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Saga brings up to 800 new jobs to Hastings

6 October 2010

The Saga Group, which specialises in products and services for the nation’s over 50s, is set to become the largest private sector employer in Hastings, East Sussex.

The company has announced its intended purchase of One Priory Square in the Priory Quarter business district of Hastings’ town centre.  One Priory Square is a new, six-storey, 45,000 sq ft building of Grade A offices, created by economic development company Sea Space as part of the long-term redevelopment programme for the area. 

Work will start now to equip the building so it can accommodate up to 800 contact centre and support staff.  The site will open for business in the New Year.

Saga Insurance has continued to grow and attract customers, creating a need for more staff and facilities, with Hastings chosen as the location for this expansion. 

Commenting on the acquisition, Roger Ramsden, chief executive of Saga Insurance, said: “Our customers like things done properly, and we rely on well-trained people, rather than irritating automated call answering.  Saga customers like a personal service and prefer speaking with people based in the UK. 

 “Hastings is an ideal location.  Priory Square is in the town centre and has good public transport links and the building will provide a great working environment.  We aim to attract, train and keep the best talent that Hastings has to offer.”

Pam Alexander, Chief Executive Officer of the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA): “We welcome Saga most sincerely. This is great news for the people and the economy of Hastings. The regeneration programme was founded on building a strong and sustainable commercial base here and 800 new private sector jobs will bring a terrific boost to that plan.

“SEEDA made the initial investment in Hastings which sparked a very successful partnership with Hastings and East Sussex councils and the creation of Sea Space. Together, we have delivered against target – Priory Quarter is flourishing. My sincere thanks to everyone involved – I know Saga will find that Hastings is great place to do business.”

Professor Julian Crampton, Chair of Sea Space and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Brighton: "It's wonderful to hear that Saga has decided to set up a major business operation in Hastings. It's been a team effort by all private and public sector partners backing Coastal Land - the joint venture between the Land Group and Sea Space - to create Priory Quarter as a dynamic business district in the town.

"This is, however, much more the beginning than the end of the process. Saga's investment in the town enables us to move directly on to tackle the next phase of redevelopment. Our focus on attracting further companies and investment to Hastings and Rother must continue.

"Employment opportunities are essential at any time and this is extremely good news for the local jobs market and for the community as a whole. It is particularly welcome at a time when we are creating opportunities for the next generation, through the establishment of two new academies and by the expansion of University Centre Hastings with the construction of its second phase."

Councillor Peter Jones, Leader of East Sussex County Council: “I welcome the exciting news that Saga is coming to Hastings and planning to create 800 jobs. This is a vindication of all the endeavours of local partners and the private sector to make Hastings and East Sussex an attractive place in which to invest.  It’s a testimony not just to Sea Space’s development programme but to everyone who’s worked so hard to improve the area’s education system and skills base.

“East Sussex County Council has invested in school improvement programmes and is now working with the University of Brighton and BT to sponsor two academies for Hastings. We believe these will add to the growing success of University Centre Hastings and the new Sussex Coast College. We recognise that the skills of the local labour force are a crucial element in the drive to attract new employers of Saga’s calibre.”

Councillor Jeremy Birch, Leader of Hastings Borough Council: “This is big news for Hastings and I welcome Saga with open arms.  Saga is a great household name and its plans to create 800 jobs will make a huge difference to this community. We should be proud that Saga chose Hastings after evaluating potential locations all over the country. Sea Space’s economic development programme is delivering its intended results for Hastings, after the Government responded to local partners’ need to tackle the economic problems of the most deprived community in the south east. Much work, however, still needs to be done: all the local partners will have to work with the Government to ensure the necessary resources can be attracted from the private sector to build on this good news.”

Amber Rudd, MP for Hastings & Rye: “Saga has given a much-needed and timely boost to the Hastings economy and the jobs prospects for local residents. The new Government’s strategy for economic development focuses on private sector investment, creating private sector jobs to rebalance local economies with a high dependency on public sector employment. This is exactly what we’re seeing in Hastings today. A public-private partnership backed by bank funding provided the investment to create top quality new offices. It’s excellent news to hear that Saga will now set up in these offices and create so many jobs. This is the way forward – and I hope just the beginning for Hastings, with much more to follow to meet the continuing challenges ahead.”

Andrew Doyle, Director of The Land Group (joint venture partner with Sea Space, forming Coastal Land (Sussex) LLP - the developer of One Priory Square): “We are hugely encouraged by Saga’s decision to expand its company in the new premises we’ve created in the heart of Priory Quarter. This is a fantastic result which will help the new business district go from strength to strength and provide a springboard for further development. I thank our colleagues at Saga and those supporting Coastal Land for all the efforts that have got us to this point. Much hard work lies ahead for both parties now to ensure that Saga can customise the building for its needs.”

Councillor Carl Maynard, Leader of Rother District Council: “Saga’s move to Priory Quarter is fantastic news, not just for Hastings town centre but the wider Hastings and Rother Area.  Having such a large, well-respected new employer with ambitious growth plans means jobs for people right across the area and a big stimulus for the broader business economy. In addition, this development underlines the need for the Bexhill-Hastings Link Road to unlock further capacity for jobs in North Bexhill.”


Notes to Editors:

Since 2003, SEEDA has worked with local partners to transform Hastings and Bexhill into an attractive business location with a skilled workforce. This includes the creation of Sea Space (, the economic development company for Hastings, Bexhill and the wider East Sussex area. Sea Space is backed by East Sussex County Council, Hastings Borough Council, Rother District Council and the area’s two MPs.  Sea Space is working on behalf of these partners to deliver a long-term, £400m economic development programme for the area.

One Priory Square has been developed by Coastal Land (Sussex) LLP – a joint venture between economic development company Sea Space and property firm The Land Group. The building stands in the Priory Quarter business district ( near:

  • the newly-created Priory Square public space
  • Lacuna Place: a recently completed, four-storey, 37,500 sq ft Grade A office building, also developed by Coastal Land (Sussex) LLP, which is occupied by Bibby Financial Services, Heringtons Solicitors and, on the ground floor, a Tesco store
  • a second building for University Centre Hasting – funded by the University of Brighton, SEEDA and Sea Space - which Sea Space is creating to double total higher education student capacity
  • the newly-opened, £100m Sussex Coast College of further education.

As One Priory Square will be occupied by Saga and Lacuna Place is substantially occupied, Sea Space will now focus on bringing forward the next phase of development of Priory Quarter. 

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