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Friday 4 March 2016

Minister praises Cheshire East for supporting science sector growth


Cheshire East Council has been commended by a government minister for its work supporting the life science sector.

The Council has led the efforts of a senior group of stakeholders from across the country to encourage the growth and expansion of the life science sector.

George Freeman MP, Minister for Life Sciences said: “Former pharmaceutical sites are a huge opportunity for the UK life sciences sector to provide valuable hubs for smaller companies. This toolkit will be a fantastic resource to help protect and grow these existing regional clusters of expertise, and the creation of ‘Life science opportunity zones’ should be a powerful lever to secure local investment and growth.”

Cheshire East worked with partners in Wales, Kent and London, and built on the experience gained through supporting the growth of Alderley Park and the Cheshire science corridor.

A ‘toolkit’ has been developed to help companies in the sector and stakeholders from their local areas make key decisions on how to maximise the potential of existing sites and to assist them when considering relocation or opening new sites. These decisions will boost the local economy and potentially create more jobs, as well as helping the UK maintain its global competitiveness.

George Freeman MP also launched a new initiative to designate areas as ‘life science opportunity zones’ at the event at AstraZeneca’s former site at Charnwood, in Leicestershire yesterday. This will see major life science sites recognised for the contribution they make to the UK’s science industry.

The Council is working actively with the Office for Life Sciences to put forward AstraZeneca’s site at Macclesfield, given its national importance one of the largest sites for pharmaceutical manufacturing in the country.

Speaking alongside the minister at the launch, Councillor Don Stockton, Cheshire East Council Cabinet member for regeneration, said: “The Council has worked closely with a number of partners to develop this toolkit, which we hope will be of great benefit. Our continued support for the growth of Alderley Park as a world-class science hub and our work in strengthening the Cheshire science corridor means that we have gathered useful knowledge and experience of the opportunities that exist for the sector in the UK.

“When this is combined with the experiences of our private sector partners and other local authorities elsewhere, this provides a unique and valuable resource.

“Life science opportunity zones are an exciting opportunity and we look forward to continuing to work closely with the minister and the Office for Life Sciences to ensure that our assets in the Cheshire science corridor are fully recognised.”

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