Public Health England (PHE) has acquired the vacant GSK site in Harlow, England where it plans to construct a £400m public health campus.
The new campus is expected to bring together famous scientists working to protect and improve the health of the nation.
Upon completion of the facility, PHE will re-locate staff and facilities from Porton in Wiltshire and Colindale in north London as well as its headquarters functions from central London.
The latest move comes a few weeks before PHE expects to submit a planning application to renovate existing buildings and build new ones on the Pinnacles Estate site. The plans call for the construction of new laboratories and a visitor centre.
When completed, the facility will have a capacity to accommodate up to 2,750 people with scope for further expansion to 3,250. It is anticipated that the first staff will move to Harlow in 2021 with the site fully operational by 2024.
PHE deputy chief executive Richard Gleave said: “Our move to Harlow will create a world-class science campus for public health, of international significance and real benefits for the local community. The decision to buy the site now has been taken after careful consideration of the advantages and represents best value to the British taxpayer.
“This includes reduced running costs and the ability to carry out a number of further specialist additional surveys which will save us considerable time and money and provide invaluable information for the more detailed design work planned for later in the year.
“We are also responding to the local community’s desire to see PHE move to Harlow as soon as possible. We hope today’s announcement will be a massive boost to the town and surrounding area.”