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INTERVIEW: Morecambe firm moves due to plans to demolish former offices for hotel

The Consult Centre team at their new offices at 299 Marine Road Central in Morecambe

An award-winning Morecambe business has moved home after being told their former offices will be demolished to make way for a hotel.

The Consult Centre is now based at new premises at 299 Marine Road Central overlooking Morecambe Bay.

The digital marketing company was previously located at 231-233 Marine Road Central but decided to move after planning permission was granted to bulldoze their former home and build a new 86-bedroom hotel.

"It was disappointing," said Ruth Wilkinson, owner of The Consult Centre.

"We've had that building for a number of years. We did an awful lot of room hire and had a hot desking area, and we loved doing that.

"But the increasing uncertainty about the longevity of our stay in that building became quite difficult.

"It is a heavy heart that we've moved out of that building but it became difficult to get any answers to what was happening longer-term.

"In the absence of an update you have to make your own choices, and that was the choice we made."

Read more: Plans approved to demolish businesses on Morecambe prom to make way for new 86-bedroom hotel - Beyond Radio

LISTEN to Part 1 of our interview with Ruth Wilkinson talking about the move

In December, Lancaster City Council gave permission for a row of Morecambe businesses to be demolished, including The Consult Centre, to make way for a new hotel, shop and restaurant at 228-235 Marine Road Central.

"I've got a responsibility to the eight people who work within the business to make sure they're comfortable and feel secure about what's happening," said Ruth (pictured below), who is also chair of Morecambe BID (Business Improvement District).

"With Eden on the horizon, if you wait until the last-minute to move, then the opportunity to find somewhere you really want to be in, or indeed find anywhere at all, could be really limited. And I'm really committed to Morecambe, so there was no way I was going to base my business anywhere but in Morecambe.

"So we took that step.

"When it comes to the hotel, it's very difficult because I'm slightly torn. My business owner head says that feels really unfair, we've had everything changed and we really didn't want that to happen, and we're sad about it, but we've found somewhere else and it will all be great.

"But my chair of Morecambe BID head says, actually, Morecambe needs this. It needs the investment. It's really good for Morecambe and I can definitely see the positives to it. But sometimes when it impacts you so closely to home, you can't help but feel disappointed at the same time."

The Consult Centre will now focus on the digital marketing side of the business at the new offices, providing services including social media management, content writing, design, video production, blog writing, advertising campaigns, logos and Search Engine Optimisation to clients locally, across the UK, and some overseas.

The company won the 'Most Innovative Social Media & Marketing Agency 2023 - Lancashire' in the Northern Enterprise Awards 2023.

Pictured below, The Consult Centre team outside the new office at 299 Marine Road Central In Morecambe: Lesley Perrett, Taylor Stirrup, Jacob Agrellis, Caleb Gardner, Khaalisa Adam and Nikki Hardiman. 

"We have completely renovated it and turned it into a snazzy new set of offices," said Ruth.

"We have got a small area at the front where all our contacts can come and work, a mini-hot desking area."

But she said the move means they've had to change the successful room hire business they ran from their former home.

The 231-233 Marine Road Central building included a large room offering spectacular views across Morecambe Bay, which The Consult Centre rented out to organisations for meetings, training sessions and functions.

"Morecambe has lost a very good space that housed up to 100 people a week doing five days a week meetings, and we had five meeting rooms on the go," she said.

"For us there is a community impact. We also used to donate the rooms a lot, to community groups."

The former office of The Consult Centre at 231-233 Marine Road Central. 

The Bays Bikes bicycle shop also moved out of the building, to new premises on Alice Street in Morecambe.

In her interview with Beyond Radio, Ruth also spoke about her thoughts on the Eden Project, the Arndale Centre and Baylight '24.

LISTEN to Part 2 of our interview with Ruth Wilkinson

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