Up to 285 jobs could be lost as Land Registry says Stevenage office will close in 2011
WORKERS at the Land Registry office in Stevenage have lost their five-month fight to prevent it being closed, resulting in the loss of up to 285 jobs. Land Registry announced in October it was closing five of its 17 offices in the UK, including the Steven
WORKERS at the Land Registry office in Stevenage have lost their five-month fight to prevent it being closed, resulting in the loss of up to 285 jobs.
Land Registry announced in October it was closing five of its 17 offices in the UK, including the Stevenage branch.
But Stevenage workers carried out a campaign to try and keep the office open and enlisted the help of their MP Barbara Follett.
But yesterday (Wednesday) they were given the bad news they all feared when it was confirmed that the Stevenage office will close by June 2011, with the loss of up to 285 jobs - although some might be transferred to Peterborough.
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Sue Funiciello, the Public and Commercial Services Union branch secretary, said: We have lost the battle. People here are devastated. Some people have been here many, many years and the office has been here since 1964.
"We just hope some people can transfer to the Land Registry at Peterborough but we will have to wait and see what happens.
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"We would like to say thank you for all the support from the staff and the citizens of Stevenage, signing petitions in trying to save this office.
"Everybody is still in shock at the moment, having been told the Land Registry office is closing in Stevenage after 46 years.
Sharon Taylor, leader of Stevenage Borough Council, said: "I am bitterly disappointed that the many months of campaigning by staff, Barbara Follett and myself have come to nothing.
"This is a devastating blow, especially as the Stevenage office has been outperforming all of the others around the country - a point I have repeatedly made when taking their concerns to the highest level.
"The staff at Stevenage Land Registry have contributed to our community in so many ways and I know they will be both upset and frustrated that their office is set to close.
"Although the Land Registry are operationally independent, I cannot understand why the government was unable to do more to protect these Stevenage jobs."
Barbara Follett, MP for Stevenage, added: “This is very sad news indeed.
"I have done everything I possibly can to keep the Land Registry in Stevenage and am terribly sorry that, after over 40 years, we will no longer have one.
"This will be devastating for staff; their families and town who they have served so well for so many years.
"I will do everything I possibly can to help this extremely skilled workforce re-locate or find new jobs in the area.”