INSURANCE giant Aviva has today announced plans to sell one its city centre offices in York in a bid to make savings following the acquisition of rival Friends Life.

Employing around 2,000 people in York, Aviva has said it could exit Yorkshire House, in Rougier Street, by the end of the year should an acceptable offer be made.

Aviva, which stressed York remains one its core locations, said staff currently within Yorkshire House will be relocated to the nearby Wellington Row offices on the riverside, or to offices at Monks Cross if a sale is approved.

A spokesperson for Aviva said: "We have previously said that we expect to deliver approximately £225 million of annual savings by the end of 2017 as a result of the Friends Life acquisition.

"Savings are expected to come from a number of areas, including simplifying the business and reducing property costs.

"We have confirmed today that York is one of Aviva’s core locations in the UK alongside Bristol, Norwich, Perth and Sheffield.

"As part of our proposals we have today informed employees that we have identified an opportunity for the sale of Yorkshire House, which could mean the exit of this building by the end of 2015. Should an acceptable deal be achieved, we would look to move people into Wellington Row and Monks Cross.

"Our people are our first priority and we will keep those who are impacted up-to-date on progress as we work through the detail."

The £5.6 billion acquisition of Friends Life was approved in March this year, with Aviva bosses later revealing they may cut 1,500 jobs over the next two years, from a workforce of 31,500, after the merger.

Yorkshire House was recently favoured by Aviva as part of a project to create a city centre "campus" alongside Wellington Row.

In 2010, after already moving staff from Clifton Moor into the city centre, the insurance firm, which has its Life division headquarters in York, announced 500 staff at Monks Cross would also be relocated within the city walls.

At the same time 300 staff from Roman House, in Rougier Street, were to be transferred into Yorkshire House and Wellington Row, in a move which saw the two offices become Aviva’s only operational sites on York.

While Roman House was sold to a developer, and later acquired by the Grand Hotel owner Splendid Hospitality Group, Aviva planned to sublet the Monks Cross offices, however the site has remained vacant since the firm's departure.