CRUK says the offer to move to Stratford was ‘too good to turn down'

04 Jul 2019 News

International Quarter building, July 2018

Cancer Research UK will begin to move to its newly-built headquarters in Stratford, East London, in October, within budget and on time, the charity has said.

Speaking at the Charity Property Conference on Tuesday, CRUK’s director of property Martin Elmer said the charity’s staff were happy at its current location in Angel, North London, but the offer to move to the new International Quarter had been financially “just too good to turn down”.

The charity announced its intention to move in 2017, saying at the time that it expected to cover relocation costs by gaining £17.5m by surrendering the lease on its current building in Angel and that the new building would be ready by 2019.

Elmer said: “Negotiations were long and tough. We had to take all of those through the trustees, which is absolutely fine.

“I am really pleased to say, two years down the line, with ‘x’ weeks to go, we are bang on time, bang on budget, and we have a nice little contingency [budget] for the final phase in case anything goes wrong. What we said all that time ago, we delivered.”

‘Staff engagement’

The charity’s Angel headquarters is home to about 1,400 staff and attracts around 1,700 visitors each month.

Jacqui Hill, CRUK’s project lead for the Stratford move, said the charity had put a lot of energy into reassuring its staff about the move.

She said: “I’ll be candid with you, one of the largest challenges for us about sharing the fact that we were going to move to Stratford was that there are a lot of things on offer for us at Angel. Our staff love it as an area.

“A lot of them hadn’t been out there since the Olympics, and going out there now, it is very different. And two years down the line, it is going to be very different again.

“One of the best things we have done is we’ve had over 650 staff complete a tour of the building from the moment it was just a concrete shell to about three weeks ago was probably the last tour we did alongside area tours, which are continuing now.

“They get to test the commute but they also get to see what I’m talking about. It is much different when you can see the organisations and the opportunities that are out there available in the space.”

Other charities are moving to Stratford soon with the British Council moving to the International Quarter, while Scope and Unicef are moving to the nearby Here East campus.

Hill said: “It is a really great mix of organisations and types of working.

“We have already created a tenant group who meet regular, look for opportunities and especially want to talk about how we engage with the community in a way that doesn’t feel like another ‘ask’ on them and that includes schools, colleges, and other educational facilities in the area.”

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