Wilmslow's largest employer Royal London has announced plans to create an additional 450 new jobs at its campus on Alderley Road. The intention is to accommodate the new roles by building new, modern office accommodation on land owned by Royal London to the east of the existing campus.
The business currently employs around 900 full time staff in the town and wants to increase numbers to around 1,350.
Strong new business results for 2014, plus the Government's imminent pension reforms, mean that Royal London is looking to expand and has identified Wilmslow as its preferred location. The company also operates at sites in London, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Bath and the Republic of Ireland.
The Royal London site, which is situated in the Cheshire Green Belt has been identified in the Local Plan for mixed use development, delivering 75 dwellings, 17-24,000 sq m of employment space and a hotel.
Royal London's Jerry Toher said: "Wilmslow is a key part in our success story, both in respect of our achievements to date and our aspirations for the future. Many of our staff live locally and are proud of the economic and social ties between Royal London and the town. That is why I am pleased to confirm that Wilmslow is our clear preference to accommodate future growth within Royal London.
"We anticipate growing our Wilmslow operation over time, increasing the number of full time staff by 50% and providing significant new employment opportunities for the town.
"Over recent years in Wilmslow, staff numbers have grown as we have taken on more business and added to the number of customers we serve. This has resulted in the site becoming effectively full, not only in terms of accommodating staff, but also in terms of its IT and service infrastructure, which is increasingly outdated.
"In order to create these new jobs, we need better office space. This is why we support Cheshire East Council's proposed allocation for Royal London's land to the east of our existing campus. By developing this land we can create spin-off employment opportunities for Wilmslow, as well as offering new playing fields for Wilmslow High School.
"Wilmslow is our clear preference to accommodate planned growth but this cannot be done without the support of the Council and others to deliver our ambitions in the town. We very much hope that we will soon have a positive, well-balanced Local Plan in place that enables the business to expand locally, rather than at one of our other sites across the UK."
Royal London's announcement was backed by the East Cheshire Chamber of Commerce. Dave Watson, Chief Executive of the Chamber said: "We are delighted to hear the news that Royal London is looking to expand in Wilmslow.
"They are already the town's largest employer and it is great to see Royal London wanting to create jobs here in East Cheshire rather than elsewhere."
The public examination of the Local Plan was paused in November last year so the Council can make some modifications following the Planning Inspector's interim report which outlined "serious shortcomings" which need to be addressed before the Local Plan examination can continue.
A spokesperson for Cheshire East Council said "We anticipate sending the revised evidence base to the Inspector by the end of June according to our current programme, but the precise timing of the examination is a matter for the Inspector."