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Sanofi's Dagenham science park legacy in turmoil as Boris Johnson denies funding

PUBLISHED: 15:01 29 November 2013 | UPDATED: 10:24 05 December 2013

An aerial shot of the Sanofi site

An aerial shot of the Sanofi site

Russell F Spencer 2011

The future of a state-the-art science park which would have brought hundreds of jobs to the area has been thrown into doubt as Boris Johnson denies vital funding for its development.

The multi-million pound business-east science and technology park was due to provide a long-lasting high-tech legacy for the borough on behalf of outgoing pharmaceutical giant Sanofi, which stopped production on the Dagenham site in June.

But an application to the Mayor’s growth fund was turned down on Wednesday, leaving a programme to regenerate the laboratories and manufacturing buildings on the 17 acre site in turmoil.

Councillors and politicians reacted with fury at today’s announcement, labelling it a “kick in the teeth” for the borough’s “long suffering” residents.

Emergency negotiations are now under way between Sanofi, Barking and Dagenham Council and regeneration experts SOG to try and find a solution to ensure the future of the park.

Unless an alternative is found, the laboratories and manufacturing facilities will face demolition and the land sold for development.

“We are extremely angry and disappointed at this decision,” said Cllr Smith. “This is another kick in the teeth for the long suffering residents of Barking and Dagenham.

“This just goes to show that our part of London seems to be a target for the things that other people don’t want.”

As part of its local legacy, Sanofi aimed to attract high-tech industries to take up the dormant state-of-the-art facilities, which make up part of the business-east business park spanning over 50 acres.

The decision has not affected plans to build a large Sainsbury’s supermarket on 10 acres, or proposals for a hotel, health centre, retail area and manufacturing units.

Mr Cruddas said: “The worry is that with industry and highly skilled workers moving away we will become an economically vulnerable dumping ground for Greater London, which is completely unacceptable.”

A council spokesman said: “We are hoping the Mayor will rethink his decision but we are working closely with Sanofi and SOG to look at the other options open to us.”

A spokesman for Sanofi, which had been in Barking and Dagenham for 80 years, said the firm was “disappointed” with the decision but that it was hopeful of finding a solution.

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