GOOD Energy has backed out of the Sadlers Mead office development next to Wiltshire College and the Olympiad leisure centre in Chippenham.

Now Wiltshire Council and the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership (SWLEP) are working to find another important employment use for the site in Cocklebury Road.

Changes to the financial landscape caused by COVID-19, and the rise in homeworking, have both contributed to the decision.

Instead of moving to the new development, Good Energy will expand into another floor at the council’s Monkton Park offices.

The energy supplier will also repay the fees that the council has spent on designing the building.

Cllr Philip Whitehead, leader of Wiltshire Council and cabinet member for economic development, said: “Of course, we’re disappointed that Good Energy has chosen not to progress with this scheme but we’re pleased that the company is committed to keeping jobs in Chippenham.

“This site, which has great links to London due to its proximity to the station, remains an important strategic development area for the council, and we’re working closely with SWLEP to explore new and exciting employment opportunities.

“We have worked closely with Good Energy throughout, and we will continue with this positive working relationship as they move into an extra floor in our Monkton Park offices.”

Fran Woodward, people and customer operations director, Good Energy, said: “While this wasn’t an easy decision for us to make, as the UK faces economic uncertainty following COVID-19, we need to ensure we’re making the right investments for our future.

"Our entire workforce has been working from home effectively and productively. In this context, as a business that takes its environmental impact extremely seriously, we have had to rethink our office workspace and how we can take a more digital and less carbon-intensive approach going forward, which will involve more remote and flexible working.

“We thank the team at Wiltshire Council for the support and understanding they have shown.”

Paddy Bradley, SWLEP chief executive officer, said of the news: “Although it’s disappointing the current economic conditions mean Good Energy will not be moving forward with this project, the development remains a strategic priority for the area.

“Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership continues to work with Wiltshire Council to explore other opportunities for the use of the site.

"Chippenham, with its strong connectivity, is well-placed to benefit from a development of this site.”

The council's Sadlers Mead development has been dogged by controversy since it was first proposed.

Some people working in Chippenham complained about the car park next to The Olympiad leisure centre being closed for 11 months.

Motorists were told they would have to use other car parks in the area when work began on creating a new surface and multi-storey car park.

The new car park will increase the number of spaces from the current 165 to 237 car spaces, three coach spaces and six motorcycle spaces.

The new offices where Good Energy had hoped to go will include cycle parking, solar panels and battery storage, with 40 parking spaces for the office building at ground level.