Last Tuesday, Nestlé revealed that they might move out of the borough.
The company, which employs around 1,000 people at its UK headquarters in St George's House in Wellesley Road and is the largest private sector employer in Croydon, has been based here since 1965. In a statement they said that their current offices and the deteriorating environment around them “do not provide a suitable base for our business or our employees in the medium term”, that to date Croydon Council “has not been able to identify potential alternative locations that are cost-effective” and that whilst they “are happy to review any further proposals from the Council and local developers…we have now after many years been forced into also reviewing other options outside Croydon”.
Nestlé is a vital part of Croydon’s economy and I am determined to do everything in my power to ensure they stay.
I can completely understand the company’s frustration with the state of St George’s Walk, which is the result of the collapse of the previous Council’s ill-fated Park Place scheme. I spoke to Ian Rayson, Nestlé’s Director of Corporate Affairs on Friday night and I will be meeting him next week at Conservative Party Conference.
I have also spoken with both the Leader and Chief Executive of Croydon Council and am reassured that the Council appreciates the seriousness of the situation and will move heaven and earth to quickly come up with something that meets Nestlé’s needs.
I have offered to work as an intermediary between Croydon Council and Nestlé. Many of Nestlé’s staff live in the borough and will not want to relocate or face a long commute and I am sure their senior management will not want to lose talented staff so if the Council can quickly come up with a competitive offer there is everything to play for.