At its November meeting the RCVS council agreed, in principle, the sale of the building and for the RCVS and its London-based staff to move to different premises. The sale of the building and the move will be overseen by the college’s Estate Strategy Project board headed by former RCVS president Barry Johnson and current and former RCVS council members and staff.
The RCVS has been based at its current premises in 62-64 Horseferry Road for 25 years but, due to a projected increase in the number of staff and the need for more up-to-date and modern facilities, over the past few years the college has been looking into its estates strategy, and this forms part of its current strategic plan.
Alternatives, including expanding the current premises by adding or expanding floors, have been explored but because the building is in a conservation area it is unlikely such expansions would get planning permission from Westminster Council.
Lizzie Lockett, RCVS chief executive, said: “For a number of years it has become apparent that it is fast approaching the time at which our current premises will no longer be fit for purpose due to an increase in the number of RCVS staff – something that is projected to continue in the future – the ongoing need to use the building for disciplinary hearings, which take over the lion’s share of available meeting space, and the need for better and more modern facilities.
“Even putting our need for increased space on one side, Belgravia House requires major refurbishment in key areas such as air-conditioning and lifts, which would require staff to vacate the premises for up to 18 months, which would be costly and disruptive.”
She added: “We are therefore pleased that council has recognised the need for the college to move somewhere that better reflects our needs and, over the coming months, we will be exploring a number of different options for new premises.
“In parallel to this we have put out an invitation to tender for agents to manage the sale of the building. The plan is for the arrangement to include lease-back so that we have time to find a suitable premises and enabling us to act quickly when we do.”
Any organisations that are interested in putting forward a tender to manage the sale of the building should contact Corrie McCann, RCVS director of operations, on 020 7202 0724. Responses to tender are required by 30 November 2018.