London’s new City Hall opened today to mixed reviews, as the building remains unfinished amid its £14m transformation.
The building, based in the Royal Docks and formerly a conference centre, is not expected to be completed until the end of February.
“I’m excited today that we are opening this new chapter in City Hall’s and London’s history,” London mayor Sadiq Khan said.
“I’m also optimistic that our presence here in the Royal Docks can act as a catalyst for greater economic activity, job creation and investment and the growth and success of local businesses.”
With building works still in progress, the new City Hall will only be open for the meetings when the mayor opts for it.
Leader of the Greater London Authority Conservatives, Susan Hall told City A.M.: “Our previous centrally located City Hall was purpose built for the GLA. Whichever way you look at it, our new ‘City Hall’ is not in central London.
“It’s incredibly difficult to get to, and the distance will no doubt put off many Londoners from visiting and fundamentally undermines our ability to scrutinise the mayor.”
Khan instigated the move in a bid to save some £61m over five years, however, the London Assembly, the cross-party scrutiny body also based at the building, has disputed the figure.
“We are yet to see the final figures but the move could end up costing us the equivalent of nearly two years rent if we had stayed where we were,” Hall added. “Nobody is happy about this. Even Sadiq Khan agreed with me the chamber was far too cold today.”