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Pilgrim's Quarter will be HMRC's new home in the North East from 2027
Pilgrim's Quarter Credit: Ryder Architecture
Pilgrim's Quarter will be HMRC's new home in the North East from 2027

HMRC to move 9,000 North East staff to city centre hub

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HMRC has signed a 25-year lease on a purpose built development, bringing staff from three locations under one roof.

23rd Nov 2021
Editor in Chief AccountingWEB
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Newcastle’s Pilgrim’s Quarter will be the new city centre home for 9,000 HMRC staff in the North East once building work is complete in 2027.

The nine-storey building will be the largest of the tax authority’s 13 regional centres, at 43,000 sq meters.

It will bring staff together from across three sites at Benton Park in Newcastle, Waterview Park in Washington and Emerald Court in Peterlee. The Peterlee site will close from March 2023, with staff moving to Benton Park or Waterview Park before relocating again in 2027.

Teams expected to be based in Pilgrim’s Quarter include customer services, customer strategy and design, finance, HR, transformation and specialist customer compliance facilities.

Jim Harra, HMRC’s chief executive and first permanent secretary, said: “HMRC has had a longstanding presence in Newcastle and the wider North East. Signing the lease for the new regional centre is a clear demonstration of our commitment to the area, its economy and our employees based in the North East.

“Pilgrim’s Quarter will deliver the inclusive, flexible and collaborative working environment that meets the current and future needs of our colleagues while improving career development opportunities.”

HMRC said that moving to Pilgrim’s Quarter better meets the department’s future requirements by providing the size and quality of workplace it needs, with better access to transport links that will also support the government’s green and sustainability agendas.

Steve Barclay, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, said: “Moving 9,000 staff into one city centre site will deliver fantastic footfall for local businesses while also making the government property estate greener and more efficient.”

The new building is ten minutes from Newcastle Central Station and is described as being part of a vibrant and attractive new development close to retail and leisure facilities and open spaces.

HMRC would not disclose to AccountancyWEB the fit out costs, terms of the lease or its total investment in the new site but added that it is “satisfied the deal represents the best value for money for the taxpayer”.

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Replies (16)

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paddle steamer
By DJKL
23rd Nov 2021 16:48

Is this one as good as the Mapeley Steps Limited PFI deal?

https://nipsa.org.uk/nipsa-in-action/global-solidarity/114-hmrc-the-slee...

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Replying to DJKL:
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By Hugo Fair
23rd Nov 2021 17:40

Ssssh, it's bad manners to keep bringing that up - just because it should have been as big a scandal as the Royal Mail treatment of sub-PO managers (as P Eye has been reporting for a similar length of time).

"HMRC would not disclose to AccountancyWEB the fit out costs, terms of the lease or its total investment in the new site but added that it is “satisfied the deal represents the best value for money for the taxpayer”".
How can anything be the 'best value for money' if the objective criteria aren't defined or quantified?

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Replying to Hugo Fair:
paddle steamer
By DJKL
24th Nov 2021 17:25

If you ignore all detail, and never disclose it to public gaze everything can be the best thing ever, nearly as good as that Peppa Pig World thing, HMG ,whether politicians or senior civil servants, seem incapable of doing anything but mouth off in complete ignorance of reality or any facts. Platitudes, Platitudes.

Earlier this year I had a Zoom conversation with an MSP, riveting it was not, his inability to have actually done any basic research was stunning (was that him or his team, who knows), imho it is not just Westminster it is all of them.

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By mbee1
23rd Nov 2021 17:00

"Customer strategy and design and transformation" are moving there. Can someone explain what these departments do?

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Replying to mbee1:
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By AndyC555
24th Nov 2021 11:18

Quite obviously they design and transform the customer strategy.

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By Open all hours
23rd Nov 2021 18:57

‘Inclusive, flexible, collaborative working environment’.

When we moved office our top three were ‘efficient, convenient and professional’.

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Pile of Stones
By Beach Accountancy
23rd Nov 2021 21:55

How long do you think HMRC will still have the Benton Park postal address on their website as a current address?

I reckon 2054. Then they can blame us when post goes missing.

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By SteveHa
24th Nov 2021 09:52

I have no idea why PFI still forms a part of the plan. It all started when I worked there, and we all knew it was a bad idea and more costly. Is this just more Tories propping up their mates at the taxpayer's expense?

EDIT: For full disclosure, I was a senior union representative in the IRSF/PTC/PCS (as it evolved) so I got involved with this stuff.

EDIT2: Where I worked the three Civil Service unions had been collaborating and working together long before the union mergers. Michael Meacher (MP) requested a meeting with us at the time, which we were happy to grant. Beer on Parliament expenses is not to be turned down.

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By North East Accountant
24th Nov 2021 11:07

Per HMRC - 08/01/19

"In 2015 we announced that HMRC aimed to bring its employees together in 13 large, modern offices, making it easier to collaborate and work flexibly."

"Our regional centre in Newcastle will be at our current location of Benton Park View."

I know we've had a pandemic but I wonder how much HMRC spent at Benton Park View since 2015 to now abandon it and move to another new office.... which no doubt will be costing a fortune too.

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Glenn Martin
By Glenn Martin
24th Nov 2021 13:12

Great for my city this, just as the council have declared all out war on the motorist with cars soon to banned from the city centre so be keen to see how 9000 workers will get to it.

If you follow football the recent takeover of NUFC included a 20% stake held by the Reuben brothers who have been buying up large chunks of the city for years knowing a boom would follow the football deal. This will be a great deal for them with government tenant for 25 years, as they paid buttons for the site.

If this is part of levelling up it will be great for our city, and some of my hospitality stuff might actually thrive again.

Hopefully if there is 9000 staff on site some will have been trained to answer the phone in less than 30 minutes.

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Tornado
By Tornado
24th Nov 2021 13:23

'HMRC has signed a 25-year lease on a purpose built development, bringing staff from three locations under one roof.'

With so many HMRC staff still working from home, have the Government signed a 25 year lease for a property that may never be fully occupied when 80% of staff have decided to work from home permanently.

A great bit of forward thinking again from HMRC. The developers saw them coming.

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Replying to Tornado:
Glenn Martin
By Glenn Martin
24th Nov 2021 15:12

The site at Long Benton must currently cost a fortune as its huge, bigger than the Pentagon someone onces said to me (not sure if true) but land will be worth a truck load as residential land.

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Replying to Glennzy:
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By Andrew_hound
25th Nov 2021 07:22

Glennzy wrote:

The site at Long Benton must currently cost a fortune as its huge, bigger than the Pentagon someone onces said to me (not sure if true) but land will be worth a truck load as residential land.

As a local resident to both the major Government sites at Benton Park and Tyneview Park, they must have an eye on residential development and Benton Park (older) is the better placed for this. My money is on this site being sold for multi millions.

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By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
25th Nov 2021 11:53

Looks like this will be really good value - for donors to the Tory party.

£1.9 million donation, and "what a surprise" they pick this up.

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2021/nov/25/hmrc-to-relocate-to-new...

I wonder how good a value this deal will be for the tax payer.

They used to call this corruption. It now seems to just be "normal business"

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By gillybean04
25th Nov 2021 18:56

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2021/nov/25/hmrc-to-relocate-to-new...

Edit - Didn't see this had already been posted, apologies.

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By Justin Bryant
26th Nov 2021 11:09

Pretty bad journalism by Aweb not to mention the above Tory Donor BVI etc. issue. That's the only thing of any real interest here!

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