Published: 12:11, 30 September 2020
| Updated: 12:19, 30 September 2020
Medway Council is considering quitting its riverside headquarters in Chatham and moving elsewhere in the town.
Relocating is just one of the options on the table in the wake of an increased number of staff working from home during lockdown.
But council leader Cllr Alan Jarrett (Con) says any decision on a move was "a long way down the line".
Indeed, a review of office space could lead to more employees leaving satellite bases and moving into Gun Wharf in Dock Road.
Cllr Jarrett said: "Since lockdown, I have asked officers to look at space requirements across the board."
He said about 1,000 of the authority's workforce are based there, but because of social distancing regulations, only 25% were currently working at the grade-II listed building.
Alternative premises which may be looked at could include the empty Debenhams store in the High Street.
One of the town's biggest retail outlets, the national company vacated in January as part of debt restructuring plans.
Another possibility could be Mountbatten House, the 13-storey red-brick building which sits on top of the Pentagon.
Known as Medway's "white elephant", a permanent tenant has never been secured, despite ambitious plans which have never materialised.
Gun Wharf was built in the 1970s as an administrative headquarters for Lloyd's of London.
Hundreds of staff from the insurance firm's traditional City of London based relocated there until 2006 when it was bought by the council.
Beforehand, the local authority was based on the Esplanade, Strood .
John Stockey is a director of Clive Emson Auctioneers, which deals with the sale of commercial property throughout the south east.
He says it would not be possible to speculate what price Gun Wharf would fetch at this stage.
However, he believes the building would still serve as prime riverside office space or riverside apartments.
Medway isn't the only council to look at new premises.
Canterbury has aspirations of moving out of its ageing HQ, which it has occupied since 1981.
Last year plans were unveiled for a new £10 million base on a retail park on the city's outskirts.
The scheme would have seen three superstores flattened to make way for state-of-the-art, zero-carbon offices and parking for 50 vehicles.
But the proposal is now dead in the water amid the financial fallout of the pandemic, with the authority now looking for alternative locations.