Developer Linden Homes says it will start consulting with residents and local stakeholders straightaway on its plans for housing on the north part of the Novartis site in Horsham.
A spokesperson said: “We are delighted to have secured this opportunity. Horsham is a thriving market town, voted one of the best places to live in the UK, and so we are very excited about the prospect of building new homes in this sought after area.
“Working with the council’s officers, we are at the early stages of developing our plans for a high quality mix of open market and affordable properties on the site. We look forward to sharing them very soon with local residents and councillors.”
A spokesperson for Horsham District Council said it is keen the best possible solution is found in terms of securing employment, land and buildings.
“It will be for the company to decide its strategy where land disposals are concerned, but the council will be more formally involved as the planning authority once a future owner has stated its plans for the sites,” said the spokesperson. “We will make sure any alternative uses are appropriate and that they’ll protect the best of its natural and built environment.”
Novartis has been one of Horsham’s largest employers - the site originally established by Swiss chemical firm CIBA nearly 70 years ago. Until substantial job losses were announced in 2011, the firm employed close to 1,000 people in the town.
When the site closure was announced, Novartis country president UK Sue Webb told the County Times ‘these decisions are not made lightly’, but ‘it is the right decision globally for the company’.