STAFF have spoken of their anger and sorrow as they finished their last day at Portsmouth Land Registry.
In just 12 months, the building, which once housed a team of 200 workers, had seen numbers whittled down to just 70.
Yesterday, those remaining said a final farewell to the centre in St Michael’s Road, Portsmouth.
Jon Law, branch chairman of the Public and Commercial Services union, said: ‘After 28 years’ loyal service I am a typical example of the experienced staff that Land Registry is making redundant.
‘The office used to thrive with so many people, but towards the end it had turned into a ghost town.
‘So many of us made friends and like myself met our partners while working at the Land Registry and it’s those sorts of bonds that we will miss the most.
‘I have enjoyed my job and the friendships made.’
The closure was formally announced last March.
Portsmouth City Council has thrown a lifeline to the service by retaining an office for 20 staff members to offer some counter service.
Workers will be based in Great Western House, Isambard Brunel Road, for two years – after that the closest centre will be in Croydon.
Simon Jones, registration executive, of Glenthorne Road, Copnor, will be moving to the new office.
The 40-year-old said: ‘The slow dismemberment of staff has been the worst part.
‘Since the announcement, over the months people have either moved to another office or have decided upon a career change completely.
‘But I’m also very sad to say there is so much specialist knowledge that is going to waste really.
‘So many of them will have to start at the bottom and work their way up again.
‘I’m glad we’re going to have a smaller office, even if it’s only for two years.
‘We only managed to get that because of our union campaigns. I’m going to miss the friendships that have been made over the years.
‘I have worked here for 11 years, I met my partner here and now we have a son together.’
Worker David Prescott, 49, of Southampton, added: ‘It’s disappointing. ‘We don’t understand the rationale behind it.’