UK sells Bangkok embassy for £420m, biggest property sale in history



The Foreign Office has sold its British embassy in Bangkok for £420m, the biggest property sale in its history.

Money raised will be used to renovate other embassies around the world.

British diplomats in Thailand's capital city will move to a modern tower block in 2019, that has been leased for the next 15 years.

The colonial-era embassy was built in 1922 when the British government bought the nine-acre site on the outskirts of Bangkok.

The Wireless Road compound includes its own tropical garden in a busy part of the capital, but large parts of the embassy have fallen into disrepair.

'Best value for taxpayer'

A statue of Queen Victoria will remain in the compound but a war memorial will be moved to a new site.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said: "Britain is a leading player on the global stage and I'm determined to ensure that our diplomats have all the necessary tools to do their job effectively.

"This includes working in modern, safe, fit-for-purpose premises not just in Bangkok but around the world."

He added that the new state-of-the-art premises would "only enhance our trade links" with Thailand.

The sale price is nearly half the FCO's annual core budget of £1.2bn, and the money could also be used to buy new compounds, improve security, and increase earthquake protection.

The projects will include new electrical wiring in the Paris embassy, refurbishments in Cairo and a new compound in New Delhi may be bought.

Simon McDonald, permanent under-secretary at the FCO, said that the move offered "the best value for the taxpayers" in a "tight fiscal environment".