Kier Construction switch to Up Hatherley would secure 166 jobs
A TOTAL of 166 jobs will stay in Cheltenham if a building firm's plans to switch its base in the town are approved.
Kier Construction has revealed plans to demolish its existing home in Leckhampton, in favour of moving to a new site in Up Hatherley.
The project will depend on planning permission being granted by the borough council.
If it is, Kier will leave its Leckhampton Road home once it has built a new £6.3 million headquarters at Cheltenham Office Park in Hatherley Lane.
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The project would be paid for by the building of 33 homes on the Leckhampton Road site.
Simon Firkins, of SF Planning, has submitted the plans to the council on behalf of Kier.
He said getting the scheme approved would prevent Kier from having to consider moving to another site, possibly outside Cheltenham.
He said: "The residential proposals for Leckhampton Road are being seen as the mechanism to help achieve the new purpose-built headquarters at Cheltenham Office Park and maintain the profile of Kier within the town.
"They are a major local employer in the construction industry and have been at their site in Leckhampton for more than 60 years.
"The buildings and premises are outdated, the site is surrounded by existing residential properties on three sides and access through the local residential streets is not ideal.
"The sensitive redevelopment for residential purposes is therefore a logical solution and will remove the existing somewhat non-conforming use."
Ninety employees work at the Leckhampton site, with another 76 employed by the firm but not there day to day.
The Leckhampton Green Land Action Group has been campaigning for years against greenbelt land in the area being swallowed up for housing.
Chairman Kit Braunholtz welcomed Kier's plans to build homes on a brownfield site, saying: "It would be redeveloping an existing site within a residential area. That's exactly what we want so I would support it.
"You would have to do it so that it fits in with the area, so as not to upset people that live there already."
He added that it would be a suitable site for houses because it was near facilities that people needed, such as shops and schools.