Kent County Council (KCC), advised by Montagu Evans, is marketing its County Hall building, Sessions House in Maidstone.
The landmark building extends to around 230,000 sq ft next to Maidstone East railway station in the town centre. The building, designed by Sir Robert Smirke in the Greek Revival style, will be 150 years old next year and is located close to town centre retail, leisure and amenities, and sits less than two miles from the M20 and 5 miles from the M2. Its complex is currently in use as KCC’s offices and civic centre but is now surplus to requirements.
Peter Oakford, Kent County Council Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance, Corporate and Traded Services, said: “For many years, long before the pandemic and the current financial pressures on local authority budgets, KCC has been considering the future of County Hall in Maidstone as its headquarters.
“It is a vast, historic building which has a significant presence in Maidstone. Unfortunately, parts of the building are almost 200 years old, and it no longer provides a modern workspace fit for delivering the Council’s services. In addition, following the pandemic, our staff are working more flexibly with many large areas of the building already mothballed and no longer utilised. At a time when KCC is under enormous financial pressure, the authority cannot meet an annual running cost of £2m pounds to maintain a building that requires a huge amount of modernisation.
“KCC will always have a presence in the County town of Maidstone, but following extensive stakeholder engagement and exploring options to increase revenue under our ownership, a decision has now been made to market test the whole of the building, with interested parties invited to submit proposals to lease or buy the property by the end of the year.”
Sam Blake, Partner at Montagu Evans, added: “Sessions House has served Kent County Council and its constituents for many years, and the decision to bring the site to market has not been taken lightly, but with increasing pressures on the public purse, this is the right time to explore new opportunities. There is huge potential here to incorporate new uses into this landmark building – from new homes to event and flexible working space – and Kent County Council is open to commercial proposals that will secure its long-term future.”
The Council is inviting offers for a long leasehold interest on the whole or any parts on an ‘All Enquiries’ basis by the beginning of December.
More information is available from Montagu Evans here or by registering interest at: https://www.sessionshousemaidstone.com/en/login.php?clicked_page=/en/page_166379.php.