HMRC signs lease for Stratford regional hub

HMRC has signed a 25-year lease for its Stratford regional hub with the tax authority planning to move 3,800 employees into the building from late 2020, with the East London building becoming the ninth lease that HMRC has signed out of the 13 regional centres

The government has agreed to lease 240,000 sq ft at the new Westfield development, 14 Westfield Avenue, Stratford, London, which will accommodate 3,800 civil servants from 2020.

14 Westfield Avenue will be a new commercial space located next to Westfield Stratford City, the shopping centre, and a short distance from Stratford tube and railway stations. The 12 storey building is developed by Westfield Europe Development limited and HMRC will be located on the top eight floors.

Stratford will also be home to a ‘customer laboratory’ to help HMRC test new services with customers, eg, by observing how they interact with the tax authority online.

Jon Thompson, chief executive of HMRC, said: ‘HMRC has a long-established presence in London and this regional centre in Stratford marks the next step in HMRC’s transformation into a modern, digitally-advanced tax authority. It will bring compliance teams together with sophisticated IT and data analytics to increase our effectiveness in cracking down on tax cheats.’

The Stratford hub forms part of HMRC’s office restructure project where thousands of HMRC staff will relocate to a small number of locations from the current 137 local offices and centres across the country. Up to 6,000 redundancies are expected due to the geographic relocations.

Moving to regional centres will save more than £300m up to 2025, with annual cost savings of around £90m from 2026, while improving customer service and modernising how HMRC work.

Peter Miller, Chief Operating Officer of Westfield Europe said: ‘Stratford is an established office destination with unrivalled amenities including superior transport connectivity which will be enhanced with the opening of Crossrail in 2019. It is also home to the UK’s number one retail and leisure destination, Westfield Stratford City.

‘There is expanding residential development in the area and the proposed Cultural and Education District will open new sites for the London College of Fashion and University College of the Arts, London, UCL East as well as spaces from Victoria and Albert Museum and Sadler’s Wells.’

Richard Norton, director of tenant representation at JLL, said: ‘JLL advised HMRC on suitable East London locations before selecting Westfield’s development. The rigorous process included a broad range of criteria as well as cost efficiency considerations. The excellent building will provide a modern workspace to facilitate the coming together of a number of teams and is bolstered by outstanding transport connectivity.’

Report by Amy Austin


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