Co-op swoops for E.On site

IPSWICH received a massive boost today after The East of England Co-operative Society announced a multi-million pound deal to make Wherstead Park the company's new HQ.

Josh Warwick

IPSWICH received a massive boost today after The East of England Co-operative Society announced a multi-million pound deal to make Wherstead Park the company's new HQ.

Question marks had hovered over the expansive business complex after it came on to the market following previous occupier E.On's decision to switch its operations elsewhere in June.

However, the site will now become the Co-op's headquarters, as well as accommodating a prestigious regional business centre for other organisations, once it reopens for business towards the end of the year.


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It will be welcome news to the business community at a time of considerable economic uncertainty.

Today, society chief executive Richard Samson told of his joy at the acquisition.

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He said: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to take ownership of Wherstead Park.

“Following the merger of the former Ipswich and Norwich and Colchester and East Essex Co-operative societies in October 2005 we have been looking for an opportunity to bring together colleagues working at various sites in Suffolk and Essex.

“Wherstead Park will give us considerable flexibility to accommodate our own business requirements and will enable us to gain rental income from areas of the site not required for our own use.

“We intend to operate Wherstead Park as a prestigious regional business centre for other suitable organisations, who will share this superb location with the Society.”

Mr Samson said Wherstead Park, which has been bought for an undisclosed sum, would accommodate around 400 to 500 jobs, some of which would be new positions but the majority of which will be made up of people moving in from regional offices.

He added: “Wherstead Park is well located on the outskirts of Ipswich and has good transport links to the region's major road network.

“It will become the East of England Co-op's headquarters and we expect our new offices to be fully operational by the end of the year.”

Wherstead Park is made up of a large complex of buildings, including two listed properties and is situated in more than 17 acres of landscaped grounds with on site car parking.

The main building has a floor area of 6,298sq metres and comes complete with a full-height central atrium.

The East of England Co-operative Society is the third largest independent consumer co-operative in the UK and the largest independent retailer in East Anglia.

Today's news comes on the back of the society's recent announcement of an 11.4pc increase in group trading profit.

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