REPRESENTATIVES of local businesses, town officials and Greg Clark gathered at Number 22 Mount Ephraim on Friday (March 24) to mark the official opening of the new Cripps offices.
The 40,000 sq ft state of the art building, which is on the site of the former Kent & Sussex Hospital, was built by Berkeley Homes as part of its major Royal Wells Park development and is occupied by around 300 of the law firm’s staff over four floors.
Its opening marks one of the largest additions to office space in the town ‘in decades’ and was hailed by the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy as a ‘significant investment’ in Tunbridge Wells.
Mr Clark added: “It is securing jobs and continuing to benefit the local economy. Cripps has been in the town since the firm was founded in 1852 and in that time has become one of the most high profile law firms in the South East. I am delighted this large and significant local employer has shown such dedication to remaining in the town.”
The firm’s Tunbridge Wells offices were previously based in five different buildings in Mount Ephraim Road, which were increasingly unsuitable for its expansion. It took more than ten years to find an office building capable of accommodating all its staff under one roof.
“It has been a very long search but things had to be right,” said Gavin Tyler, Managing Partner at Cripps. “The way we work has changed significantly over the years. Modern business requires modern premises and we have made very significant investments in the latest technology and office systems to ensure that we can operate as collaboratively and efficiently as possible as well as ensuring that the client and visitor experience when visiting the office is memorable.
He added: “As a business we are committed to Tunbridge Wells, its people and business community so we are delighted to have been able to find such wonderful offices at the heart of the town.”
Council leader David Jukes said the new building is of the sort he seeks to ‘replicate’ when it comes to developing the new civic complex, particicually its high level of energy efficiency.
In addition, he welcomed a ‘well known company’ committing to building more office space in the town, a view shared by the council’s Chief Executive William Benson.
Mr Benson Said: “I am thrilled by this development. It is the first new offices to build in Tunbridge Wells in decades and I am delighted that Cripps continue to invest and thrive in the town.”