HSBC '˜close to deal' on moving to £480m Sheffield Retail Quarter

HSBC are in '˜advanced talks' about moving to new offices in the £480m Sheffield Retail Quarter development.

Tuesday, 17th May 2016, 6:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 17th May 2016, 10:06 am
Artists impression of the proposed office space in Sheffield Retail Quarter.

Leigh Bramall, deputy leader of Sheffield Council, said it is hoped a deal can be signed very soon in a move designed to secure the bank’s future in the city.

Coun Bramall said: “We have been working with them on a new office headquarters in the city, with a view to that being part of Retail Quarter.

Griffin House HSBC Building on Silver Street Head in Sheffield

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“We want to secure Sheffield as a major IT hub for the city in the UK.

“We are working hard to maintain them being in the city. They are a major employer in Sheffield.”

He said the council had not been aware of the HSBC’s plans to cut 600 jobs and the announcement is not linked to the ongoing discussions about HSBC potentially moving from its current base at Griffin House to the Sheffield Retail Quarter.

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Griffin House HSBC Building on Silver Street Head in Sheffield

Coun Bramall confirmed the details after John Hackett, chief operating officer of HSBC, said Sheffield would remain ‘a major centre of excellence for our IT operations’ despite the 600 redundancies that have been announced.

Mr Hackett added: “We are in advanced discussions with Sheffield Council about investing in a new office building, and will continue to employ more than 2,700 people in Sheffield after these redundancies.”

But HSBC would not comment about whether it is in talks about moving to the planned Retail Quarter development.

The bank is moving 840 IT jobs abroad in a bid to save money, with the majority of the roles based in Sheffield and Tankersley.

Coun Bramall said the council will be offering support to the workers who are being made redundant.

He said: “Sheffield has an extremely talented and high-skilled IT workforce.

“We are therefore disappointed to hear that HSBC are moving so many high skilled jobs out of our area to lower-wage economies.

“The move is a blow for both the people directly affected by this news and the city as a whole.

“For the Sheffield City Region to lose almost 600 IT jobs in this way is of great concern and we are contacting HSBC to see if we can work together to find a solution that will retain as many of these jobs as possible in Sheffield.

“HSBC are a big employer in our city and we are working to maintain Sheffield’s role as a key specialist IT hub.

“We understand the impact that job losses has on employees and their families and will be doing everything possible to support those affected find new employment in the city as quickly as possible.

“The council is in advanced discussions with HSBC about a new building for its digital headquarters and the company has strongly indicated it wants to stay in Sheffield, securing more than 2,700 jobs and specialist knowledge in the Sheffield City Region.”

It is intended that HSBC will occupy the first phase of the Sheffield Retail Quarter and will move in by 2019 to new office and retail space.

Outline proposals for the £480m destination of shops, homes and offices, which council bosses hope will transform the city centre’s fortunes, are due to be made public early next month as planning permission for the scheme is sought.

It was originally hoped the plans would be decided on in late 2015.

But council bosses have said they are confident the retail scheme - which replaces the failed Sevenstone development - will go ahead with the first phase complete by 2019.

Talks are still taking place with John Lewis over whether it will have to move to a new city centre location as part of the plans.

The proposals for the retail quarter include extending Fargate, building a new multi-storey car park on Rockingham Street and building a new public square.

The scheme is centred on the areas around Barkers Pool, Pinstone Street and Moorhead.

Sheffield Council is spending £60m in its attempt to bring the scheme to fruition but officials say the changes will generate an extra £300m per year for the local economy by attracting more shoppers and visitors to the city centre.

Despite the news of the potential office move, HSBC staff at Griffin House said they feared more jobs could be lost following Monday’s announcement.

One woman, who did not want to be named, said that she had been employed by the company for more than 30 years and is one of the staff members who will lose her job.

She tearfully said: “The atmosphere’s really subdued inside. And there’s more to come, this isn’t the end. I’ll find out more later but I will be one of the ones going.”

In June 2015 HSBC announced plans to cut 8,000 jobs in the UK as part of a £3bn savings drive. The 840 IT job cuts across the UK announced on Monday are the first confirmation of redundancies to be made following last June’s announcement.

Another male employee said he had been expecting the job losses because of the previous announcements.

As he left the office he said: “I’m not particularly surprised, we knew this was coming.”

Dozens of employees left the office on Silver Street at lunchtime with their heads down yesterday.

Many said they had been told not to speak to the press.

Many Sheffielders have attacked the move on social media, with some even calling for people to take their business elsewhere.

On Facebook Jodi Mary Booker called the decision ‘disgusting’ and called for people to boycott the bank.

Clive Wilson agreed and said: “Use your feet, move your accounts and hit them where it hurts.”

John Bower also said he would no longer use HSBC’s banking services.

He said: “Disgusting, another bank I will not be dealing with.”

Deborah Jackson Boden commented: “Thoughts to all those people and families affected.”

David Lymer said: “All banks think about is making the most amount of money so they fire hard working people for cheaper labour. Sad times we live in.”