Portsmouth City Council's civic offices could be downsized or replaced as they are too big

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Portsmouth City Council is choosing between downsizing or replacing its civic offices because they’re too big.

The council’s ruling cabinet will meet next week to discuss a report which explores options for the building in Guildhall Square. Council documents state that potential uses for the existing offices are being produced as well as the option of “possible alternative locations”. A report said the council said it needs to consider what “it will look like in coming years” in terms of its services and office space needs.

“It is widely acknowledged that the current building is too large for its current use,” it added. “An average of around 1,000 staff attend the office on a daily basis, leaving large areas unused. This is a unique opportunity to review and potentially deliver significant organisational change, which will enable the council to deliver its services to residents and visitors in a way which is fit for the future. The project will seek to downsize the accommodation whilst enabling the modernisation of service provision to achieve operational efficiencies, reduced carbon emissions and respond to changing customer expectations.”

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It adds a new building could provide an opportunity for the council to make money through alternative uses and could spark a “wider city centre regeneration” such as in Crawley where chief executive Natalie Brahma-Pearl held the same role at the council before moving to Portsmouth at the end of last year.

Portsmouth Civic OfficesPortsmouth Civic Offices
Portsmouth Civic Offices

In March of last year, Crawley Borough Council unveiled its new town hall which is used by council staff on the lower 3.5 floors, while the upper 5.5 floors are designated as “A-grade commercial office space”. When it opened to the public, the leader of the borough council, councillor Michael Jones, said the new civic offices transformed a key town centre regeneration site. He claimed that the building provides better facilities for residents and an improved workplace for officers, councillors and council staff.

He added: “The new Town Hall also saves us money by being a better use of space and it reduces our carbon emissions because it’s a far more energy-efficient building. It will also generate income for us when we have tenants on the upper floors.”