Will Network Rail's move to Milton Keynes save money?

January 05, 2011 4:46 PM

The news that Network Rail is building a new 400,000 Sq Ft Headquarters in Milton Keynes, moving its base from Euston station out of the capital, is not in itself particularly shocking. It is a matter for the different bids to establish whether the more affordable locale will offset the relocation costs. But reports suggest Network Rail may be building another London base in the south of the city. Network Rail last year began the hunt for potential sites in which to locate London office staff. The new requirement, reported to be around 150,000 square feet, would be in addition to the new base in Milton Keynes.

How can they justify moving their HQ out of the capital into what will no doubt be a highly expensive new complex, and then building another office in South London to compensate for this? If the move to Milton Keynes was supposed to be a cost cutting measure it’s difficult to see how that works if they still need the space in London. It’s even more dubious because the current HQ in Euston exactly the same size of the potential new offices South of the river. So essentially we’ll be seeing a relocation across London, combined with a brand new bigger HQ in Milton Keynes. What may have been initially seen as a cost-cutting measure could actually turn out to be a far bigger burden for taxpayers.

The taxpayers who fund the rail system deserve to see every effort made to make sure that Network Rail delivers the best value for money it can. Although maybe given Network Rail’s history, this kind of inefficiency shouldn’t come as a surprise. Taxpayers and commuters deserve much better.The news that Network Rail is building a new 400,000 Sq Ft Headquarters in Milton Keynes, moving its base from Euston station out of the capital, is not in itself particularly shocking. It is a matter for the different bids to establish whether the more affordable locale will offset the relocation costs. But reports suggest Network Rail may be building another London base in the south of the city. Network Rail last year began the hunt for potential sites in which to locate London office staff. The new requirement, reported to be around 150,000 square feet, would be in addition to the new base in Milton Keynes.

How can they justify moving their HQ out of the capital into what will no doubt be a highly expensive new complex, and then building another office in South London to compensate for this? If the move to Milton Keynes was supposed to be a cost cutting measure it’s difficult to see how that works if they still need the space in London. It’s even more dubious because the current HQ in Euston exactly the same size of the potential new offices South of the river. So essentially we’ll be seeing a relocation across London, combined with a brand new bigger HQ in Milton Keynes. What may have been initially seen as a cost-cutting measure could actually turn out to be a far bigger burden for taxpayers.

The taxpayers who fund the rail system deserve to see every effort made to make sure that Network Rail delivers the best value for money it can. Although maybe given Network Rail’s history, this kind of inefficiency shouldn’t come as a surprise. Taxpayers and commuters deserve much better.

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