The over-50s travel and insurance company Saga is to close its Kent headquarters as a result of changes to working patterns following the pandemic.
It currently operates its head office at Enbrook Park in Sandgate, near Folkestone, but the number of workers using the office on a regular basis has fallen significantly as people choose to work from home, with usage currently sitting at approximately 17%.
The company has announced the decision that they will close the office on 17th March 2023.
The CEO Euan Sutherland said the business will now “operate from a number of smaller office hubs with colleagues also able to work from home”. The hubs will include a current base in central London and two planned locations in Kent.
Mr Sutherland said “As part of a wider investment in office hubs to support Saga’s business growth, the decision has been made to close Saga’s Enbrook Park office. Rather than one large office, Saga will open a number of office hubs, two of which will be in Kent and one existing hub is located in London at Kings Cross.
In 2021 Saga applied successfully for ‘prior approval’ to convert the main building at Enbrook, which enjoys prime views over the village and English Channel, into around 60 flats. It would appear that these plans have been on the table for some considerable time.
Other properties, including the former HQ in the centre of Folkestone, Bouverie House, were also put up for sale as the impact of the pandemic reduced the need for office space.
We want to see all existing green areas of Enbrook Park retained, maintained and respected
Councillor Tim Prater for for Sandgate and West Folkestone, said ‘We wait to see what comes forward in terms on new uses of the site, and notwithstanding the ‘permitted development’ permission they hold to convert the main building into flats, I fail to see how that is remotely a good use of the building or space’.
It is a major hit for the town of Folkestone, who were proud to be the home of the flagship company. Although Saga claim that there will be no job losses due to the closure, there are already questions about the facilities and nursery staff who will no longer have any work.