The Council of the RCVS has accepted an offer for the sale of Belgravia House, the College’s
Westminster offices since 1995, to a private investor for £14 million, in a deal which
has recently completed.
The deal includes an option for the RCVS to lease back the
building for up to two years to allow time for Council to consider fully the
future building requirements of the organisation, and how these may have
changed following the Coronavirus pandemic.
Completion of the sale marks an exciting new chapter in the
College’s long history, as it considers afresh how its future has been shaped
by the events of the past 12 months.
Having previously recognised that the building was rapidly
becoming unfit for purpose, needed more up-to-date and modern facilities, and
more room for a growing workforce, RCVS Council decided in November 2018 that
the time had come to put the building on the market. The College’s Estates
Strategy Project Board was tasked with managing the process, chaired by former
RCVS President Barry Johnson.
RCVS Treasurer Susan Dawson said: “Council recognised that
this deal realised maximum value for the building, especially considering the
impact the pandemic has had on property prices in Central London.
“It also provides a very valuable opportunity to reflect on
the changing needs of the organisation and the professions and public it
serves, and to consider the requirements and different working patterns of the
College staff going forwards.
“It is likely that many staff members will wish to continue
to work at home more than they did pre-COVID, so the need for pure desk-space
may not be as great as we had planned for the 10-15 years ahead. However, the
importance of in-person meetings for collaboration, creativity and the
maintenance of good corporate culture is not to be underestimated, so our new
requirements are likely to be different to that anticipated back in 2018.”
By early June, the College expects to be able to welcome
limited numbers of staff to return to the office in a safe and
socially-distanced way, which will include the provision of facilities for
These changes to working patterns will also help inform
decisions around future remote working policies and, in turn, the type and size
of building that will best suit the future needs of the College and its
workforce, the veterinary and veterinary nursing professions and the public.