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4 February 2015, 16:12
Cambridge City Council have granted planning permission for pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca's new headquarters in the City.
The £330 million purpose built facility will be located on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus and will be home to approximately 2,000 employees.
Mene Pangalos, Executive Vice President, Innovative Medicines & Early Development at AstraZeneca said: "We are very pleased with today's decision by Cambridge City Council. Work is underway to prepare the site on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus and we look forward to beginning construction in the spring. Our aim is to create an open, welcoming and vibrant centre that will inspire our teams and partners to push the boundaries of scientific innovation for the benefit of patients."
The Cambridge site will be the company's largest centre for oncology research, as well as housing scientists focused on cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, respiratory, inflammation and autoimmune diseases and conditions of the central nervous system.
In advance of the new site becoming operational at the end of 2016, over 400 AstraZeneca staff have already relocated to interim facilities in Cambridge, at the Melbourn Science Park, Cambridge Science Park and Granta Park, to cement important relationships with other members of the Cambridge life science community. This is in addition to the approximately 500 staff already located at the Company's MedImmune facility at Granta Park.
However, this isn't a decision that's pleased everyone. Animal protection organisations have been objecting to the plans, saying "the hazardous materials involved, the lack and improbability of adequate facilities for animals tested on site and the potential for sustained protests in the area" were all reasons for it not to be approved.
AstraZeneca say, "Our new centre in Cambridge will include a purpose-designed rodent facility (mice and rats).
"The studies carried out there will principally support our early stage cancer research.
"The Cambridge Biomedical Campus, where our new site is based, has already achieved an outline planning consent for biomedical and research purposes. As a result, this was not part of the planning committee’s decision today."
Meanwhile, the Director of Policy from the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV) Nick Palmer has spoken to Heart - and said:
"The BUAV is disappointed with Cambridge City Council's decision to allow AstraZeneca planning permission to construct its new laboratory in the area. We remain concerned that insufficient information has been provided on activities to be conducted at the facility.
We believe the opposition expressed reflects the sentiments of many local residents and offers an indication of the sustained protest that is likely to continue at the site."