A CONTROVERSIAL animal testing lab has announced that it is expanding its operation with a new six-acre site in Gosport.
Wickham Laboratories has completed its purchase of part of the former Wyeth site in Barwell Lane, Gosport, and expects it to be up and running within a month.
It will be known as Hoeford Point and run alongside the existing labs in Winchester Road in Wickham.
Facilities on the site will be contained in six buildings, including security, warehousing, laboratory and office space. The main facility has a floor area 42,100sq ft across three floors.
Campaigner Jeanette McClunan of Stop Wickham Animal Testing said: ‘I’m not surprised, but I am disappointed.’
Lab owner Bill Cartmell had hoped to move his operation to Torbay Farm in Lower Upham, but was denied permission by Winchester City Council’s planning committee. Mr Cartmell appealed, but last July a government inspector backed the council.
Mrs McClunan added: ‘We will definitely be protesting outside both the new complex and Wickham, but we are aware this new site is in a residential area.’
Mr Cartmell said: ‘After almost 50 years of continued growth and improvement, this move represents a major step forward in strengthening Wickham Laboratories’ position as a leading contract research organisation operating in the international arena.’
Technical director Chris Bishop added: ‘These new facilities will allow us to offer a more diverse range of testing services to our clients.
‘The expansion has been long planned and will put us in a position of strength to take the company forward, continuing to provide vital services to the medicine, healthcare and food industries.
‘It is exciting for us to move to Gosport where significant investment is being made in infrastructure and public transport. We hope we can make a contribution to the borough and look forward to working with the local council and community.’
Mr Cartmell has not yet decided what he wants to do with the Torbay Farm site.
The labs currently employs 90 staff and has a turnover of more than £4million. It is expecting to take on an unspecified number of new staff, including some previous employees of Wyeth.