AstraZeneca relocates 1,600 Cheshire jobs

David McCourt

Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca is set to close its research and development facility in Alderley Park, Cheshire, as plans emerge for a new Bio Science Park and Incubator.

As part of the closure around 1,600 jobs will relocate to Cambridge, where AstraZeneca is creating a new £330m R&D centre, with around 700 non-R&D jobs expected to stay at Alderly Park.

Cllr Michael Jones, Cheshire East Council leader, said: "Cheshire East Council will work hard to ensure the future sustainability of AstraZeneca's major centres in Alderley Park and Macclesfield.

"We will now need to accelerate our emerging plans for a new Bio Science Park and Incubator, as part of drive to foster growth of the Life Science sector in the region and maximise the wider potential of the site for future development."

The news comes just five months after chancellor George Osborne helped AstraZeneca secure a £5m government grant to develop Alderley Park into a bioscience cluster.

Cllr Jones continued: "I am very pleased to say that George Osborne, chancellor and local constituency MP for Tatton, has personally fought very hard to retain a strong position for AZ in the UK and I believe without his direct involvement the announcements today would have meant a complete closure of Alderley Park.

"I believe that with the collective efforts of the North West scientific community, life sciences business, Cheshire East Council and Government, that we can build a sustainable and vibrant future for our science sector.

"We have all the ingredients – we just need the backing and initial up-front investment from Government through a Task Force led by the Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts MP and AstraZeneca.

"We must accept, adapt and respond to these types of announcements and look to the future and the potential opportunities it may create."

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As somebody whose family will be affected by this I have to say – what on earth have the Council been up to?? It sounds to me like they have been sleeping at the wheel. Its a bit of a last minute scrabble to say they will turn Alderley Park into a BioScience and Incubation centre. Talk about making it up as you go along. And as for 700 “support” jobs whilst those are important there will be a massive “brain drain” of people with well paid jobs from the NW and this will reduce North West GDP by many hundreds of millions every year. Its sheer and utter negligence from the local councillors to allow Cheshires most important employer to up sticks and take a load of talent with it. Lets hope Osborne does something pretty quick otherwise the Chancellor wont have a seat following the next election. A very very sad day for the North West and one in which I question the NW ability to be anything other than a regional blip on the future success story of the UK

By Asleep at the wheel

to add to above … would a competent council with professional leaders such as Manchester City Council have let this sort of thing happen? Is this yet further signs of incompetence from George Osborne? It might not be a bad idea to go and live in Cyprus…

By Comatose at the Wheel

There’s absolutely no way you can put a positive spin on this, it’s a disaster for the Cheshire and Greater Manchester regions. All of those well paid jobs are irreplaceable and another example of the North/South divide. Will the people of Macclesfield still be dyed in the wool Tories after this?

By peter

Cllr Michael Jones, Cheshire East Council leader, said: “Cheshire East Council will work hard to ensure the future sustainability of AstraZeneca’s major centres in Alderley Park and Macclesfield.”
That will be the “major centre” where they don’t carry out any research? This joker is way out of his depth – too busy messing about with lesser issues whilst the largest local employer takes all the high value work / employees out of the area.
This is really bad news for the local economies of Macclesfield and Wilmslow. For every paid employee of AZ, I wonder how many other people derive some or all of their income from goods/services provided into Alderley Park? The knock on effect is there will be way less working people within the local area than simply the 1,600 relocating to the South.

By Nick

I agree with all of the comments here. Frankly it is a disgrace and the councillors should be ashamed of themselves. Of course they will not see themslevs as being accountable. What now for the Greater Manchester region? The North West seems to be sliding back to the 1980’s. We need a leader that is competent and cares. Could a Mayor make a difference?

By chris