Minister throws his weight behind Dagenham business park

Government minister David Willetts visited a factory earmarked for closure, throwing his weight behind a drive to turn the site into a vibrant multi-million pound business park.

The science minister toured the 450-staff Sanofi factory in Rainham Road South, Dagenham, which will close in 2013 due to a fall in demand for its cancer drugs.

Mr Willetts was accompanied by Boris Johnson’s deputy Kit Malthouse and City Hall advisers.

The visit on Monday came after regeneration bosses applied for a �12million City Hall grant, which could help to open a science and technology park at the site.

Mr Willetts indicated he would support Sanofi in its attempts to generate hundreds of new jobs at the business park, called businesseast.

He said: “They are a very enlightened employer. They have very strong historical links to this area and when they leave they want to leave the community with the best possible opportunities for the future.

“We will do, at all levels, everything possible to work with them to ensure that can happen.”

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This week, the Post reported how London Mayor Boris Johnson was urged to release the �12m grant to help secure the regeneration of the drug factory.

City Hall is considering the application made under the Mayor’s London Growth Fund and a decision could be made before the New Year.