Tower Hamlets mayor seeks new town hall
The executive mayor of Tower Hamlets Lutfur Rahman has unveiled plans to build a new town hall "making council services and elected members more accessible to the community".
The current council complex in Mulberry Place, near East India Dock DLR costs millions of pounds a year to lease, says Cabinet member for resources Cllr Alibor Choudhury.
He said: "We're looking at new sites in the heart of the borough that will lead to a rent free asset that will benefit the community for generations to come. This is a wonderful news for our residents and one that will save the council ratepayers millions of pounds."
However, opposition councillors have criticised the move as an "expensive vanity project" at a time when the council faces a budget blackhole of £50million a year from 2016.
Leader of the Labour Group Cllr Joshua Peck said: "This shows just how out of touch the Mayor is, not only is the money not there but if it was there are much more important things to be focused on like protecting residents from the Government's destructive welfare changes.
"Residents will be outraged that the Mayor is considering building himself a new state of the art office at the same time he is selling off the borough's cultural heritage, reducing funding to well used advice and community centres and cutting vital frontline services."
In June 2011 the Mayor came under fire for spending over £100,000 of taxpayers money refurbishing his personal offices and those of his cabinet councillors.