in multi-department "Government Hubs".
The government's central London estate, which has already been reduced from 181 separate properties in 2010 to 54 today, is also in line for further reductions. Last year's government-wide property strategy said the current Whitehall footprint would be cut to "20 efficient, fit-for-purpose buildings by 2025, supported by smarter working".
The Cabinet Office has already confirmed that 6,000 full-time civil service and public sector jobs – including HMRC roles – will move from Whitehall to Canary Wharf by 2018.