Royal London Wilmslow Aerial

Council signs off Royal London’s 183,000 sq ft Wilmslow Campus

Chloé Vaughan and Charlie Schouten

Royal London’s redesigned campus, set to include four offices totalling 183,000 sq ft, has been given the go-ahead by Cheshire East Council.

The company originally gained consent for a single headquarters-style building on Green Belt land in Wilmslow back in 2016, ahead of its move into the 100,000 sq ft Parklands Building at Bruntwood’s Alderley Park, which is still on schedule to complete next year.

A redesigned planning application was submitted in August which shifted the design into four separate office blocks, which Royal London said was due to market demand.

The company said the current consent for a single office was “no longer suited to the needs of the wider market” and instead is set to deliver four separate offices which it said would offer “more flexible accommodation which market research shows will appeal to companies of varying sizes”.

While the plans remain at outline stage and fall within the parameters of the existing outline consent, the proposals include four three storey buildings; size, scale, and layout is being kept for the reserved matters stage, although the offices are likely to reach a maximum of 61,450 sq ft.

Three further office buildings totalling 75,000 sq ft could also be brought forward at the site at a later date, as the campus has an allocation for a total of 260,000 sq ft of commercial space under Cheshire East’s Local Plan.

The approved plans are at outline stage and fall within the parameters of the existing outline consent. The four three-storey buildings will have their size, scale, and layout decided at reserved matters stage, but are likely to reach 61,450 sq ft at most.

Avison Young advised on planning and AHR is the architect. Colliers is appointed to draw up the masterplan for the Royal London site which also includes the buildings to be vacated once the company completes its move next year.

According to the review by Colliers, smaller offices rather than a single HQ would provide opportunities for pharmaceutical, life sciences, astrophysics, instrumentation, and IT businesses in Cheshire East; these sectors have already proved to be successful within the wider Cheshire Science Corridor which includes occupiers like Bentley Motors, BAE, Barclays, and Siemens.

The existing Royal London site also benefits from planning permission for up to 180 houses.

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