Business school deal saves iconic Marylebone Town Hall
The future of the iconic Marylebone Town Hall has been secured, with one of the world’s leading business schools set to move in and a new Marylebone Library built nearby.
Westminster Council this week announced it has entered “exclusive negotiations” with the Regent’s Park-based London Business School (LBS) to take over the Grade II-listed town hall in Marylebone Road.
Residents last year raised fears for the future of the library, which is located within the town hall, when the council announced plans to lease out the site.
But the council has now confirmed the library will move to a new home – with premises at nearby Luxborough Street and Moxon Street being considered.
The LBS deal would see the school take on a 35-year lease with the town hall undergoing a �20million refurbishment.
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St Marylebone Society chairman Gaby Higgs said: “We are quite delighted that it’s the business school.
“If the town hall is going to be sold on a temporary lease then we always preferred it to be to an educational establishment rather than a hotel.
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“We are pleased that something is finally happening because the building had been falling into a worse state.”
Former Marylebone Association chairman Carl Upsall added that he was pleased a new site would be found for the library.
“It’s great news – given the fact that nationally libraries seem to be disappearing all the time,” he said.
Wedding ceremonies and the council chambers will temporarily move away from Marylebone while works are carried out.
Westminster’s property boss, Cllr Jonathan Glanz, says the agreement will provide an educational facility fit for the 21st century and the opportunity for much-needed refurbishment works.
He said: “Westminster Council is firmly committed to investing in our libraries. They are a place of inspiration for young and old and providing the best service available for residents and visitors remains our top priority.”
Sir Andrew Likierman, the dean of LBS, which is one of the top-ranked business schools in the world, said the town hall would provide “a great opportunity to expand our footprint in the capital”.
He said: “Our aspiration is to transform the magnificent town hall into a world-class teaching facility that reflects our global ranking while being sensitive to the original architectural design of the landmark building.”
He added that no decision would be taken in the meantime on the development of the school’s Regent’s Park campus, which received planning permission to expand earlier this month.
A public consultation on the new Marylebone Library site will take place from February 22 until March 24. The town hall refurbishment will start in 2013 and take two years.