EXCLUSIVE: Novartis to sell off land for housing while exploring options for future science or business park

Novartis aerial shot ENGSUS00120131115141753
Novartis aerial shot ENGSUS00120131115141753

Pharmaceutical giant Novartis will sell off part of its Horsham site for housing while exploring the potential to re-use land as a science or business park, the County Times can exclusively reveal.

Earlier this year the company confirmed it will cease research operations at the Parsonage Road site by the end of June 2014.

JPCT 05-10-11 S11419000 copy photo. Ciba. Novartis. old site shot . date unknown - scanned by steve cobb ENGSNL00120110510153808

JPCT 05-10-11 S11419000 copy photo. Ciba. Novartis. old site shot . date unknown - scanned by steve cobb ENGSNL00120110510153808

It followed a global review of research locations and put 371 jobs at risk, as well as 170 contractor positions.

Novartis is exploring options for the site and revealed it will sell a parcel of land currently used as a car park to Linden Homes - a sale which will be complete by September 1 this year.

The developer is drawing up plans for a mix of high quality open market and affordable properties. But it did not disclose how many homes could be build on the 8.3 acres north of the site.

Novartis says it wants to create a legacy and is looking into the possibility of retaining facilities for the use of a science or business park on a 19.6 acre section of the site.

JPCT Novartis, Horsham ENGSNL00120110316091819

JPCT Novartis, Horsham ENGSNL00120110316091819

The move could pave the way for the creation of highly skilled jobs.

The firm has appointed PharmaVentures to assist in providing expert advice on the feasibility of doing this, and to help identify partners.

Novartis has invested a vast amount of money into the site and has been one of the largest employers in Horsham for many years.

It is home to science lab facilities which are in short supply in London and a rare find between the city and the south coast.

Its 200-seat auditorium has played host to international conferences.

A spokesman said Novartis wants to avoid the demolition of such facilities.

Work with PharmaVentures is at an early stage but it is hoped a business can swoop in and take advantage of the site and its facilities - which the spokesman described as ‘flexible’.

He said the site could be suitable for student accommodation and there is ample space for another car park.

The process to find a new business could take months.

Around 15 per cent of those employed to work at the Horsham site have since found new jobs internally or externally. Last week Novartis hosted a two-day jobs fair to help current staff explore opportunities outside of the firm.

The spokesman added: “Novartis will continue to employ over 2,500 people and be a major inward investor to the UK. We will retain an extensive footprint in the UK with manufacturing sites at Grimsby (Chem Ops), Liverpool (Vaccines) and Dundee (Animal Health), commercial offices in Surrey, and a team at Sittingbourne, Kent, developing patient diagnostic testing products.”