Swindon & Wiltshire Business News

Pharma firm to appeal planning decision on Swindon Science Park

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An artist's impression of the proposed Swindon Science Park


Pharmaceutical and health product specialist is to appeal against Swindon Council's refusal of planning permission to build a science park on the outskirts of the town.

In August, councillors voted 10 to five to turn down the application by Wasdell to build a £56 million facility on a 100-acre site between the A419 and the village of Wanborough.

Residents near the site had objected to the proposals. The council said it would change the entire character of an area of natural beauty, seriously damaging the local landscape.

Wasdell – which has played a leading role in the fight against coronavirus – said the facility would safeguard 750 jobs and create hundreds more.

Chairman Martin Tedham, who bought the pharmaceutical packaging company in 2009 when it was turning over £2 million a year, has grown the business to become one of Europe’s largest independent partners to the pharmaceutical industry, turning over £52 million in 2019/20.

Following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, Wasdell has worked with providers of medical-grade antiseptic products to deliver to patients and the general public and is also managing the delivery of investigational medicinal products to patients taking part in clinical trials.

Since November 2020 Wasdell has increased its workforce in Swindon by more than 100 employees to meet these additional demands. The work for 20 customers previously serviced by the Swindon facility has been redirected to Wasdell’s new facility in Dundalk, Ireland.

“The increased Covid-related workload has meant we must focus on securing appropriate premises to accommodate the rapidly growing demand for our pharmaceutical products," said Martin.

“We need to build our new facilities as soon as possible and press ahead with our vision of a science park for Swindon. The pandemic has shone a light on the vital role that pharmaceutical and life sciences play in all our lives.

"The Swindon Science Park will not only create a further 600 jobs from the day Phase 1 opens, but will also provide purpose-built, state-of-the-art facilities for partners and others to innovate and collaborate.

“In the last budget the UK government pledged £22 billion for research and development by 2025. The combination of local expertise in life sciences and the emerging science park will mean that Swindon will be well-placed to benefit from some of that investment.”

He said had hoped that Swindon Borough Council would be able to identify some suitable alternative sites in the borough following its rejection of the planning application, but none had been forthcoming.

Pictured: An artist's impression of the proposed Swindon Science Park