Knutsfordians in limbo as Astra Zeneca announce plans to move 1,600 jobs from Tatton base (From Knutsford Guardian)
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Knutsfordians in limbo as Astra Zeneca announce plans to move 1,600 jobs from Tatton base
A PHARMACEUTICAL giant that employs hundreds of Knutsfordians has announced it is to close its research and development base at Alderley Park.
Astra Zeneca is to relocate 1,600 roles from Alderley Park by 2016, with the majority going to Cambridge, with at least 700 non-R&D roles expected to remain in the Tatton constituency.
The firm will invest more than £330m to establish a new, purpose-built facility in Cambridge in a move that will consolidate the R&D department in three bases around the globe.
The announcement will mean that many Knutsford residents face an agonising decision over the coming months and years about whether to move to Cambridge or find another job.
Pascal Soriot, chief executive of Astra Zeneca, said: “The changes we are proposing represent an exciting and important opportunity to put science at the heart of everything we do because our long-term success depends on improving R&D productivity and achieving scientific leadership.
“This is a major investment in the future of this company that will enable us to accelerate innovation by improving collaboration, reducing complexity and speeding up decision-making.”
“The strategic centres will also allow us to tap into important bioscience hotspots providing more of our people with easy access to leading-edge academic and industry networks, scientific talent and valuable partnering opportunities.”
George Osborne MP for Tatton said: “While I recognise AstraZeneca’s commitment to science in the UK and the investment they are making in Macclesfield and Cambridge, this is obviously very difficult news for people directly affected by the decisions around Alderley Park.
"I have worked hard with AstraZeneca over the last few weeks to make sure that a substantial number of jobs are kept there and will work closely with Cheshire East Council and the government task force we are creating to bring new companies to the site.
"We are all determined that Alderley Park shall remain a success story and at the heart of our local community.”
The move is expected to cost Astra Zeneca around £925m but generate annual savings of around £125m.