The future of one of Haverhill’s major employers has been secured following a £3.5m investment by West Suffolk Council.
AXA Insurance employs over 200 people at Provincial House, on Haverhill High Street. Changes in working practices meant that it only needed to rent one floor but was paying for three and was considering its options as the end of its lease approached.
Now, however, the firm has been able to commit with its long-term future to the town taking on the first floor only from new owners West Suffolk Council.
John Griffiths, leader of West Suffolk Council said: “We are delighted to have secured the long-term future of a major employer AXA in Haverhill. Not only will we keep AXA here but the site also includes retail tenants Savers, Greggs, Corals and another unit available to let which will bring rental income to support council services.
“What’s more this investment, our third in Haverhill High Street in the last 18 months, presents further opportunities including the possibility of attracting new employment to the town centre and delivering on some of the vision of the town centre masterplan.”
Susan Glossop, cabinet member for Growth at West Suffolk Council, said: “Provincial House is a key piece in the jigsaw for shaping the future of Haverhill High Street. Securing the future of AXA here and refurbishing the second and third floors will enable us to pursue opportunities for other uses including employment growth and breathe new life into the town centre.”
Waseem Malik, executive managing director Claims at AXA, said: “AXA has been based in Haverhill for many years employing over 200 local people in our motor claims operation. We are delighted to be in the community and have forged excellent links within the town with a high calibre of staff who do an amazing job every day helping customers at their time of need. We are delighted that the council have acquired Provincial House and are hugely excited by their forward looking plans for the town and the High Street. We are excited to be working with the council and extending our association with the town.”
The site is the third in Haverhill High Street to be bought as part of the council’s Investing in Growth fund.
The council purchased the building occupied by Iceland Foods for just under £2m in May 2018 and has kept on the retail as an ongoing tenant. Then in March this year it bought the former HSBC site for £376,400. It is currently looking for interim uses for that site which will support the local community while it will also pursue future options for its redevelopment.
Pictured above is Susan Glossop, John Griffiths and deputy leader of West Suffolk Council Sara Mildmay-White with some of the AXA staff in Haverhill.