DIY materials supplier Wickes has left Harrow - to “upgrade” to a new office in Watford.
Almost all of the home improvement firm’s 200 employees relocated from its Support Centre in Station Road, Harrow, to state-of-the-art facilities at Vision House in Watford, Hertfordshire, on Monday.
The building housed the trading, operations, marketing, retail development, supply chain and distribution, and human resources and training specialist departments.
Managing director Simon King said: “Wickes’ modern new office facility is not only well located, but well equipped and designed to encourage the team based there to work even more collaboratively.
“The result will be quicker and more responsive support for each one of our Wickes stores – ultimately resulting in better service for our customers.
“Being closer to the Travis Perkins Group headquarters [in Northampton] will also enable more face-to-face collaboration with our leadership team.
“The new site provides a great place for people to work and gives us valuable room to grow, and it’s a cost-effective upgrade on the old office.”
Wickes was welcomed to Watford by the town’s mayor Councillor Dorothy Thornhill who said the confidence-boosting investment was “great news” for the local economy.
The firm created the Support Centre in Harrow out of a regular store in 1987 and its lease was due to expire in September of this year.
In 2012 the owner of the building lobbied Harrow Council unsuccessfully for the land to be included in the Harrow and Wealdstone Area Action Plan (AAP) and to be earmarked for redevelopment.
The local development framework advisory panel was told in a report from June of that year: “The land owner states it is to be vacated by the current tenants in September 2013, and is therefore being proposed for active ground floor uses fronting Station Road and hotel or residential use above and across the remainder of the site.
“While the agents for Wickes House submitted statements to support their proposals for a change in use, the Council notes that the site is currently occupied (at least for another year); that no marketing of the site has taken place upon which to gauge levels of interest; the building is of good quality in comparison to most stock within the AAP area; and that the proposals put forward (with the exception of the hotel development) would be inconsistent with the objective of the AAP to renew the office market."
No planning application to revamp the site has yet been submitted to Harrow Council.