GSK’s £100 million plans gain approval

PLANS for a £100 million pharmaceutical plant which will secure the future of a major Worthing employer have been given the green light.

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK),
in Southdownview Way, Worthing, gained unanimous approval for its ambitious expansion plans from members of Worthing Borough Council’s planning committee last Wednesday.

The new facility will increase production of antibiotic drug Augmentin, with the firm choosing the town for its ‘world leading’ expertise. Councillor Carol Molineaux said: “Aren’t we lucky? I think it is the most amazing project.

“I have lived in Worthing most of my life and remember when it first started and we are so privileged. I am sure it will be a great success.”

The plans were first announced in December last year, in response to growing global demand for the drug.

The plant currently manufactures 80 million tonnes of the drug each year, sold as a sterile powder, but the new facility could increase its capacity to 140 million tonnes each year.

GSK director Carl Hutchinson said: “We’re in a very healthy position and this is a major statement investment of £100 million but in total almost £200 million over a three-year period.

“As a company, we are proud to be here with the application and it demonstrates our commitment to the Worthing area and will underpin the long-term future of this facility.

Building will start in the summer, with production expected to start in 2017.

It will be constructed in two phases, standing at a height of 28 metres and creating a focal point for the entrance to the GSK site.

Cllr Vicky Taylor said: “The building will be visible from the top floor of my house but I actually don’t mind that as it will be a reminder of all the jobs brought to Worthing.”

Staff car parking will be located on an ajoining sports field, with existing teams and clubs in the process of being temporarily relocated.

Spokeswoman for GSK Liz Jefferies said: “Worthing was selected as the right location in which to make this investment for the future, based on the technical capability, experience and skills of its staff – the Worthing site has been producing these technically complex products for over 30 years.”