The former Horsham Novartis site cost the county council £16m as it looks to create a world-leading science park.
Subject to planning approval, the 18.6 acre Wimblehurst Road site will be transformed into quality employment and residential space – helping West Sussex County Council cover the cost of its investment.
The authority announced in January 2016 that it intended to buy the site. Since then detailed work has been carried out including site evaluations, the demolition of several buildings and work to ensure the purchase offered good value for money overall.
News that the deal had been finalised was released this morning (Thursday December 8).
Louise Goldsmith, leader of West Sussex County Council, said: “This is a huge boost for the West Sussex economy which we hope will create many new jobs.
“We have major ambitions to attract businesses from the health and life science sector as we know this is a growing industry with huge potential.
“We are also interested in attracting leading companies and new businesses to West Sussex to create new jobs and opportunities.”
She added: “It was important for us to ensure that thorough checks had been made before we committed to the completion of this purchase. We are confident this will bring about huge benefits to the county, but at the same time we needed to ensure we were investing wisely and that our plans could be realised.”
The county council will work with commercial advisors to develop the right mix of business, office accommodation and start up space to transform the site.
Ray Dawe, leader of Horsham District Council, said: “It is very good news that West Sussex County Council has completed the purchase of the Novartis site.
“We need to create employment opportunities and stimulate economic growth and it is excellent to see that as the key part of the plan. In particular this project should provide a boost for small and innovative start-up businesses.
“There will be a number of planning and contractual procedures that West Sussex County Council will need to follow to develop the site, and we will work closely with them to support their ideas.”
Pharmaceutical giant Novartis ceased operations in Horsham in June 2014 and while 160 homes are being built north of Parsonage Road, the company decided to explore options to secure a scientific and medical legacy when selling the southern part of the site.
Last year the University of Brighton was in discussions with Novartis about creating a new campus in the town, but plans were withdrawn when funding bids were unsuccessful.
Any businesses interested in this redevelopment opportunity can find out more at www.investwestsussex.co.uk/novartissite
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