A MAJOR employer has found a new city headquarters after an exhaustive five year search which saw it consider leaving the area.

Custom Pharmaceuticals is proposing to invest £20 million in its new facility on the site of a former Bingo hall in Moulsecoomb

The pharmaceuticals manufacturer plans to take over the Beacon Bingo which is due close after 20 years with a loss of 27 jobs.

The pharma company currently employs 200 staff in Brighton and Hove and a new headquarters will safeguard its future in the city and allow it to create 50 new jobs.

It currently operates from two sites, with manufacturing in Conway Street in Hove and packaging and distribution in Fairway Trading Estate in Moulsecoomb.

The company has outgrown its Conway Street headquarters and had been searching for a new premises for some five years.

It had a preference to remain in the city but with a severe shortage of suitable large industrial sites in Brighton and Hove was contemplating moving elsewhere, with the search reluctantly widened to Littlehampton and Worthing, Newhaven and Lewes and Horsham and Crawley.

Commercial agent Graves Son & Pilcher has spent two years looking for space.

The Bingo Hall is the only site which matches the its size and access requirements, and has the added benefit of being adjacent to the existing packaging and distribution centre.

The news that Beacon Bingo was to close was revealed last week.

It had been operating at a heavy loss for several years and the owner has been trying to sell since mid 2012.

Custom is working with Beacon Bingo to see if any staff being made redundant could join its workforce.

A planning application has been submitted seeking consent for the change of use from leisure to a mixed use headquarters building, including research and development, light industrial manufacturing, general industrial manufacturing, office space and warehousing.

Work on the building is planned to commence later this year, and spread over several years to allow a phased departure from Conway Street.

Custom was founded in 1979 after the departure from Brighton of 140 year established manufacturing chemist Arthur H Cox, formerly of Lewes Road, now Sainsbury's.

Cox departed the city due to a lack of support for manufacturing, leaving 400 Brighton staff redundant.

Custom took on 12 of these employees to start its business in Hove, while Cox went on to employ 1,000+ staff in Barnstaple and is now part of the Actavis.