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Insurance firm Ecclesiastical pulls out of move to Gloucester Docks

By The Citizen  |  Posted: February 22, 2013

City council leader  Paul James said he was disappointed but understood why the decision was made

City council leader Paul James said he was disappointed but understood why the decision was made

Comments (11)

TALKS have begun to ensure Ecclesiastical stays in Gloucester after the insurance firm called off its move to the city's Docks.

The company, which employs 600-plus in the city, has announced plans to halt its head office relocation and has terminated its agreement with Gloucester City Council to build a new headquarters in the Docks.

Ecclesiastical has blamed the challenging economic environment and an unsuccessful bid to secure funding for the construction of the new building.

The project has already cost the company, based in Brunswick Road, in excess of £1million.

Under the original agreement, the company would have moved on to Southgate Moorings by 2015.

The site off Southgate Street is currently being used as a temporary car park.

Steve Wood, UK managing director for Ecclesiastical, said: "We have made every effort to take our plans forward over the last few years and it is very disappointing to find ourselves in a position where we simply aren't able to progress with this project any further.

"Unfortunately, we have been defeated by the economic conditions and the extremely challenging office construction market in the region.

"The funding options presented to us by potential partners are simply not viable for our business and would result in Ecclesiastical committing to an unfavourable property deal.

"We have, therefore, made the difficult decision to put our relocation plans on hold for the foreseeable future.

"This is clearly a disappointing decision for Gloucester City Council and the city, but even though Ecclesiastical will not be moving to Gloucester Docks as planned, we remain committed to the city and its community as we have been for the last 30 years."

City council leader Paul James said he was disappointed but understood why the decision was made.

"However, the most important issue is that Ecclesiastical remain committed to the city and we will work with them to ensure Gloucester continues to meet the needs of their business," he said.

"The Southgate Moorings site is an important part of the Docks and we will reflect on how it can best support the continued regeneration of this area in the future."

Chris Oldershaw, chief executive of Gloucester Heritage Urban Regeneration Company, said: "We are naturally disappointed with the recent announcement, but remain optimistic that Ecclesiastical will develop Southgate Moorings for their new headquarters when the national economy is stronger."

There are around 200 parking spaces at Southgate Moorings. The city council wants to create a new temporary car park on the Barbican site, off Ladybellegate Street, which would have made up for the loss of Southgate Moorings.

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11 comments

  • TheMoanerLisa  |  February 22 2013, 8:25PM

    Its a dinosaur of an insurance company anyway. just the type to be acquired by a bigger global player ?theyve had their business served up on a plate for too long. there is a very un dynamic culture within the organisation and its filled with people who have been there for years. a contractor colleague of mine worked there on a project for a while and said it was like one big social club. last time a move was mentioned all the staff could do was moan about their parking. if they need to move then why not look at what was the bank of england site just opposite.

    Rate   -2
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  • fiforinfo  |  February 22 2013, 6:36PM

    Challenging economic times & unsuccessful bid to secure funding funding? A company that is unable to fund its own move? Perhaps it wants the Council taxpayers to fund the move to keep the company in the city? Seems a strange way for a large company to do business to me if they are unable to fund or raise capital for the move.

    Rate   4
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  • NibNobs  |  February 22 2013, 5:56PM

    Their old building could be used to house Heather Frost and family and their horses can be housed at Gloucester park only a few hooves away! Also handy for her to take her wheelbarrow along to DWP at Spa Road to collect the four weekly benefits ca$h !!

    Rate   1
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  • Localgirl75  |  February 22 2013, 1:53PM

    "Just need to restore the warehouses and demolish the office/flats and add some tourism!" Restore the warehouses to what? The empty, mostly derelict buildings they were before? The history of the docks is already housed in the Waterways Museum and even that building isn't full. I for one am glad they're not building on Southgate Moorings. The buildings that were there previously were knocked down to open up the docks to be part of the town. Building on this, and an office at that, would add no value other than to line the pockets of developers and allow the Ecclesiastical staff to watch the annual fireworks for free!

    Rate   2
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  • xlitho  |  February 22 2013, 1:28PM

    Just need to restore the warehouses and demolish the office/flats and add some tourism!

    Rate   5
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  • xlitho  |  February 22 2013, 1:24PM

    Good.

    Rate   5
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  • bdbear  |  February 22 2013, 12:37PM

    There is a large building just up the road from them ,it has been empty for years ,loads of space ,large rooms a Gloucester icon that must be cheaper to convert to large open plan offices than building a new one.They would also get the backing of the people of Glos who dont want to see it pulled down . Lets face it the other one at the docks was really just an ego trip for the old boss now he is going so is the project . where MIGHT YOU ASK , where else the old college building . No where else would a council agree to it being pulled down . Where might the homes go well on the site of there old office . Come on council before it is to late get this moving .

    Rate   5
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  • geraint2010  |  February 22 2013, 11:07AM

    I could never see the sense of this move anyway. More visitor attractions attracting lots of day-trippers' pounds and tourist dollars, euro and yuan to the docks, along with plenty of cheap parking seems a better way forward. Needless to say I want Ecclesiastical to stay in Gloucester but upgrading their existing offices would seem more prudent in these straightened times.

    Rate   7
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  • SELINA30  |  February 22 2013, 10:04AM

    At what point did Eccleiastical find out there was a "challeging economic envronment"? Perhaps they stopped reading the Citizen.

    Rate   5
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  • SaintMichael  |  February 22 2013, 8:51AM

    this'll be the second time they've pulled out of a move to Southgate Moorings

    Rate   5
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