The chairman of the Wasdell Group, whose application to build a science park in Swindon was turned down by Swindon Borough Council’s planning committee in August 2020, has announced the company is to appeal the decision.
Since buying Wasdell in 2009, Martin Tedham has transformed what was an unprofitable local pharmaceutical packaging company turning over £2m a year into one of Europe’s largest independent partners to the pharmaceutical industry, turning over £52m in 2019/20 and now employing 750 people in Swindon alone.
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 application for the Swindon Science Park included much-needed facilities for research and development and high-tech manufacturing, as well as facilities to meet Wasdell’s own requirements for growth. Following refusal of the application by the planning committee, the Wasdell Group had hoped that Swindon Borough Council would be able to identify some suitable alternative sites in the borough, but this has not been the case.
Wasdell Group Chairman Martin Tedham said: “The increased Covid-related workload has meant we must focus on securing appropriate premises to accommodate the rapidly growing demand for our pharmaceutical products.
“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 £22bn 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.”