Up to 270 local jobs are at risk after one of Basingstoke’s biggest employers announced it would soon leave the town.
Pharmaceutical giants Shire have revealed that the firm will close its offices at Hampshire International Business Park in Chineham at the end of next year.
The company is planning to open an office for its UK commercial operations in Paddington, London, to move workers “closer to the heart of life science communities”.
Shire is also proposing to move employees to its offices in Dublin over the next 18 months, meaning that the Basingstoke branch’s 270 workers would have to relocate to keep their jobs.
A statement read: “The proposed move will bring the majority of commercial, R&D and key corporate roles currently based in Basingstoke closer to the heart of life science communities and resources.
“The new location will provide an excellent base from which to drive future UK commercial growth.
“Shire aims to retain the majority of existing roles, and hopes that many of the company’s current employees will remain with Shire.”
The news comes as a bitter blow for Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council as they look to entice big businesses to the borough at Basing View and beyond.
And cabinet member for finance and resources, John Izett, was quick to question the logic behind the decision, with the move to Paddington set to see total accommodation and running costs triple compared to operations in Chineham.
“Shire have been part of the fabric of Basingstoke for many years, so it’s obviously not good news,” said Cllr Izett.
“I really don’t understand the business logic of it at all, but while I would much rather have seen them stay, it is their decision.
“A lot of people will be searching for a new job because of this, and while not minimising the impact, if there’s one positive of this it’s that there do seem to be a lot of opportunities in the borough at the moment.”
Chineham borough councillor Paul Miller admitted that the news hadn’t come as a surprise to him, while he also argued that a large proportion of current employees wouldn’t be able to move with the company.
He added: “The whole community has known that this was coming for some time.
“Losing jobs anywhere is going to be bad for a local community, so naturally we are disappointed.
“People aren’t going to uproot their families and go to Dublin, which means there will be a number of people out of work.
“But we have no control over this.”