Fire Brigade plans move from Union Street HQ

The London Fire Brigade is making plans to leave its Union Street offices when the lease ends in 2027.

Fire Brigade plans move from Union Street HQ

The LFB moved in to the former Royal Mail parcels sorting office in Union Street in 2007, with the Queen performing the official opening the following February.

A report on options for the brigade's future HQ was signed off by London Fire Commissioner Andy Roe in August this year but has only been made public this month.

Whilst the LFB does have the option of renewing the lease in 2027, the brigade says the building is too big for its needs, and difficult to share with private sector businesses due to a lack of separation between different areas.

Possibilities under consideration include moving in with Transport for London at the Palestra building in Blackfriars Road.

The favoured option is to move the headquarters to a fire station somewhere in London which would be refurbished and extended to provide "an agile facility that supports hybrid working".

This is likely to see the principal offices of the capital's fire service leave SE1 for the first time since 1878 when the Metropolitan Fire Brigade - a precursor to the LFB - made Winchester House in Southwark Bridge Road its headquarters.

Winchester House is now used by the Haberdashers' Borough Academy secondary school.

Two of SE1's operational fire stations - Dockhead and Old Kent Road - can be ruled out of contention as potential HQs as they are both subject to private finance initiative (PFI) deals. The third SE1 fire station is Lambeth, which is part of the LFB's crumbling former HQ building.

Previous HQ still not yet redeveloped

16 years after moving to Union Street, the Fire Brigade still hasn't resolved the long-term future of its previous headquarters on Lambeth's Albert Embankment.

8 Albert Embankment was the organisation's home from 1937 to 2007 but the brigade has failed to come up with a development scheme that could get through the planning system.

Earlier this year London Fire Commissioner Andy Roe admitted that the two failed schemes for Albert Embankment had been "poorly conceived".

Blackfriars Road to become City Hall's zone 1 outpost

Greater London Authority staff will occupy a floor of TfL's Palestra building from late 2026

The Union Street building is also currently used by the Greater London Authority as an overflow (and central London outpost) for City Hall in Newham.

The GLA staff based at Union Street will move to TfL's Palestra building opposite Southwark Tube Station.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan this month answered a series of written questions from Conservative London Assembly member Emma Best about the move of GLA staff from Union Street to Palestra.

Mr Khan said that the budget for the relocation project was yet to be set.

"The move is part of the GLA group collaboration project to optimise the use of property holdings," said the Mayor.

"This takes into account the group-wide decision not to renew leases as they expire to ensure value for money across the existing GLA group estate."

Tags: London Fire Brigade, Greater London Authority, Bankside, Southwark, Politics & local government

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