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Gloucestershire Business News

Ecclesiastical to leave Gloucester

With 500-plus staff at its Gloucester offices and hundreds more world-wide a major private employer has announced to staff in the last few minutes it will be leaving the city.

Insurance and wealth management business Ecclesiastical, for so long synonymous with Gloucester, told staff at 11am today (October 2) it would be leaving its Brunswick Road headquarters.

Jobs are understood to be safe at the firm, which has stressed the move was about cementing its future in the county, if no longer within the city centre.

According to the business the new offices will be "purpose built" and "accommodate all Gloucester-based employees".

Punchline understands when the announcement was made the ink was barely dry on the 'agreement to lease' with major business park manager Arlington, which looks after the out-of-town Gloucester Business Park at Brockworth.

Mark Hews is group chief executive of Ecclesiastical Insurance - which this year was ranked 24th in Punchline magazine's 100 Biggest Employers in Gloucestershire at number 24 with 518 staff.

Mr Hews said: "This is an exciting moment for us in the delivery of our long-term ambitions.

"The new site will provide modern and spacious accommodation for our colleagues, providing them with an environment where they can thrive.

"As one of the county's biggest employers we want to commit our future to Gloucestershire and we will maintain our strong links to Gloucester through our numerous partnerships and charitable projects."

Ecclesiastical is also celebrating its 130th year this year, but its lease on Beaufort House comes to an end in 2020 and an in-house team has been working on the secretive Project Falcon to find a new home for some months.

Today's announcement could be the end of the long-running saga about where the insurance firm would lay its hat - having a number of times pledged its future to Gloucester when the move was first mooted.

It was a decade ago when it declared the Brunswick Road building no longer fit for its future needs, but two other attempts to move - most notably to the Docks - fell through.

A move was first announced in 2008 before being re-launched in 2011 but called off in 2013 leaving Ecclesiastical with a reported £1million worth of costs.

The company said at the time it had been "defeated by the economic conditions" of the day.

Steve Wood, then managing director of the firm, told the media the business remained "committed to the city and its community as we have been for the last 30 years".

Once planning permission is approved, Ecclesiastical expected the building to be completed during 2020 with the move to take place before the end of that year.

James Raven, managing director of Arlington, said; "We are proud to be working alongside Ecclesiastical Insurance to deliver their new HQ.

"Creating a working environment which puts staff well-being and satisfaction front and central is becoming ever more critical, and we are delighted that Ecclesiastical Insurance have put their trust in us to deliver this exciting period of change for their business."

Gloucester Business Park has grown from a former airfield to home to some of the county's biggest businesses, including the likes of Mears, Horizon Nuclear Power, Ageas, Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Foundation Trust and G-Tekt.

The eastern boundary of Gloucester city ends at the M5.

Read more: How the stunning new Ecclesiastical head office could look 

Read more: Recruitment giant Omega taken over. 

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