Local Government Minister criticises Newham offices

Posted on by John Cronin

The Local Government Minister Bob Neill has criticised a London council for spending money on re-fitted award-winning offices.

In response to a BBC investigation, Bob Neill has said Newham Councillors and staff were “living the ultimate Champagne socialist lifestyle on the taxpayer”. This reaction comes as the build cost of the new Newham Council office building has been revealed as totalling £18.7m. A spokesperson for the Taxpayers’ Alliance said: “This glitzy refit is the sort of thing you might expect of a five star hotel”. In their defence the council has stated that taxpayers within the borough would see annual savings of £7m a year.

Newham office interiorThe British Council for Offices organisation gave a “fit-out” award to the new office scheme at their annual awards ceremony earlier this month. The award is given for a quality fit-out that “betray no signs of opulence or financial exuberance and offers outstanding value for money”.

The new building replaces some 50 existing offices that were located in various buildings and portakabins across the East London Borough. The revamped offices are located in Newham Dockside. By adopting a shared-desk system the offices have 1,780 work spaces for 2,500 staff – a ratio of 1.4 people per desk. The building, known as Building 1000, has a total floor space of approximately 166,840 sq ft.

Architects of the scheme Sheppard Robson suggested that the offices needed a “wow factor” to make the building interior work and to generate a more collaborative work environment. More images of the office interior are available here and also at Overbury who were the main contractors for the building.

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