A working group led by Conservative MP Simon Fell is looking for a consultant to develop a vision for the coastal site in Ulverston offered for development by the pharma giant.
The initial focus for the masterplan will be 5.1 acres, formerly used for car parking, with around 30 acres to be made available for future use. GSK’s holding as a whole in the area comes to slightly more than 100 acres.
GSK, which remains operational at the site, will retain 20 acres, while the remainder, approximately 50 acres, is in need of remediation.
A task force made up of representatives from GSK Ulverston, South Lakeland Council, Cumbria LEP, Cumbria County Council and Ulverston Town Council, under Fell’s chairmanship, is looking to develop the vision for the site.
South Lakeland has launched the procurement process through The Chest to appoint a consultant to develop this vision and build it into a masterplan to create the “catalyst for transformational change” in future employment uses.
Fell, MP for Barrow & Furness, said: “This is a hugely important step to seizing the opportunity that this site offers. We have the chance to build a lasting legacy for Ulverston and the surrounding area with a focus on life science and renewable energy jobs. This role is crucial to delivering on that vision.”
The task force’s vision for the land is for it to be a nationally significant advanced manufacturing-based business location, which draws on Ulverston and Morecambe Bay’s established strengths in world-class life sciences.
Cllr Robin Ashcroft, South Lakeland portfolio holder for economy, culture and leisure, said: “This is an important site for Ulverston, South Lakeland, Cumbria and the Morecambe Bay area as a whole, with huge potential to drive regeneration and boost the economy and local communities.”
The study is expected to take three months and the masterplan will then form the basis of a business case to feed into an offer to Government and the private sector for investment in economic development and supporting infrastructure.
The site was identified by the three Morecambe Bay local authorities – South Lakeland along with Barrow and Lancaster City Council – working together to promote the Lancaster and South Cumbria Economic Region as a key opportunity area for development as part of their aims to promote and raise the profile of the area for inward investment and indigenous business growth.
The site is also part of the South Ulverston Canal Corridor Regeneration Area, which includes a number of major employment and residential areas linked by the Ulverston Canal and close to Ulverston town centre.