The College has voted to leave under the terms of the existing lease.
The RCVS has announced that it will be formally leaving its central London headquarters by the end of March 2022.
Belgravia House, based in Westminster, was sold to a private investor in March 2021 in a deal worth £14 million. The sale included an option to lease back the building for up to two years to give Council members time to consider the future building requirements of the organisation and how these may have changed following the coronavirus pandemic.
Since the easing of coronavirus restrictions, RCVS Council and team members have returned to the building for occasional meetings and everyday work. However, the building occupancy is still not back up to its pre-pandemic levels.
Taking this into consideration at its recent meeting (11 November) - together with the time it would take to move any new permanent headquarters - RCVS Council members agreed there was a clear financial benefit to vacating the premises at the first opportunity under the terms of the existing lease.
The decision will see both the organisation and its charity partner, RCVS Knowledge, depart Belgravia House by 31 March 2022.
Commenting on the decision, RCVS chief executive Lizzie Lockett said: “As we all gradually emerge from the restrictions of the past 18 months, one of the things we, as an organisation, have learned from the pandemic is that we can cope well with remote and hybrid working, whilst continuing to provide a high level of service to the professions and the animal-owning public.
“Retaining the use of our current offices over the last few months has certainly helped us to do this, but our Estates Strategy Group recommended to Council that there was now little to be gained and much to lose financially if we continued to lease Belgravia House for another year.”
Ms Lockett added that the College will be outlining plans in the coming weeks for the safe removal and storage of its library, historical collection and archives.
She continued: “To support the team until we can move into a permanent building, we will hire serviced office space and meeting rooms around London and elsewhere in the UK as and when we need them. We also plan to take Council meetings ‘on the road’ over the next 12 months to enable Council members to engage with more veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses around the country.
“Meanwhile, we remain fully committed to the purchase of a new permanent London home for the RCVS and are seeking a building that not only meets the needs of the professions both now and well into the future but also aims to be a sound financial investment for the College in the years ahead.”
Image (C) RCVS.