3,000 DWP staff having to move out of Blackpool's Warbreck House two years early

Around 3,000 staff at DWP site Warbreck House in Blackpool will have to relocate to other offices two years earlier than expected after a change of plan by the landlord.
The DWP offices at Warbreck House, BlackpoolThe DWP offices at Warbreck House, Blackpool
The DWP offices at Warbreck House, Blackpool

Staff at the site, on Warbreck Hill Road, have been told that the landlord is taking possession of the building in June next year, two years ahead of plans by the department to move to new premises in Blackpool town centre.

The original proposals were that workers would transfer from existing sites at Warbreck House and Ryscar House in the town to a new seven-storey office block set to be built in King Street, in 2025.

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But now they are having to move out next year instead and the DWP says it will use other existing sites to accommodate them.

Artist's impression of plush new offices on King Street, BlackpoolArtist's impression of plush new offices on King Street, Blackpool
Artist's impression of plush new offices on King Street, Blackpool
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A DWP spokesperson said: “The landlord has given notice for DWP to vacate Warbreck House by June 2023 due to future plans for the site.

"We are supporting all staff to relocate to three nearby offices and don’t anticipate any redundancies.

"Our services will continue as normal for claimants.”

No explanation has been divulged as to why the plans have been brought forward by the landlord.

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It is hoped that the eventual move to King Street will boost the town centre economy by up to £8m a year, and follows several years of talks between the DWP (Department for Work and Pensions) and the council.

Construction of the new offices was expected to begin in May or June next year, with completion in autumn 2024.

Around 2,700 staff will be transferred from Warbreck House in North Shore, and just over 300 from Ryscar House in Bispham.

The £100m cost of the offices includes £82m from council borrowing which will be recouped in rent throughout the 25-year lease, with the DWP putting the remainder of the money in.

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The DWP remains one of the biggest employers on the Fylde coast.

The 2.4 acre site will not have dedicated parking but will include a new town centre square with cycle and pedestrian routes, storage for more than 100 bicycles and is within walking distance of the new tram interchange at Blackpool North Station.