Norcross closure plans U-turn

Fylde by Air March 2011.'Norcross civil service site. PIC BY ROB LOCK'22-3-2011
Fylde by Air March 2011.'Norcross civil service site. PIC BY ROB LOCK'22-3-2011
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CIVIL service chiefs have announced a partial U-turn on plans to close the Norcross site.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) revealed in June 1,200 workers were to be transferred to Peel Park next summer.

But now the government department has announced 200 jobs will remain at the Norcross site.

Staff working in the Shared Services department of the DWP, which provides an administration role, will be moved into Tomlinson House, currently home to 400 workers from the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency.

They are staying in the building, bringing the total workforce which will be based there to around 600.

The bulk of the remaining 1,000 DWP staff are still expected to relocate to Peel Park, with some moving to Warbreck House.

A spokesman for the DWP said: “At the time of the original decision, Tomlinson House was not available but now, because of other changes, it has become available.

“This is where Shared Services staff will be sited.

“It is more or less on the same site, which is good news.”

Union leaders say they are pleased with the decision.

Secretary of the Fylde Central Benefits and Services Branch of the PCS Duncan Griffiths said: “We have made it clear we’ve always been highly dubious as to the logistical aspect of moving 1,200 DWP people into a limited amount of space at DWP Warbreck and Peel Park.

“We have been concerned not all the units will be able to be physically re-housed on the Fylde and so there is a real danger of work moving elsewhere if the location strategy doesn’t work as a result of the announcement to close the DWP Norcross site.”

Concerns have also been raised about lack of transport links, including bus routes, to take workers to Peel Park.

Mr Griffiths added: “The majority of people at Norcross live in Thornton, Fleetwood and Cleveleys areas and are facing a journey of more than an hour to reach work at Peel Park.

“So those who are now moving to Tomlinson House are over the moon.

“We also hope this means some of the contractors’ jobs can be saved, as they will need cleaners, caterers, security staff, etc.”

Blackpool North and Cleveleys MP Paul Maynard says he intends to find out what it means for the future of workers.

He said: “I’m looking into the matter but I’m sure it will be welcomed by the many people who work there.”

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