Troubled materials firm Hanson plans to lease out its new £16m head office in Bedford and put its aircrete blocks business up for sale to combat the recession

The moves form part of a business review by its German parent company Heidelberg Cement, which bought the company for £8bn in 2007.

A source close to the process said the leasing out of the sustainable flagship building was an “emotional blow” for the company. “It is a beautiful building. It’s about to be completed and all of a sudden it’s been ripped from them.”

The sale of aircrete block business Hanson Thermalite is part of a strategy to focus on its core products of aggregates, cement and concrete.

In April, Hanson said it had shed about 30% of its staff since the start of the financial crisis.