Bromley councillors have been told the coronavirus pandemic could lead to greater demand for office space in the borough, ahead of two new massive office space developments being approved in Bromley’s town centre.

The council’s development control committee on Thursday took the unanimous decisions to green-light extensive proposals for the Old Town Hall, as well as the redevelopment of the Wells House building in Elmfield Road.

The first application will see the council’s former town hall-base partially demolished and converted to provide office space, 24 hotel bedrooms and a food and drinking establishment within the Old Courthouse.

A 53-apartment, five-storey block will also be built on the site of the South Street car park.

Members of the panel also approved a plan to redevelop the old office block at Wells House in Elmfield Road, which will be replaced by a part seven, part eight storey building consisting of new, contemporary office space.

Easing concerns that demand for commercial office space could drop in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, councillors were told the future could actually see demand for high-quality office space in Greater London rise.

Talking to councillors, an agent for Castleforge – the developers behind the plans to bring the Old Town Hall back into use – said the pandemic “hasn’t in anyway weakened their appetite” to build office space in Bromley.

The agent told councillors there was “a lot of early intelligence” that some central London businesses would have growing demand for outer London office space, in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic potentially altering working patterns long-term.

“At the moment it seems quite positive,” he said.

The proposal received a large amount of support from councillors, with committee chair Alexa Michael saying the scheme was “done very sensitively and respectively”, adding the move also sees the town hall removed from Historic England’s “at-risk” register.

She had similar views on the proposal for the Elmfield Road proposal by applicant Christopher Craddock.

While Cllr Michael said she had initially held concerns over the increased height of the block, a “very creative design” had helped ease these fears and also showed “Bromley is serious” in providing high-quality office space.

Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Peter Morgan, executive councillor for renewal, recreation and housing, said the new office space developments showed the borough was “open for business”.

“We maintain our strongly-held views that Bromley is a compelling location for businesses to operate in and to which to relocate,” he said.

“These latest decisions show that we are very much open for business. Grade A office accommodation such as is proposed at Wells House is essential for top quality businesses today. Both of these developments will add to the competitiveness of the town and provide employment opportunities as they come to fruition, and will also add some much needed residential accommodation.”