LondonNet News Headlines
|Ken Wants to Go Home|
- Mayor eyes up old County Hall haunt
COUNTY HALL, the building opposite the Houses of Parliament nowadays more associated with fish and chips than government, could once more house London's elected representatives if new mayor Ken Livingstone gets his way.
Livingstone lorded it at County Hall as leader of the Greater London Council in the early 1980s, and aides day he wants to return there with the new Greater London Assembly instead of giving the go-ahead to the proposed new municipal building further east along the south bank.
"County Hall would be an ideal location as the home of the capital's government," said a spokesperson for the mayor.
Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher sold County Hall to property speculators when she abolished the Livingstone-dominated GLC and since then its insides have been turned into a mixture of, among other things, luxury flats, a McDonald's restaurant and the London Aquarium. County Hall is also right next to the London Eye.
Luckily for Livingstone, the building's current owners, the Shirayama Corporation, have kept the old debating chamber intact and appear keen to resurrect its former political status. "We want to boost confidence in County Hall," said Shirayama's Mac Okamoto, who also offered to charge the GLA a reduced rent.
A wholesale move by London's new government to County Hall would sound the death knell of plans to erect a huge, glass, oval council building, designed by Norman Foster, near London Bridge.