The signing is the latest stage in plans – subject to planning approval – to build a new head office alongside the M271 leading into Southampton, Ordnance Survey’s home for more than 160 years.
It follows the securing of an option for a development site at Adanac Park – the proposed location for a new office campus – about a mile away from Ordnance Survey’s current location at Romsey Road.
“We are delighted to have signed the contract so we can move ahead with our project to offer significantly improved working conditions for our staff,” says Vanessa Lawrence, Ordnance Survey’s Director General and Chief Executive. “This is about safeguarding our long-term future as an innovative, world-class organisation based in the Southampton area.”
Dick Simkin, Kier Property Managing Director, says: “This is an important scheme for Ordnance Survey, and Kier Property is delighted to be the facilitator of the proposed new HQ at Adanac Park and also the regeneration of the substantial development site at Romsey Road. This underlies our commitment to Southampton, and we look forward to working with the local community to determine the regeneration objectives for this important area. This transaction demonstrates the integrated approach that Kier is able to offer major occupiers.”
John O’Donovan of Turley Associates, planning consultants to the owners of Adanac Park, the Barker Mill Trust, adds: “The contract signing is another phase in the emerging plans for Adanac Park. They will be the subject of a full public consultation, which we hope will take place in the early summer, which will mark the start of the formal planning application process.”
Ordnance Survey’s existing site – opened by The Queen in 1969 – was designed when business and technology needs were markedly different to today. At that time there were more than 3,000 head office staff, compared to current numbers of around 1,150.
The Romsey Road building is expensive to maintain, despite significant improvements, and would need even more extensive investment to stay in line with modern standards.
Adanac Park, which is within Test Valley borough, offers a much more sustainable solution with the prospect of modern design reflecting energy efficiency. It is intended to house existing staff numbers while recognising future needs and patterns of work.
Test Valley Borough Council's Economic Portfolio Holder, Councillor Norman Arnell, says: “The Council took a strategic view of this site in the south of the borough some years ago. We decided that it should be safeguarded for high-quality employment in the area. It is a prime site in an excellent position and it is gratifying that the first proposed development on this 25-hectare site is from a major local employer with strong local links.
“Although still at an early stage in the scheme, Ordnance Survey is making an impressive commitment to informing and involving its staff and the community in its proposals. The Council also welcomes the commitment to create an energy-efficient building.”
The development plans for the current Ordnance Survey site at Romsey Road are likely to include new business and employment initiatives alongside new housing.
Councillor Adrian Vinson, Leader of Southampton City Council, says: “We have been working closely with Kier over the last year to maximise employment and regeneration opportunities arising from the location of Ordnance Survey to Adanac Park. The ability to develop the current Ordnance Survey site at Romsey Road gives us the chance to provide a different range of opportunities in employment sectors which are particularly important for Southampton residents. We also welcome the opportunity for the Council to work in partnership with Kier Property to improve the quality of the housing on offer to all local residents.
“We are also committed to working in partnership with Kier Property to continue to drive forward economic regeneration in Southampton – particularly along the Millbrook Road corridor, to strengthen the western employment offer for the city.”