Arch-waste of space? Tower faces being left almost empty
PUBLISHED: 16:48 09 June 2011 | UPDATED: 17:04 09 June 2011
»The much-hated Archway Tower could be left practically empty by next summer, politicians are warning.
The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) has announced plans to relocate workers to Birmingham by February next year from the huge office block beside the Tube station in Junction Road.
The Court of Protection, which works closely with the OPG, could also vacate in 2012.
The only other tenant remaining is family court organisation Cafcass, which occupies one of the 15 floors.
Paul Convery, Islington Council’s executive member for planning and regeneration, said: “We are concerned that Archway Tower will be almost empty which is not good for Archway and could have a damaging effect on local businesses.
“We are continuing to look at ways of revitalising Archway Tower and finding new people to move in.
“We are exploring sharing services with Camden, Islington and Haringey.
“Our backroom staff could be based in somewhere like Archway Tower which is close to Camden and the Haringey border.”
Hak Huseyin, chairman of the Archway Town Centre Management Group, said: “It is an iconic tower whether we like it or not and having it empty does no one any favours.”
The tower is owned by Transport for London (TfL) and managed by a private development company which owns the lease.
Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour MP for Islington North, plans to raise questions in the House of Parliament this week regarding Archway Tower.
He said: “This building has been a huge waste of public money.
“It is a big tower which should be put to good use. One suggestion has been converting it into accommodation.”
Mr Corbyn said councillors had tried unsuccessfully to force the government to use a compulsory purchase order to buy the lease for the tower from a private development company around 10 years ago.
The MP added: “It is economic madness leasing the building out to a private company which, in turn, rents it back to the public sector.
“The current situation is the result of several bad decisions over many years.”
TfL and the lease owner, Asset Developments Ltd, were unavailable for comment.
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