A MAJOR employer in Basingstoke has U-turned on moving its headquarters and is staying put instead.

As previously reported in The Gazette. cabinet members at Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council (BDBC) agreed a multimillion pound agreement with The AA for the firm to move into the Florence Building in Basing View, once construction was complete.

However, the firm has now decided to stay at its long-term base in Fanum House. The decision comes after The AA confirmed it would not be financially viable to move to the new 60,000sq ft office.

Ian Crowder, head of public relations at The AA said: “What it comes down to is that we could not simply agree on a financial deal which suited us.

“We are dedicated to staying in Basingstoke and that is why we have taken the decision to stay put at Fanum House and we will be looking to spend some money on developing our existing home.

“This is not a long-term solution and Basingstoke is an ideal location for our staff so we saw no real advantage of moving.”

The AA has been based in Basingstoke for more than 40 years and currently around 700 members of staff work in Fanum House.

However, this U-turn now means the Florence Building, due to be completed in 2018, is in need of new tenants.

BDBC cabinet member for property and development councillor John Izett said: “It is disappointing that the company has decided, for its own reasons, that it does not now wish to proceed.

“However it is great news that the AA remains committed to Basingstoke and refurbishing Fanum House. If the company’s priorities change again, we will be happy to help them look for other opportunities here. The AA’s decision means that the Florence building will now be available as ‘A’ class office accommodation to attract other good employers to the town.”