Plastics recycling firm's jobs boost at huge AstraZeneca site in Loughborough
A plastic recycling firm is to create 50 jobs at a former drugs research site.
J&A Young is to create a processing plant and vehicle workshop at the 69-acre AstraZeneca complex in Loughborough.
The company, which trades as Jayplas, recently took ownership of the site, which has been empty since the pharmaceutical giant pulled out with the loss of 1,200 jobs 10 months ago.
J&A property development manager Jeremy Hoare said a seven-figure sum would be spent on the new plant.
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"It will be the first move by Jayplas onto the site," said Mr Hoare. "Fifty people will be employed at the site, and hopefully more, from March/ April time."
J&A announced in May that it was buying the site from AstraZeneca, and purchase was completed late last month. Neither company would disclose the value of the deal.
Plastic and glass bottles will be washed at the plant, while a workshop will accommodate the firm's fleet of 150 vehicles. The two operations will occupy 20 acres.
J&A is looking to find other businesses to occupy the remainder of the huge complex, which has a total of 1.3 million sq ft of empty office and laboratory space.
Mr Hoare said he had already shown 12 companies, who had expressed an interested in moving there, around the site.
The company said there were no plans to close its existing plant, in Cotton Way in the town, which employs more than 50 people. J&A, which employs 225 people, is the UK's biggest plastics recycling firm.
It also has sites in Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Birmingham and Grimsby, as well as a head office in Corby, Northamptonshire. It has a turnover of £43 million.
AstraZeneca's announcement that it was closing the site led to the creation of a taskforce aimed at finding new employment for the redundant staff, as well as a new occupier for the site.
The taskforce included Charnwood Borough Council, Leicestershire County Council, Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership and Loughborough MP Nicky Morgan.
Ms Morgan said: "I am pleased that a purchaser for the site has been found who will quickly create local jobs for local residents.
"Now I hope the whole site can be occupied in a way which brings the widest benefits to our local economy."
Charnwood Borough Council David Slater said: "The taskforce members will use all of their powers to encourage the retention of the quality buildings for high value jobs."
Experts warned the closure of AstraZeneca could mean up to £31 million a year being lost from the north Leicestershire and south Nottinghamshire economy.
But business leaders and politicians have said the impact may not be as bad as first feared after the vast majority of former staff found new jobs or started up businesses.
The Leicester Mercury has been given a tour of the AstraZeneca complex. See our Business Monthly magazine, free with the Mercury on Tuesday.