Bright future for Bootle as Santander redevelopment plan gets thumbs up

Telecoms & Financial Services, Santander

Work will start on the complete rebuild of Santander’s massive Bootle complex in the Spring following the granting of planning permission for a £75 million investment that will secure banking jobs on Merseyside for decades to come.

The good news for not just employees, but also an entire community in which Santander is the largest private sector employer by far, was broken to staff on Friday – a year to the day after the Bank unveiled its ambitious redevelopment proposals to ecstatic staff at a special celebration in Bootle to mark the 50th anniversary of the site’s opening.

The dramatic vote of confidence in the site’s 2,500 strong workforce – the vast majority of whom are CWU members –  will involve the total phased replacement of the existing ageing buildings and the creation of what will become Santander UK’s main contact centre and operations hub.

Appropriately it was just two days before the 51st anniversary of the opening of the former National Girobank headquarters by Prime Minister Harold Wilson on October 18, 1968, that last Wednesday (October 16) Sefton Council’s planning committee gave its unanimous approval to a scheme which safeguards jobs in an area of comparatively high unemployment.

Recognising the “huge benefits” the development will have across the local community, the committee praised Santander’s commitment to improving the local area and the environmental benefits the scheme will bring.

Under the forthcoming rebuild, the site is to be completely reconfigured to provide a state-of-the-art environmentally friendly facility, which will incorporate a new public park and community facilities.

CWU assistant secretary Sally Bridge said: “The confirmation of this major investment in Bootle is fantastic news – all the more so at a time of great economic and political uncertainty associated with Brexit.

“Apart from demonstrating in bricks and mortar Santander’s commitment to the Bootle site and all those employed there, this investment is good for the wider community and a myriad of local businesses who rely on the custom of those who work at the Bank –  because ultimately this is all about employment.

“It also represents a resounding vote of confidence in a loyal workforce that has demonstrably proven itself worthy of this investment.”

Confirming that the Bank will now move swiftly ahead and work through the final design stages before construction begins early next year, Santander UK’s head of property Nick Roberts concludes: “We’re really pleased that our plans to invest in a new state-of-the-art office campus in Bootle have been approved by Sefton Council. This is an exciting next step in the development of our new contact centre and operations hub for Santander UK.

“It will not only give our colleagues a cutting-edge working environment but will also have the potential to become a hub for the local area, reaffirming our long-term commitment and support for the local community.”