A multi-million pound grant towards purchasing the former Novartis site in Horsham have been secured by the county council.
The 18.6 acre Wimblehurst Road site is set to be transformed into a world-renowned science park, subject to planning approval.
West Sussex County Council bought the site from pharmaceutical giant Novartis for £16m, but the authority has this week received £3.66m from the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership towards the cost of the purchase.
Louise Goldsmith, leader of the county council, said: “I am delighted the LEP has awarded £3.66 million towards the purchase of the site. By committing funding, the LEP is showing their confidence in our plans.
“Our ambition is to transform the site into a quality employment and residential development and we are working with commercial advisors to finalise our vision and proposition for the site by developing the right mix of business, office accommodation and start up space to transform it.
“This is an important development locally and we will ensure residents are involved in our plans as they unfold.”
Peter Catchpole, cabinet member for adult social care and health, added: “The county council’s ambition is to attract businesses from the health and life sciences sector as we know this is a growing industry with huge potential.
“This will be a major boost to the West Sussex economy, and one which we hope will create many new jobs.”
As part of the application to the LEP for funding, the county council committed to create jobs and new commercial floor space at the site.
Jonathan Sharrock, chief executive of Coast to Capital, said: “Coast to Capital are delighted to support West Sussex County Council in the purchase of the Novartis site.
“The project will support positive regeneration while being retained for significant employment use as well as providing much needed local housing.”
Novartis ceased operations in Horsham in June 2014 and while 160 homes are being built north of Parsonage Road, the company said it was keen to explore options to secure a scientific and medical legacy when selling the southern part of the site.
The site has been cleared apart from the art deco building, which is due to be retained, to make space for a mix of new homes and business space as the county council looks to put West Sussex on the map as a leading European centre for the health and life sciences sector.
Mrs Goldsmith added: “We have been extremely careful to ensure we are confident that this multi-million pound purchase will bring about the huge benefits to the county that we are wanting.
“We know we need to provide value for money to the taxpayer and this purchase will not only boost our local economy, but will bring a return to the county council on our investment. By giving us funding, the LEP is helping towards this process.”
Any businesses interested in the redevelopment opportunity can find out more at www.investwestsussex.co.uk/novartissite
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