The pharmaceutical giant Novartis has published its plans to start redevelopment of its Horsham site.
In August the County Times exclusively revealed that the company had decided to sell a significant part of its town campus in Wimblehurst Road, but confirmed its plans to lead world class respiratory research and associated development teams in Horsham.
Last week a planning application was submitted to Horsham District Council (HDC) requesting permission to demolish several buildings on the site south of Parsonage Road covering nearly fives acres.
These include production and store buildings of about three acres, the boiler house, chiller building, cycle rack, restaurant, document management centre, engineering building, ancillary services building, dispatch building and temporary offices.
The iconic 1930s art deco building will be retained and enhanced.
About 18 months ago the company announced a big reduction in its workforce there from nearly 1,000 to 440.
At the time there were fears that this might be the ‘beginning of the end’ for the company’s involvement in the town.
However the summer’s announcement stated the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research respiratory disease centre will continue to work on site and the UK Board had agreed the manufacturing would be moving away from Horsham as part of that process with last production scheduled for September 2013.
At the time leader of HDC Ray Dawe said: “The council is very keen for the company to remain in the town and I can confirm that we are proactively working with the company’s agents to liaise with prospective developers to ensure the best outcome for this important Horsham site.”
The application submitted this month states the construction firm Jacobs UK aims to start demolition work in September next year and continue on site until June 2014 with a view to redevelop the site in the future.
It adds that no trees will be cut down as part of the demolition work.
The land Novartis plans to sell is more than 12 acres and is likely to be used to build homes and possibly some business units, subject to planning permission from HDC.
A habitat survey report carried out found a historic presence of a number of legally protected species within the Novartis boundary, including seven species of bat, otters, slow worms, the common lizard and grass snake.
However during a site visit in September, only bats were seen and the present day habitat was considered ‘unsuitable’ for the reptile and mammal species highlighted during the desk survey.
The plans are now being considered by the district council and the public can make their views known on the council’s website.
The planning documents, including the habitat survey and site plan showing which buildings are proposed to be demolished can be found by quoting application number DC/12/2341 at the district council Planning Portal at http://www.horsham.gov.uk/environment/4580.aspx