Royal London currently occupies a campus off Alderley Road in Wilmslow Copyright Ian Paterson and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Licence

Royal London ‘needs more space soon’ in Cheshire

Royal London, the mutual life, pensions and investment company, has appointed Lambert Smith Hampton to advise on alternative location options, if Cheshire East Council is unable to remove planning restrictions limiting expansion at its current site in Wilmslow.

Royal London is based on a campus site off Alderley Road.

A statement from the company said: “Following a period of rapid growth and with plans for future expansion, Royal London is looking at location options for the business.”

The company owns a site to the east of the campus which it has earmarked for office expansion, however the use of the plot for commercial purposes is yet to be confirmed due to the ongoing examination into Cheshire East’s local plan.

In March 2015 Royal London announced that it wanted to increase staff numbers from 900 at its Wilmslow site to 1,350. A statement from Jerry Toher, head of consumer division at Royal London, said that in time the company planned to grow its number of employees by 50%.

Neil Kilshaw, head of procurement and facilities at Royal London, said: “At our Wilmslow site we have recognised for some time that space is a real issue. With an ageing property we are restricted in both maintaining existing and creating new working environments, without undertaking a major refurbishment. We’ve already relocated our some of our people to Alderley House on the campus as we have run out of space in the main Royal London House office. Taking into consideration our planned growth over the next few years, it’s clear we’re going to need more space soon.

“One of the options open to Royal London would be to develop new purpose-built offices on the adjoining land that we own to the east of the current site. However, delivery of this option will require Cheshire East Council to remove planning restrictions on the land as a matter of urgency.

“As uncertainty remains around the leading location option, Royal London is also looking at other development sites near to Wilmslow.”

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Good to see them expanding, the area around Wilmslow/ Alderley Edge/ Knutsford is the financial hub of the North West, and one of the largest outside of London and Cambridge.

By York Street

More cars and traffic! Its already shocking and will only get worse.

By Will M Slow

Imagine if they owned a nationally recognised landmark large city centre office building that had been recently refurbished in a major UK city. Especially one with an affordable labour pool including graduates, good transport/housing wanted by potential employees and a history in financial services…..

By stating the obvious

Royal London are basically Refuge Assurance of Manchester with a different name. They only moved out of their palatial, Waterhouse-designed city centre headquarters (now The Palace Hotel) in the early 90s.

I wonder if a move back into Manchester is on the cards?

By Refuge

Stating the Obvious. Spot on.

By Mike

Lovely part of the country, it’s no wonder so many companies like Royal London situate themselves in Wilmslow. A prosperous region with a well educated populace and great motorway links.

By Stan

Liverpool is also a lovely part of the country, with affordable labour including graduates, and great motorway links.

And until relatively recently (since I think Stating the Obvious subtle remarks were obviously a bit lost on some) the Royal Liver Assurance, acquired by Royal London, had its home there in the vast Royal Liver Building in Central Liverpool.

By Mike

I wouldn’t exactly call it lovely. Especially not compared with East Cheshire. Wilmslow is a prestigious postcode. Posh if you like. It’s far easier to get clients and qualified staff into Wilmslow than some gritty city centre with traffic and poor parking.

By 3MC

Manchester might be “gritty”, however I would certainly call Liverpool “lovely”, offering a low crime major city environment, grand surroundings, and quality housing of all kinds. Yes, even “posh” people live in Liverpool, didn’t you know.

You obviously don’t drive much in Liverpool, as traffic isn’t much of an issue compared to Manchester (or probably even Wilmslow) and parking is easily found. What’s more there is a decent quality local public transportation system which can take you from your nice homes in Aigburth or Formby or Crosby right into the heart of the city.

As for clients, I think they’d be much happier getting to the heart of a major city (that is very easy to access via all modes, from all parts of the country) than some A road town in the middle of gridlocked East Cheshire/south Manchester.

By Mike

3MC compared to Manchester city centre and to an extent country roads of Wilmslow with one way in an out, traffic in Liverpool is minimal. Once you are a quarter of a mile from the city centre you are driving at normal speeds and a morning commute up to 5 miles takes less than 20 minutes door to door.

To say that the city is gritty is far from the mark. Liverpool city centre offers much more in terms of culture, lifestyle, access to talent (huge university population), low labour and occupational costs and with regards to the Royal Liver Buildings a waterfront aspect with spectacular views.

By Grinds my gears

If RL was going to relocate its operations to a city centre, the only logical location would be within the same city region, namely, back into Manchester City Centre where it was headquartered until recently.

It’s only the 80s / 90s fashion for dull business parks that meant it left for the suburbs in the first place.

By Refuge

It’s important to look at the competitiveness of this region as a whole. Too much parochialism isn’t good for our economic prospects. And when I say ‘our’ I mean the North West. We need to become a more united voice, and acknowledge all our assets in all areas, to compete with the South East.

By Alty local

Yes, I was (not-so) subtley allunding to the Royal Liver Building. It seems an easy win considering they still own it and want to grow. Professional services seem to be moving back to city centres due to staff recuritment/rentention and client/competitor proximty and I think the investment in office acommdation in Liverpool/Manchester shows this.

Maybe office locations shouldn’t be decided by proximty to senior managers homes but business priorties !!.

By stating the obvious

The complaints about “parochialism” are, as ever, entirely one sided.

Commerce, HS2, HS3… it’s always Liverpool people being told to not be “parochial” when they note they are the ones on the losing end of the deal. Funny this “regional benefit”, entirely “non-parochial” agenda never seems to extend to any kind of support for Liverpool and its own economic needs, only coming into play when it’s time to tell its people to shut up.

Oh I agree the “parochialism” issue needs to be addressed. I consider its impact on the Greater Liverpool area to have been highly detrimental.

By Mike

An entirely incomprehensible rant, Mike. The comments on this site are becoming more like a local newspaper than a site for industry professionals.

Can we get back to the subject?

By Refuge