Royal London’s redesigned campus is set to secure approval from Cheshire East Council ahead of the company’s relocation to Alderley Park.
Royal London’s move to the 100,000 sq ft Parklands Building at Alderley Park, announced in 2017, is progressing on schedule, but the company has now decided to rejig its existing planning consent at its current home in response to market demand.
While the company originally secured permission for a single headquarters-style building on Green Belt land in Wilmslow in 2016, a redesigned planning application was submitted in August this year, signalling a shift to four separate office blocks.
The company said the current consent for a single office was “no longer suited to the needs of the wider market” and instead is proposing 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, there are plans for 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 council’s strategic planning board is set to sign off the refreshed application at a meeting next week, following a recommendation to approve from planning officers.
Avison Young is advising on planning while AHR is the architect. Colliers has been appointed to draw up the masterplan for the site by Royal London, which also includes the existing buildings to be vacated once the company moves next year.
According to a 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.