Checkatrade leaving Selsey – the story so far

New Checkatrade HQ in Lakeside, Portsmouth
New Checkatrade HQ in Lakeside, Portsmouth

After the announcement that the Checkatrade headquarters will be moving to Portsmouth, we look at the journey so far for the company which started in Selsey.

The Checkatrade headquarters have been based in Selsey since 1998 when the company was founded by Selsey resident Kevin Byrne.

Mr Byrne has previously told The Observer he built the company to employ 320 people (200 in Selsey) and despite its success, he had always 'resisted moving the head office out of Selsey' because he had 'lived, worked and loved Selsey since I was 13'.

The Checkatrade website has this description of how it all began: "When a tornado damaged hundreds of Selsey homes and buildings in 1998, rogue traders travelled from all over the country to take advantage of the situation. Homeowners were deceived and there was no easy way for them to discern between genuine tradespeople and opportunists.

"Local businessman Kevin Byrne discovered that little was being done to protect the public and that reliable information about tradespeople was hard to find. So he started Checkatrade, a free information service that runs on the basis of reputation.

"With all member businesses being recommended, background-checked and monitored, the public were able to find the latest facts about trades and services in their area. The system worked, and the service now sees hundreds of new tradespeople interviewed to join each month.Since then, the business model of reputation and word-of-mouth that Checkatrade brought to consumers has grown into several businesses under the ‘Checka’ brand. All are built to support honest businesses and help people choose services they can trust."

Mr Byrne announced his decision to sell the company to shareholder HomeServe in November last year.

In July this year, Mr Byrne sought permission to turn part-completed office space near the headquarters in Selsey into a state-of-the-art health complex using his own money but Chichester District Council turned down the application.

Mr Byrne has not commented on the announcement that Checkatrade will no longer have a Selsey base.

It is not yet known what will happen to the Selsey site but the company said it intends to continue 'supporting the local area'.