A Novartis spokesperson said:
"We are delighted to be able to confirm that we are entering into exclusive negotiations with the University of Brighton for the sale of our former Horsham site at Wimblehurst Road. This is still subject to the usual negotiations when trying to agree a contract, but the University's proposal offers an exciting opportunity which could bring long term benefits to the town and local residents, as well as realise our ambition in leaving a scientific legacy at the site. We will now work closely with the University and Horsham District Council to try to make this happen."
Novartis provides innovative healthcare solutions that address the evolving needs of patients and societies. Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Novartis offers a diversified portfolio to best meet these needs: innovative medicines, eye care, cost-saving generic pharmaceuticals, preventive vaccines and over-the-counter products. Novartis is the only global company with leading positions in these areas. In 2013, the Group achieved net sales of USD 57.9 billion, while R&D throughout the Group amounted to approximately USD 9.9 billion (USD 9.6 billion excluding impairment and amortization charges). Novartis Group companies employ approximately 130,000 full-time-equivalent associates and sell products in more than 150 countries around the world. For more information, please visit http://www.novartis.com.
University of Brighton statement:
The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Brighton, Professor Julian Crampton said:
"We are pleased to confirm that we have entered into negotiations to acquire the former Novartis site in Horsham. These discussions are at an early stage, but if the sale goes ahead, we plan to open an innovative, high-quality centre for higher education that will give a major boost to jobs, skills and business opportunities in the Gatwick Diamond area. We will be working closely with Horsham District Council and the Coast to Capital Local Economic Partnership, as well as local business, schools and colleges, to ensure our plans develop in a way that benefits the local economy and the local community."
Horsham District Council statement:
Cllr Ray Dawe, Leader of Horsham District Council said:
"We are delighted that the University of Brighton has chosen the district of Horsham to build a centre for Higher Education. A university on the former Novartis site would be a fitting legacy for one of the largest healthcare groups in the world, and would bring a new dimension to what our district has to offer. A university would hold a prominent role in the community and would add significantly to the economic growth, job creation and skills development across the district and would greatly support the 75,000 businesses and enterprises that already exist within the Gatwick Diamond. We already know that we lose many students to higher education colleges elsewhere so the prospect of retaining our young people in the district is very exciting."
University of Brighton Centre for Higher Education in the Gatwick Diamond: Fact Sheet
The University of Brighton has entered into negotiations with Novartis to acquire its former Horsham site at Wimblehurst Road. This process is subject to the usual negotiations when trying to agree a contract of this nature on developments of this size and complexity.
Why open a new centre for higher education in the Gatwick Diamond area?
The University of Brighton has a distinctive geographic footprint across Sussex stretching from Hastings to Brighton. The university has a longstanding interest in and commitment to the Gatwick Diamond area (dating back to 2007), where there is a lack of higher education provision; a large number of businesses and employees who could benefit from professional development and an airport that makes the area very attractive to international students. This Novartis site in Horsham provides an excellent opportunity for the university to develop a more significant presence in the Gatwick Diamond. It also provides a very high quality location and facilities which the university will aim to exploit to support small business start-up and growth, particularly around biotechnology and biomedicine.
Key Facts about this initiative
The University of Brighton plans to open an innovative, high-quality centre for higher education in Horsham that will give a major boost to jobs, skills and business opportunities in the Gatwick Diamond area. The university estimates the centre could create an estimated 2,250 new jobs and bring £1.7bn of investment to the region over 10 years, and provide around 3,500 places for students.
The University of Brighton is committed to raising educational standards and broadening access to higher education for the communities it serves, as can be seen by our innovative work over the last 10 years in and around Hastings and Rother. According to statistics from the Higher Education Funding Council for England, participation in higher education in the Gatwick Diamond area is around 40 per cent, but there are significant educational "cold spots" where just 28 per cent of people participate. If this project goes ahead, we will work with businesses, schools and colleges in the area to increase the number of school leavers, and those currently in employment from all backgrounds who have the opportunity to progress to university and benefit from a high-quality higher education.
Key facts about the University of Brighton
The University of Brighton is a large, academically diverse institution with 20,700 students, employs 2,700 staff and an annual turnover of £180m. It currently has five campuses, in Eastbourne, Hastings and three in Brighton. The university has a particular focus on degrees which are professionally orientated so that students graduate professionally accredited and with experience in the workplace. This offer is attractive to students with applications to the university having grown by 20 per cent this year. The university is also particularly known for the research it does and the impact that this research has into business, the economy, policy, practice, and our communities. This was recognised at the recently announced results of the national assessment of research quality and impact (REF2014), where the university was ranked 27th out of 128 universities in the UK for its World-leading research impact. The economic impact of the university was also assessed recently by an independent body and shown to generate 7,000 jobs and contribute £700m to the local and regional economy.