Council welcomes Royal London's decision to relocate to Alderley Park

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Cheshire East Council has welcomed the news that insurance giant Royal London will remain in the borough and will take up the opportunity to relocate to Alderley Park.

The announcement ends speculation around the future location for the company and means that up to 1,200 jobs will stay in Cheshire East, with the potential to generate more employment opportunities at its current base in Wilmslow.

The news was announced to staff and management at the Wilmslow site this morning. Cheshire East Council leader Rachel Bailey was also informed and broke the news at this afternoon's meeting of full council in Macclesfield.

Councillor Bailey said: "This is excellent news and I wish to thank Royal London for demonstrating its faith in and loyalty to the borough by choosing to stay in Cheshire East.

"Royal London has recognised that our expanding economic base, together with the skills and talents of our working residents, combine to offer a sustainable and successful future for the company based in Cheshire East.

"I wish to thank Councillor George Hayes, chairman of the Skills and Growth Company and its managing director Julian Cobley for the hard work they have put in to this matter.

"They will continue to work with Royal London through the relocation process and offer support to help the business thrive.

"The name of Royal London has been a part of the employment and economic fabric of Cheshire since the company moved to Wilmslow from Manchester in the early 1980s, and, therefore, it is so reassuring to learn that this prestigious company will continue to be based in the borough."

Royal London also announced today that Royal London Asset Management will remain committed to its Wilmslow site and hopes to see its masterplan come to fruition. This includes mixed-use commercial, retail and housing opportunities – subject to planning – which would have the potential to create a further 1,500 to 2,000 jobs.

Neil Kilshaw, head of group facilities and estate transformation at Royal London, said: "It has long been recognised by Royal London and by Cheshire East Council that our existing buildings in Wilmslow no longer meet the needs of a growing modern business like ours.

"We have thoroughly investigated a range of possible sites, including remaining at a redeveloped Wilmslow campus or moving out of the borough. Our exhaustive search has convinced us that Cheshire East and Parklands, at Alderley Park, is the best possible location for our business and our staff."

Councillor Ainsley Arnold, cabinet member for housing and planning, said: "Not only do we see Royal London stay in Cheshire East, but we also have a golden opportunity here to generate new jobs, including specialist skills in financial and technical services.

"We look forward to seeing Royal London's plans in more detail."

Royal London will move to the Parklands office complex, the move is expected to take place before 2020.

The current Royal London site is a strategic site allocation in the Local Plan. The ambition is to develop the site as a 'living campus', to create a thriving environment for business, as well as opportunities for living, employment and leisure.

Tags:
Alderley Park, Cheshire East Council, Royal London
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Comments

Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Richard Slater
Thursday 19th October 2017 at 3:49 pm
Great news for the colleagues at Royal London, and good news about new jobs and expansion.

BUT good old Rachel & Ainsley well done you trying to get a positive spin for CEC, however the house building you are rubber stamping on the greenbelt near AP and Henbury, will not be the sort the majority of RL's employees will be able to afford to buy and re-locate too. So where are these guys going to live, because CEC have hidden all the brown field sites, so no low cost or starter homes available nearby!

Glad to see the jobs, well done RL securing the lease and committing to staying in Cheshire.
Pete Taylor
Thursday 19th October 2017 at 5:10 pm
Alderley Park is owned by Manchester Science Partnerships. Rachel Bailey has been a Director of MSP, since 22 Jun 2016, when Michael Jones was forced to resign ans CEC Leader.
Martin Wells
Thursday 19th October 2017 at 7:43 pm
This needs explaining by Royal London and the Council urgently.

Royal London has been working with developers (and the council) for years to gain planning for new offices (and housing). It made the argument at the time that it needed to expand and made a "threat" that it would have to move out of wilmslow if planning wasn't granted.

Only last week it issued plans for developing the land off Alderly road for public consultation. A week later it says it's moving out!

What's the justification for the land being developed now Royal London?

The council has also paved the way for all of this to happen - only last week approving plans for access off the A34. The justification given Royal London is moving out ?

The process of consultation and approvals is utterly flawed if not corrupt.
Josie James
Thursday 19th October 2017 at 7:52 pm
A shame RL is moving away from walking distance into Wilmslow for the employees and I’m sure the shops will suffer in the long run. I guess whatever happens on that site there will be some who will never be happy.

Things move on and we have to embrace this. Wilmslow is much bigger than it was 30 years ago, we can’t stand still we have to move with the times.

At least RL staff aren’t clogging up residential areas with cars unlike the business next to the train station and St Barts church. Same cars parked all day in 1 hour bays and on double yellow lines.
Sandra Cox
Friday 20th October 2017 at 6:52 am
The main practical problem of the huge expansion in house building in this area is the complete lack of any infrastructure to support it. That is frightening and would prevent me from moving to this area from elsewhere. However the shops may lose business as a result of RL's move but will gain from the thousands of extra residents.
Jackie Pass
Friday 20th October 2017 at 8:09 am
You are quite correct Sandra. Infrastructure must play a part in development and it is a factor which Cheshire East has refused to address, arguing instead that they will deal with each development individually. Only one document in the Local Plan Examination Library told it as it is, namely referring to all the office and house building as "high risk strategy" for its consequences on infrastructure. Wilmslow is becoming transformed into Didsbury, but without the high number of schools, without the buses, without the doctors, and without the metro. In the 1970's Macclesfield BC argued that the new "spine road", what we now call the A34, would solve all the problems, well that came and went and we all know what it is like come peak times.
Mark Goldsmith
Friday 20th October 2017 at 10:50 am
So Royal London threatens Cheshire East with relocating unless they can redevelop their Wilmslow site. CE allows this but fails to get any commitment from them to stay in Wilmslow afterwards.

Now they have planning permission, Royal London scarpers with the cash. The few current pictures of how the site will look are fantasy. Royal London will sell this site with planning permission on and the developer will push for more houses. Soon the site will be ALL houses to maximise their profit. And a massive employer for the town will be gone, green fields lost and for what exactly? More executive homes and a handful of 1 bed flats.

The Head of Planning at CE and the local Conservative councillors who managed and voted for this are either massively deceitful or incredibly incompetent. Either way they should not be in office.

Pretending this is a positive for Wilmslow just rubs salt into the wounds.
Pete Taylor
Friday 20th October 2017 at 11:26 am
Duped again.
So, we need five sets of these: http://ebay.eu/2xSY3uc , for the Head of Planning and the Wilmslow Four, all of whom seem to be in "run silent, run deep" mode.
Nick Jones
Friday 20th October 2017 at 11:44 am
The Deceit involved by the pertinent parties here is disgraceful. I don't blame RL for Maximising their revenue ability .. They are after all a business...

But their well planned exodus to AZ site under CEC Governance and removal of the RL Site from Green belt, followed by the access road issues just shows how complicit CEC The ward Cllr and others have been in maximizing commercial revenue, without any consideration to social infrastructure.
Cllr Goldsmith sums it up.. THEY SHOULD NOT BE IN OFFICE !
Jackie Pass
Friday 20th October 2017 at 2:02 pm
Cheshire East have been in talks with Royal London to develop the site since 2012, according to the submission made by RL on the Local Plan. It seems to me that after 5 years both sides knew exactly what they were doing.
Nick Jones
Friday 20th October 2017 at 4:07 pm
This sorry tale is just missing T Dan Smith and Poulson !!
Manuel Golding
Saturday 21st October 2017 at 1:18 pm
What can I and Residents of Wilmslow say other than "We told you so!". When AstraZenica first announced it was leaving Alderley Park RoW suggested to the CEC leadership that Alderley Park would be an ideal location for Royal London and thus would save the current Royal London Green Belt sites. RoW was then told by both the leadership & planning officers that RL was not interested in AP, all the while they were more than happy, even delighted, to tell untruths to RoW and in fact to Wilmslow's residents. However, CEC has, for this period, been hand in glove with RL & HOW Planning to continue the deception of the destruction of the Green Belt for the benefit of the RL mutual fund managers, HOW & CE in the form of development & council tax income.
Everyone involved in & with this cabal, some with mega fund value bonuses (RL fund managers), another via deceitfully gained fee income, how about that for turnover, and CEC by increase in tax revenue is a winner!
But what about the losers? Yes there are hundreds of these - the local residents who will have to endure the consequences for evermore of this ugly example of corporate greed. Now that HOW is successfully preparing the ground for the RL (former) Green Belt sites to a developer to do what it wishes, all will be well and profitable within that camp. But not for the locals.
Even more traffic congestion on Alderley Road, increases in noise & air pollution, inadequate & over run infrastructure - but what the heck! The guilty parties will be laughing all the way to their bankers with their sordid, ill gotten gains.
Cheshire East Council and its CEC Wilmslow Conservative councillors have stabbed the town in the back. All along RoW implored CE councillors and the then totally Conservative WTC that any development in the GB would be a Trojan horse, a green light for destruction. RoW was a lone voice - CEC's Conservative councillors were either not either brave enough or lacked any obvious signs foresight. (The current WTC has now shown it agrees with the RoW strategy, maybe aided by the addition of two RoW councillors - David Jefferey & Mark Goldsmith).
Wilmslow has been sold down the river BUT the day of reckoning is fast approaching for the duplicitous, untrustworthy, Conservative's who supposedly represent Wilmslow on CEC.
So folks, mark the date, May 2019 - their days are numbered.
Only RoWs Toni Fox (Dean Row) has been seen & heard to be consistently standing up for the people of Wilmslow. Why do you not join RoW and join in the fight to ensure your voice, Wilmslow's voice, is heard loud and clear?
YOU can contact RoW here - http://www.residentsofwilmslow.com/
Dave Cash
Sunday 22nd October 2017 at 12:17 am
My info is that RL will not complete decamp to AP until 2021.
Whilst RoW are Independents, they have 'allegiances' unlike most other Independent candidates.
Vote Independent at the next Election to reduce the Cons majority.
Pete Taylor
Sunday 22nd October 2017 at 8:50 am
Dave Cash; please could you explain your comment regarding RoW “allegiances”?
Lynne Prescott
Wednesday 25th October 2017 at 4:54 pm
Yes Dave Cash, please do!
Martin Kitchin
Friday 3rd November 2017 at 8:58 pm
Yes please David do, another curious comment we can't quite get our heads around.

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