Second government hub in Croydon gets go-ahead

GPA contractors begin work on Croydon hub, with Home Office officials to start move by 2024
A view of Ruskin Square, including HMRC's existing office

By Richard Johnstone

23 Jul 2020

The government has been granted planning permission to create a second hub in Croydon, with officials from the Home Office expected to move into their new home by late 2024.

The Government Property Agency has secured a 25-year lease for the site at 2 Ruskin Square, where it will neighbour the HM Revenue and Customs 1 Ruskin Square regional centre.

The move to the new office is expected to save around £8m a year in running costs. The GPA said the hub will provide a flexible workspace and enable civil servants to benefit from lessons learned from the remote-working arrangements of recent months.

This is the latest development to be confirmed under the government hubs programme, which was initially led by HMRC as the tax and benefits agency reduced its office footprint from 170 to 13, but is now overseen by the GPA.

So far, 17 office hubs have been announced in areas including Glasgow, Belfast, Newcastle, Leeds, Manchester, Nottingham, Cardiff, Birmingham and Bristol to support around 60,000 civil servants. The second Croydon hub forms part of the second wave of announcements, which has already seen property deals agreed for a second Birmingham hub and one in Peterborough.

Steven Boyd, GPA chief executive, said: “The government hubs programme is creating strong regional centres where civil servants can build their careers in modern state-of-the-art shared workspaces, enabling efficient, collaborative and flexible working, driving engagement and improving staff productivity and wellbeing. This will also reduce government operating costs as we dispose of unnecessary office space and streamline our estate.

“We will continue to work with government departments, local authorities, investors and developers across the UK to take forward this ambitious programme.”

The announcement comes after chancellor Rishi Sunak told departments to set out their plans to better manage the government estate, including proposals to relocate offices and arm's-length bodies outside London, as part of the 2020 Comprehensive Spending Review.

HMRC has been based in the 1 Ruskin Square office since 2017. Around 2,000 of its staff are based there, which could rise to around 2,700. Last year, CSW took a tour of the hub to get reaction from civil servants to the move. Read the full report here.

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