Plans for Unilever’s global headquarters approved by Kingston Council

Plans for a new office and residential development in Kingston which will see consumer goods giant Unilever establish a new headquarters in the town centre have been approved by Kingston Council.

Proposals for the site, submitted by developer Cube Real Estate, comprise two-interlinked office buildings, car parking designed for electric vehicles and a new residential building set within landscaped gardens adjacent to the restored historic Hogsmill River.

Unilever, the company behind brands including Persil, Dove and Marmite, intends to consolidate its workforce from five existing sites in London and Surrey in the new site by winter 2023/24, bringing 2,000 jobs into Kingston town centre.

Kingston Council’s Executive Director of Place Nazeya Hussain said it was fantastic news for the borough. 

“This is incredibly exciting for Kingston’s future and brings huge opportunities for our economy and our residents, especially in light of the impacts of the pandemic on our local high streets and towns. The council has an ambitious vision for the borough - we are committed to boosting economic growth by attracting major new employers, such as Unilever and Lidl, diversifying the economy beyond retail and providing high quality jobs. 

“The news that a global brand like Unilever is pledging its future to Kingston with such a significant development is a great endorsement of that vision and testament to the opportunities they see here.  

“Kingston is a fantastic place to live and work and visit. Today is a great step forward in our commitment to creating opportunities for businesses of all shapes and sizes to succeed, and ensuring people across the borough have the opportunity to share in that success.”

Phase one of the development will see the demolition of Surrey House, Bo Concept retail store and the Hippodrome, to be replaced by two interlinked state of the art office buildings, one 9 storey and one 12 storey. The blocks will be built to the highest sustainability standards. A new, more sustainable car park for 354 cars, complete with electric charging facilities, will replace the existing multi-storey car park. It will also have more than 450 cycle parking spaces. The carpark will be used by Unilever employees during the week, and shoppers at the weekend.

In phase two of the scheme, which can only begin once the first phase of development is substantially complete, Lever House will be demolished and replaced by 115 new one, two and three bedroom homes, 35% of which will be affordable housing. These will be built next to the newly landscaped Hogsmill River. The development will be no more than 16 storeys. The site will also include a ground floor cafe and retail pod. 

Sebastian Munden, General Manager and Executive Vice President of Unilever UK & Ireland said:

“I am delighted that the plans for Eden Campus have been approved. While Unilever has had an office in the town centre for decades, we are very excited to make Kingston a key location for Unilever globally, with it becoming the home of our global and UK & Ireland head office. This is the ideal moment in time to create a modern campus, designed around new ways of working, where we can bring together employees, retailers, suppliers and shoppers in one space.

“Kingston is a fantastic retail and leisure destination, and I’m sure that our 2,000 employees will enjoy working in the heart of a thriving town, and making the most of all the amenities that will be on our doorstep.

“We are also looking forward to continuing to build relationships with local businesses and organisations, working together for the Kingston community.”

For more information about the plans, read the full proposals.


Published: 1st April 2021