The General Optical Council (GOC) has today (30 April) announced plans to move to a new, more modern office in the Farringdon area of London.
The regulator will receive an estimated £6.85m from the sale of its old office, a converted house on Harley Street. The exact figure will depend on inflation between now and the moving date.The GOC will surrender the lease on its current premises and expects to move by the end of the summer, once the new office space has been fitted out.
It has signed a 15-year lease on the new building at 10 Old Bailey, London, which is a short walk from Blackfriars and City Thameslink stations, as well as the St. Paul’s Tube station.
GOC director of resources, Josie Lloyd, said: “We’re looking forward to the move, which will really help our staff to work in a collaborative way in line with our organisational values. The deal will also provide good value for registrants and we will invest the proceeds from Harley Street carefully to ensure our long-term financial stability.”
Ms Lloyd added: “Although many in the profession will have fond memories of Harley Street, the new premises will be far more suitable for us as a modern organisation.
“The move to a new building will have a number of benefits. A more modern working environment will help our staff to work more effectively together, will allow us to improve our IT infrastructure and will be more accessible, especially for wheelchair users and people with sight loss.”
Ms Lloyd highlighted: “It will also mean we can conduct more of our activities in-house such as council meetings, meetings with stakeholders, training, public events and hearings.”
The GOC has owned a long lease on the Harley Street HQ since 1958, paying a small ground rent each year. It is surrendering the lease, and has appointed Brewin Dolphin as investment advisers to ensure it makes best use of the proceeds for future financial stability.
The AOP also moved its headquarters to Farringdon in 2011.