Plans to create a ‘vibrant commercial centre’ on the former Novartis site have been welcomed by Horsham’s MP.
Jeremy Quin described the announcement that West Sussex County Council was on the verge of buying the site with a view to creating a ‘world renowned’ science park as ‘fantastic news’ for the town.
He added: “We all want to ensure that Horsham grows as a vibrant commercial centre in its own right.
“The vision of a cluster of growing small companies, operating at the forefront of bio-medical science and using the site to create the high value jobs of the future is one we are all keen to embrace.”
Meanwhile Ray Dawe, leader at Horsham District Council, added: “The plan to develop a health and life sciences business park in order to protect employment and improve economic growth, alongside some residential development, is important for the district and is also a fitting legacy for one of the largest healthcare groups in the world.
“There will be a number of planning and contractual procedures that West Sussex will need to follow and we will work closely with them to support their vision while protecting the art deco former HQ building and its setting.”
The multi-million pound investment could create up to 1,000 jobs for Horsham as the county council looks to put West Sussex on the map as a leading European centre for the health and life sciences sector.
Pharmaceutical giant Novartis ceased operations in Horsham in June 2014 and while 160 homes are being built north of Parsonage Road, the company has been exploring options to secure a scientific and medical legacy when selling the southern part of the site.
Louise Goldsmith, leader of West Sussex County Council, said:” Our vision is to create a world renowned centre of excellence building on the site’s respected history with Novartis.
“It will deliver a science and business park that will help stimulate further growth in the sector, provide high quality jobs for the county and provide support for small, innovative start-up businesses.”
Negotiations could be completed by the summer and once finished WSCC would appoint a contractor to take the development forward.
Current plans would see the site cleared apart from the art deco building, which will be converted into housing, along with a third of the site, while the rest will be transformed into a science park for leading companies as well as smaller start-up businesses.
Hugh O’Dowd, country president and general manager for United Kingdom & Ireland Novartis Pharmaceuticals, added: “This is good news for Horsham and its residents as West Sussex County Council intends to bring high skilled jobs to the area, as well as develop some local housing.
“If the new campus becomes a health and life sciences hub for the region as West Sussex County Council intend, it will also help to realise our ambition of leaving a scientific legacy at the site.”
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