£5,200 a week to keep West End Lane offices empty

Last week, I wrote about Camden’s plan to dispose of 156 West End Lane, commonly known as the Travis Perkins building.

Credit to Camden for getting back to me promptly with the exact cost of keeping the building open up to disposal.

“The projected weekly cost for 156 West End Lane is £5,233 and allows for the following running costs provision whilst vacant:

  • Business rates – sizeable part of the budget representing around 75% of the total cost; taking into account any reduction in liability for the building being vacant for 3 months
  • Utilities ~ low spend but supply retained to enable ease of access and compliance
  • Removals of furniture prior to disposal
  • H&S Compliance – provision for water management and fire safety until disposal
  • Security – control measures adopted to mitigate against adverse possession (squatting)

The property also includes a small contingency to allow for any unforeseen repair to the property including non-statutory planned preventative maintenance i.e. security alarm.”

Given that we’re looking at around three years before this building is sold, that’s somewhere in the region of £750,000 in total. Naturally, the building can’t be left to fall into disrepair and it’s not a huge sum of money in the grand scheme of things but, at a time when budgets are squeaky tight, couldn’t some other use be made of the space (for a charge) during that time, allowing Camden to recoup some of its cost?

One commenter on the previous article suggests that the guide price for the sale of the building is £25 million. Seems a bit low to me, but I’m not an expert. Another commenter wrote:

“I’d like to see the empty office space being used, it’s criminal to keep it empty, there are many possible temporary uses for it – accommodation, business, art etc. Eg. in Holland they house short-term tenants (on 5 day notice terms) at very affordable prices to fend off potential squatters, a win-win.”

Camden likes to see itself as an innovative council – here’s a great opportunity to demonstrate it AND save some money.