A BUILDING which once housed an award-winning food store has been given new life as the head office of a law firm.

The Food Company in Marks Tey closed in September 2017 and the building remained vacant.

Talks with firm Holmes & Hills Solicitors began two years ago and it has now set up in the building.

The firm has signed a 15 year lease on the 14,000 sqft premises.

During lockdown it spent time turning the former food store into an office.

Social distancing measures have also been incorporated into the office design in order to keep staff and customers safe.

The building, just off the A12, will be home to 65 staff.

The firm has also created 15 positions linked to the new head office.

Mark Cornell, managing partner said: “The position of Holmes & Hills’ new A12 Commercial Hub, which will become the firm’s regional head office, makes our solicitors readily accessible to clients and professional contacts across the region.

“Clients, professional contacts and colleagues will be able to avoid town centre traffic and will arrive at our office to find ample on-site parking and a modern, agile and welcoming environment.

“With a dedicated coffee lounge providing for informal meetings and a large agile working space for collaborative working among colleagues, the A12 Commercial Hub provides the type of working environment that is required by any modern and growing business at the current time”.

All of Holmes & Hills Solicitors’ existing five town centre offices in Braintree, Sudbury, Halstead, Coggeshall and Tiptree will remain open.

The Food Company opened in 2000, at a time when foodies were worried about the disappearance of independent butchers, fishmongers and bakers from high streets.

The shop won the Essex Life Fine Food and Drink award for Retailer of the Year in 2011 and also the Great Taste Shop of the Year in 2013.

Owners were given permission by Colchester Council to change the use of the building to an office back in 2019.

There were no takers of the building in its previous form. as a food shop.