Home secretary Jack Straw has selected a consortium including Terry Farrell and Partners as his preferred bidder to build and run a new headquarters building for the Home Office and Prison Service on Marsham Street in Westminster.
The linked, low-rise buildings (see above) will replace the three reviled 68m Marsham Street towers and 15m podium, the former home of the department of the environment which ex-environment secretary John Gummer wanted replaced as a mark of his commitment to good design.
The tower blocks, first earmarked for demolition by Michael Heseltine in 1992, will now disappear from the London skyline as soon as contracts on the public private partnership are signed. But that is unlikely to be before next spring, Straw told the House of Commons last week.
Terry Farrell and Partners saw off a team headed by MacCormac Jamieson Prichard and will design a building to cater for at least 3000 staff, as well as some housing and retail development on the 2ha site, for occupancy by 2004. The Farrell team, called Annes Gate Property, is headed by property developer Godfrey Bradman and also includes DEGW for interiors and space planning, Pell Frischmann as structural engineer, TME and Battle McArthy for mechanical and electrical services, and Gardiner Theobald as cost consultant. Principle shareholders in Annes Gate Property include the Bouygues Group.
Home Office permanent secretary Sir David Omand said: 'This is very good news.Home Office performance and efficiency has been held back through being separated in six buildings in the Westminster area, and through the inadequate and unsuitable nature of some of our present accommodation'.
Omand added that the new headquarters would be a 'long-term solution' and represented 'better value for money' than other alternatives.