BARCLAYS is to spend millions of pounds refurbishing the iconic Poole building where it employs 900 people.

The vote of confidence in the town centre came shortly after the 40th anniversary of the opening of Barclays House.

The future of the huge nine-storey building had been uncertain after the bank declared in 2007 that it was “not fit for purpose”.

But despite axing more than half the 1,900 permanent jobs based in the building at that time, it later pulled out of plans to move to a purpose-built base at West Quay Road.

David Wilson, site president at Barclays House, said in a statement to the Daily Echo: “Barclays has today announced a multi-million pound wide-ranging refurbishment programme at Barclays House in Poole, with the aim of creating a fit for purpose working environment for colleagues and clients, whilst demonstrating our on-going commitment to Poole and the wider region.

“The refurbishment programme will include improvements to the office space, meeting rooms and facilities at Barclays House and will aim to be completed by the end of 2016.”

Roger Williams, president of Poole Chamber of Trade and Commerce, said of the building: “It was looking a little tired so it’s good that Barclays are going to invest some money in it.

“I think it’s good that they’re prepared to put money in. It underlines their commitment to the local area and we’re grateful.”

Barclays said it would also be focusing on “collaborative working with external organisations” such as local councils, charities, chambers of commerce and Local Enterprise Partnership to support the local economy.

It recently set up an Eagle Lab at County Gates to support new start-ups in Poole and Bournemouth. The venture is supported by Barclays staff throughout the local area as well as at Barclays House.

It said it was also continuing its Barclays Citizenship activity, which involves staff working with schools and local communities to help young people develop skills and experience for entering the working world.

Barclays opened its Poole base in January 1976, moving many functions from London to Dorset in the process. The building housed around 2,500 staff at its peak.