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Gloucestershire Business News

How the stunning new Ecclesiastical head office could look

This could be what the new offices for major Gloucestershire employer Ecclesiastical looks like if the business relocates as planned.

The insurance firm, which has been at its Gloucester city centre offices since the 1970s, announced this week to staff it would be vacating the city for pasture new.

That it planned to move was no secret, it stated a decade ago revealing its Brunswick Road offices were no longer fit for purpose, but where it would lay its hat was what everyone wanted to know.

Politicians and city leaders had battled hard to keep the company, which employs 500-plus staff in Gloucester, close to the gate streets, but that battle appears lost with Ecclesiastical pledging allegiance to new pastures in Arlington's business park at Brockworth instead.

"It's disappointing to lose a major plc from the city centre," said Richard Graham, MP for Gloucester.

Other business people have expressed concern as to what impact losing 500 potential extra daily customers will do to businesses in the city centre and others fear what will become of Beaufort House without firm plans in place.

Jobs are understood to be safe at Ecclesiastical, 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" and we can now confirm plans are for a 60,000 square foot new-build.

Its current offices are believed to be in the region of 50,000 sq ft.

Punchline also 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.

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 called the plans "exciting" and about "delivery of our long-term ambitions", although at this stage it is thought the lease is only for 15 years.

Mr Hews said: "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."

It is understood Ecclesiastical has been working on the secretive Project Falcon to find a new home for some months.

Arlington will now be seeking planning approval for the building and development of the headquarters is expected to begin in 2019, with completion in 2020 and a move at the end of that year.

Alder King and BNP Paribas Real Estate are the agents for Gloucester Business Park. Bruton Knowles and Colliers advised Ecclesiastical.

Read more: Ecclesiastical to leave Gloucester 

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