Sale of Londoneast-uk to Barking and Dagenham Council's new trading company is 'a regeneration example for rest of UK
Londoneast-uk Business and Technical Park, owned and operated by SOG Group, has been sold to Barking and Dagenham Trading Partnership (BDTP), a subsidiary company owned by Barking and Dagenham Council.
Cllr Darren Rodwell, Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, says the deal is a major milestone in the councils plans to drive forward the development of the Park, which is currently home to 42 small enterprises employing around 500 people. Londoneast-uk is situated on 17 acres of land and buildings which was part of the former Sanofi pharmaceutical plant in Dagenham. SOG Group coordinated the regeneration process at the pharma site to ensure a positive legacy was left behind when Sanofi moved out in 2014.
As part of the regeneration programme Sanofis research, development and manufacturing buildings were retained and purchased by SOG Group who transformed them into a multi-occupancy science and business park. The remainder of the site was sold in a strategic regeneration process to bring new businesses and new jobs to the location.
Londoneast-uk now sits at the heart of a site where a major new film studio will be situated along with one of Europes largest data centres, which is already under construction, plus a number of other large projects.
Cllr Rodwell says: This is a brilliant regeneration opportunity that we are investing in on behalf of the Borough. Londoneast-uk is a key element of the redevelopment of the overall former Sanofi site which will ultimately see thousands of jobs created over the next few years. This is the only location in the whole of London where you will have Media, the Arts, Data, Sciences and Engineering businesses operating from the same site.
SOG Group Managing Director John Lewis says the Dagenham regeneration story is an example to the rest of the country on how private and public sectors can work together successfully for the benefit of the whole community. He said a 10-year plan to rejuvenate the location had been achieved in just five years.
Mr Lewis says: With all the on-going fallout over Brexit and the major job cuts being announced in the car and nuclear power industries, it is important to acknowledge how we are actually reversing that trend and we have done it without any Government subsidies. This deal is a great example of the public and private sectors sharing a vision with the determination to deliver a monumental development with no public funding for subsidies.
He added: Over the next few years thousands of people will be working on the former Sanofi site which is more than in the heyday of the pharmaceutical company. In addition, lots more jobs will be created through the supplier network across the region supporting all of these businesses. Its a perfect example of how to regenerate a site that is closing, retain core assets and breathe new life into it.
Mr Lewis praised the dynamic sales and operations team at Londoneast-uk for transforming the Park so swiftly.
He said: We were originally appointed by Sanofi to spearhead the regeneration of the entire site to ensure a legacy of new business opportunities at this location. I like to feel that SOG got the site out of intensive care, on to the ward and then out of the hospital.
Weve created a superb science and business park and helped to ensure the rest of the site has been sold in a strategic process that will create thousands of new jobs. Im immensely proud of the role that SOG has played but it is now time for a bigger organisation to come in and take over the reins. Londoneast-uk needs to be aligned with all the exciting developments taking place around us with the film studio, the data centres, new hotel and other exciting projects that are coming here.
The new owners will be better positioned to provide the level of investment the Park deserves which will accelerate the regeneration process and increase the employment on this site.
Cllr Rodwell added: We are not coming in here to change things but we are coming to continue the development of this fantastic business park. Londoneast-uk is a superb example of what can be created when the public and private sector share a vision and work together to maximise the opportunity. Stakeholders, including Government and business leaders, need to come here to see the remarkable achievements that have been attained in such a short space of time.
The deal will mean the council secures its long-term strategic interest in the site, with the reassurance that the day to day management and operations will be overseen by BDTP.
Tony Barry, Chief Executive of BDTP said: This is a great opportunity for the Company. We are committed to developing our business for the benefit of the Council and the residents and communities of the Borough. This is a major development for us, and a clear demonstration of the strategic thinking of the Council.
Londoneast-uks personnel will all remain employed by the new operators and Tony Barry stressed it will be business as usual for staff and the resident businesses at the Park.
The deal is also the latest milestone in the areas transformation into Londons newest media and digital centre, with a preferred bidder to build the capitals biggest film studios on the site already announced.
In December 2018, Councillor Darren Rodwell announced that Pacifica Ventures had been selected as the preferred partner to build the film studios, following a competitive tendering process led by Be First, the councils regeneration company.
Ed Skeates, Development Director at Be First, Barking and Dagenham Councils pioneering regeneration company which is delivering the new studios and which helped broker the Londoneast-uk deal, said: This is a huge deal for Dagenham and its drive to become a media and digital powerhouse.
With Londons largest film studios on the way and Londons largest data centres being built on the adjacent site, it is a great investment since theres no doubt the buildings and office space will be much sought after by production companies and the creative industries. It will be a huge boost to our efforts to create new jobs and opportunities for local people.
The site is already being used as a filming location, having hosted Marvel blockbuster Doctor Strange, Channel 4 series Humans and adverts for giants including McDonalds to name a few.
Londoneast-uk Business and Technical Park is situated in Dagenham, east London, and is located in state-of-the-art scientific buildings and land which was once a major manufacturing plant of global pharmaceutical company Sanofi. Now under the ownership of SOG Group — owner and operator of the award-winning Heath Business and Technical Park in Cheshire —highly specialised research & development and manufacturing buildings, which would cost tens of millions of pounds to replicate in todays market, have been rebranded under the banner of Londoneast-uk and are being transformed into a business and technical park to service London and the Home Counties. Londoneast-uk operates as a sister park to The Heath in Runcorn which is regarded as one of the UKs leading independently-owned technology parks.
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PAUL SMITH ASSOCIATES
22nd January 2019