CITB to keep West Norfolk base until end of 2019
The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) has this afternoon announced that it will maintain its head office in West Norfolk until the end of next year.
Officials say the decision, which followed recent round-table talks with politicians, business and education leaders, will help them to formulate plans for the future use of the Bircham Newton site.
But they maintain the plan to move its headquarters will still proceed, following a board meeting last week.
Board member Maria Pilfold said: “After careful consideration at our board meeting, we decided to a maintain presence at Bircham Newton no later than the end of 2019, recognising a small number of roles which may be needed to oversee final exit arrangements or development.
“CITB will keep its promise to industry to reform, moving to a new single head office site in 2020 which is a crucial element of our proposals.
“This decision offers further clarity to CITB colleagues and will enable the business to start formal consultations with employees in the near future.”
The CITB says it looked at a plan to keep its headquarters at Bircham Newton until December 2019, after it was raised with officials during a meeting last month.
A statement issued this afternoon said: “After careful consideration the Board has confirmed the proposal based on the high level of commercial interest CITB has generated in the future development of the site.
“This commitment will enable CITB to work closely with local stakeholders to shape the future of the site with interested parties.
“Maintaining CITB’s Head Office presence at Bircham Newton on site until December 2019 will support a more rapid sale of the training college, which we anticipate to commence during the summer of 2018. CITB will then be well placed to go to market on the remainder of the site.
“The adjusted timeline will continue to allow CITB to meet the mandate from industry and government to complete its reform programme by 2020.”
The board says the decision will also help to ensure some training programmes will be kept at Bircham Newton in the future.
A new training model and grant scheme is also set to be introduced next month.
A short time ago, North West Norfolk MP Sir Henry Bellingham said he was relieved the move would not happen immediately, but admitted he was disappointed that the board still intends to leave Bircham.
He said: “I argued very strongly that it would have been a disaster for the CITB to move straight away, above all, because it would have removed their senior management from Bircham just at the time when key decision makers were needed on site to discuss the future training arrangements, plus the Master Plan for Bircham Newton.
“I think the CITB are making a mistake going out to consultation with a recommendation for a move at the end of 2019.
But this does give us a chance to persuade the incoming chairman that they should stay at Bircham.
“I will personally be leaving no stone unturned, when working alongside my colleagues such as Elizabeth Truss MP, to persuade the new Chairman that the HQ should be permanently kept at Bircham.
“I will also be making this point very strongly to the three sponsoring ministers across government.”