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Business park, public land, supermarket, pub: Future of Sanofi site unveiled

PUBLISHED: 12:00 03 November 2014

An aerial photo of the Sanofi site. The buildings to the left of the site by the new road and heading down (with the car park further left) are the 17 acres of londoneast-uk. The Sainsbury supermarket is going on the 10 acres of land to the right of the access road, while the Marston’'s public house and restaurant will go on land to the left of the road

An aerial photo of the Sanofi site. The buildings to the left of the site by the new road and heading down (with the car park further left) are the 17 acres of londoneast-uk. The Sainsbury supermarket is going on the 10 acres of land to the right of the access road, while the Marston''s public house and restaurant will go on land to the left of the road

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Exclusive: A multi-million pound deal to create a science and business park on Dagenham's former Sanofi site that could create up to 800 jobs within five years has this week been agreed.

The deal is agreed: L-R Cllr Darren Rodwell, leader of Barking and Dagenham Council; Jim Moretta, Sanofi’'s Dagenham site leader; Mark Bass, land development and partnership leader with Sanofi; and SOG's managing director John LewisThe deal is agreed: L-R Cllr Darren Rodwell, leader of Barking and Dagenham Council; Jim Moretta, Sanofi’'s Dagenham site leader; Mark Bass, land development and partnership leader with Sanofi; and SOG's managing director John Lewis

It’s hoped the 17-acre hub of highly-specialised research, development and manufacturing buildings, rebranded londoneast-uk, will attract companies and workers from across the globe.

Site Operations Group (SOG), already operating an award-winning technical park in Cheshire, has been the lead consultant advising Sanofi on the overall regeneration programme, and bought the facilities for an undisclosed “multi-million pound” sum.

Situated at the heart of the 108-acre Sanofi site, the centre will be joined by a Sainsbury’s supermarket and Marstons tavern, while planning permission also exists for a hotel, medical centre, warehousing and manufacturing units.

Sanofi has also donated 50 acres of sports fields to a local charity and is currently negotiating the sale of the site’s remaining land pockets.

The area could also appear on-screen as it is already being used as a filming location for TV and film.

Unsurprisingly, the development has attracted significant political endorsement, with the like of Boris Johnson and the minister for life sciences lending their support.

“When Sanofi left its great site in Dagenham it wanted there to be legacy for life sciences [the study of living organisms], so I am absolutely thrilled SOG has taken up the torch,” said the London Mayor.

“At londoneast, as it is going to be called, they will be creating a new destination for investment in life sciences, lengthening London’s lead as a world capital in these industries.”

Originally opened as May and Baker, the Rainham Road South site produced medicines for more than 80 years, specialising in oncology for the past 20 and creating cancer-treatment drugs for eight million patients worldwide.

Dagenham and Rainham MP Jon Cruddas said: “It is absolutely vital what SOG is doing in londoneast.

“It’s about creating a hub for new technology, jobs, and state-of-the-art facilities to attract new businesses into east London, but the Dagenham area in particular.”

Mr Cruddas also praised Sanofi for the legacy being left behind, describing its actions as “extraordinary”.

He added: “I have never come across a better example of a company taking on board its responsibility to the local community, its workers and the local authority in terms of ensuring there is a decent legacy for the area.”

George Freeman, parliamentary under-secretary of state for life sciences, paid tribute to the initiative and highlighted the development as a top example for future sites. “In Dagenham what we’re seeing is UK companies being helped to convert the sites of yesterday into the sites of tomorrow,” he said.

Council leader Cllr Darren Rodwell added: “SOG has been a shining example of how they work with local communities. We are really proud to have them as a partner in the londoneast project.”

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