One of Bradford’s major employers has been forced to look to Leeds to solve an accommodation squeeze for head office staff.

Yorkshire Building Society said it needed to act quickly to relieve overcrowding at its head office on Rooley Lane, but no suitable building was available in Bradford. Instead, the Society is to lease part of the former John Lewis department store in Leeds city centre, while retaining its main base in Bradford housing around 1,000 staff. Up to 800 staff will occupy the Broad Gate office in Leeds .

YBS will spend £11 million upgrading its 1992 Rooley Lane headquarters, following which around 400 staff from satellite offices in Filey Street and New Augustus Street near Bradford city centre will move there.

YBS is also investing around £5 million improving offices in Cheltenham and Peterborough, previously the headquarters of the Chelsea and Norwich & Peterborough building societies, now part of the YBS business.

Chief executive Chris Pilling said: “This investment in the Yorkshire region marks the next exciting phase for us as an organisation. As a group we’ve experienced substantial growth in recent years resulting in significant accommodation issues, particularly in relation to our offices in Bradford, which are now overcrowded and in need of refurbishment.

“While we have introduced measures to alleviate some of the immediate pressures by securing additional space in Bradford, this has resulted in fragmentation of our teams across multiple sites.

“The pressure on space prompted a full review of all office sites and facilities to ensure the Society is set up to fulfil business requirements in the future. This review included a detailed research project looking at the physical resource needs of the group over the next five to ten years.”

Andy Caton, operations director confirmed that YBS was unable to find suitable ready-built accommodation in Bradford and building new offices would take too long for its needs.

Chris Pilling added: “We want to create modern, flexible environments that enable the bringing together of ideas and expertise for the benefit of our customers and our people. Our investment in Yorkshire Drive alongside the additional space in Leeds will allow us to achieve this.

“Ultimately we are making the most of our expanded capability to enhance our products and breadth of services for the benefit of all our members.”