GSK vows to maintain soccer fields in new U.K. plant

GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) is investing £350 million in new plant in Ulverston, U.K., that will generate 500 new jobs, increase drug capacity and potentially draw on wind power to lower its environmental impact. But what about the football fields?

GSK's new Ulverston plant--Courtesy of GlaxoSmithKline

The drugmaker has maintained a sports club and fields for the community at the current site, and locals are wondering what the prospects are for it going forward, according to the North-West EveningMail. They are good, GSK says, with plans to build a new sports hall, football pitches and bowling green as part of the project. But that isn't slated to happen until the first phase of the project is completed in 2021.

The company promises to continue to provide needed maintenance at the 1,500-member Sports and Social Club until the new facility comes online. "We don't want a facility that isn't safe and that people don't want to use," Pat McIver, a GSK exec at the plant, told the newspaper.

The drugmaker has announced extensive manufacturing plans in the U.K. in the last two years, starting with the Ulverston facility, its first new factory in the U.K. in 40 years. Two manufacturing sites in Scotland were earmarked for upgrades as well. Last year, the drugmaker added to its list of U.K. projects, announcing that it would invest £200 million ($330 million) more to erect a manufacturing facility at its Ware, Hertfordshire, complex to make its new-generation Relvar Ellipta inhaler, and also add a bulk sterile building and filling line at its Worthing, Sussex, facility to produce Augmentin. Additionally, some of that money will go into creating a technology center to work on manufacturing and supply chain projects.

With all of these projects, its new manufacturing investments there should top $1.15 billion. The company has credited a special tax break known as the "patent box" as the impetus for the investments. But with all of these manufacturing plans, some members of the sports club were concerned it might get overlooked, the EveningMail reports. Not so, McIver said. "People should not be concerned that they will lose their sports facilities."

- read the North-West EveningMail story