Bectu members at the BBC's Kingswood Warren Research and Innovation centre will go on strike on Friday in protest at plans to move the pioneering technology development department to London.

Staff believe that they are being treated badly and that the move will compromise the quality research which has kept the BBC at the forefront of technological development for decades.

The BBC plans to sell its historic research base in Surrey and move staff to its White City offices.

Bectu members question whether their new accommodation will provide the quality laboratory space or the environment required to develop next generation technologies.

"Kingswood doesn't just have high capacity internet links, an anechoic chamber and the facility to build prototype equipment quickly and cheaply,” explained Bectu national official, Anna Murray. “The base is an academic community which nurtures new ideas and solutions. Our members fear that relocation signals the beginning of the end for world-class BBC research."

Bectu claims that staff have no choice but to the move as the corporation's mobility policy states that moves of under 30 miles do not trigger the option for staff to leave the BBC on the grounds of redundancy.

Members are concerned that, after an initial period of financial help, they will be unable to afford the daily commute into London.

The BBC insists that no one will be out of pocket.

Asked why it was selling the building and moving staff to the capital, the acting head of broadcast research for BBC Research & Innovation, Andy Bower said: "We want R&D to operate closer with our colleagues so we can ... show how technology can help them and spark creative autonomy.”

Bower also reiterated that the infrastructure at White City will replicate that at Kingswood Warren. “The network will be just as large," he said. "We're not slimming it down at all.”

Some members of the Kingswood Warren team will relocate to Salford when part of the BBC is moved to the new Mediacity:uk development

Kingswood Warren and BBC Research and Development has been instrumental in the development of colour TV, Ceefax, tape and film recording, telecine and Freeview, amongst other things. It employs 150 staff.