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 (Thursday) ends speculation around the future location for the company and means that up to 1,200 high-skilled jobs will stay in Cheshire East, with the potential to generate far more employment opportunities at its current base in Wilmslow.
The council’s wholly-owned Skills and Growth Company has taken the lead n making the case as to why the company should stay in the borough.
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 where staff will have access to family-focused amenities, modern sports and gym facilities and the benefits of an expansive rural location comparable to their existing home at Wilmslow. The move is expected to take place before 2020.
Royal London is the UK’s largest mutual life, pensions and investment company.
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.