On Monday 28th October Kevin sent a letter to the Herald Express reacting to the news that Astra Zeneca was set to close its Brixham Plant. You can read the full text of his letter below:
Last week saw a series of promising signs that the economy is turning round with the national growth figures and the Annual Tourism Update at the Riviera Centre reporting the economic outcome of a positive summer for the bay.
Yet these figures and information will be cold comfort to those affected by the news that Astra Zeneca is set to close its laboratory in Brixham, potentially taking with it just the sort of jobs many, regardless of political opinion, argue the bay needs more of. Earlier this year work started on a new £20m Pharmaceutical Plant at Yannons Farm, it would be a great pity if the 70 new jobs there merely balanced those being lost, rather than being part of helping create more diverse employment opportunities in the bay.
The first step in tackling the closure is for the TDA and Council to quickly engage with the company to find out the detailed reasoning behind their decision and see if there is a realistic chance of persuading them to stay. The information gathered will also provide the basis for engaging with potential alternative users, or management staff on site if a buyout considered, and identify what support local agencies could give to bring this about. This is likely to bring a more positive outcome than just waiting till a “For Sale” sign appears on the building.
Time will be of the essence as following the closure announcement workers in key roles may begin to identify alternative employment, making it all the more likely the site will close completely. Some of the roles in the Laboratory are highly specialised so replacing a key member of staff would not be easy once they have left.
The strength of the local healthcare sector, plus the likely future demands for new treatments, should make the bay an attractive place for the pharmaceutical industry. It is therefore important a team effort is made to keep this facility running.