HL Deb 14 May 1992 vol 537 c11WA
Lord Hylton

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many square feet of offices, owned or leased by governmental bodies, including the County Hall of London, are currently vacant in central London; and what plans they have for re-using or disposing of this space.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment (Lord Strathclyde)

There is currently 1.9m sq ft of vacant office space on the Common User Estate in Central London. Of this 868,000 sq ft is vacant for refurbishment, and 56,000 sq ft has been allocated and is awaiting occupation. Some 704,000 sq ft of surplus space will be lost as a result of lease expires, over the next five years, but Property Holdings is constantly seeking to allocate space for occupation by departments or to dispose of surplus accommodation by surrender to landlords, assignment or sub-letting to non-government bodies. Property Holdings seeks to rationalise vacant accommodation where it can to create more viable areas. However, the remaining vacant space is in pockets, mainly within the range of 5,000 sq ft—20,000 sq ft, and much of it has drawbacks in terms of quality location and suitability for use by government departments or private tenants. In respect of County Hall, the property is not in government ownership and its disposal is the responsibility of the owner, the London Residuary Body.