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Firm makes £10m commitment to Norwich

PUBLISHED: 18:00 26 April 2010 | UPDATED: 10:00 02 July 2010

One of the workforce on a catwalk amongst the pipes at Bayer Crop Science.

One of the workforce on a catwalk amongst the pipes at Bayer Crop Science.

Rob Garratt

A major employer has pledged its commitment to stay put in Norwich with a £10m redevelopment of its base in the city.

International chemical experts Bayer has begun an overhaul of its site in the city, which offers work to up to 400 people in the region.

A major employer has pledged its commitment to stay put in Norwich with a £10m redevelopment of its base in the city.

International chemical experts Bayer has begun an overhaul of its site in the city, which offers work to up to 400 people in the region.

Bayer employs more than 100,000 people worldwide and are well-known internationally as the original manufacturer of aspirin.

The firm's investment into its base in Sweet Briar Road, part of the specialist Bayer CropScience brand, is seen as a commitment by the company to maintain its presence in he city.

“It's quite a big boost for us here in Norwich,” said site manager David Jones. “In effect it shows the company's confidence in the site's future, and gives the jobs here a long term security.”

The site is home to 280 permanent employees, as well as a revolving door of between 50 and 150 outside contractors at any one time.

Neighbours of the business who have been plagued with unpleasant odours can also expect to see an improvement, with part of the work seeing a new smell filtering system in construction.

The business, which specialises in crop protection, saw around a dozen complaints about smell last year because of odours coming from the sites large chemical waste pools, which measure up to around half the size of a football pitch.

But now an absorbent roof is being built above one of the site's largest waste pools to contain and divert smells, as well as improved effluent channels for sending waste out of the site.

“It is part of our ongoing commitment to improve our effect on the environment,” added Mr Jones.

The main part of the development, visible from the Norwich outer ring road, is a complete overhaul of a dilapidated office block, for around 20 employees, which has been empty for around five years because of fears about asbestos.

The block will also include a new restaurant for workers, as well an overhaul of two warehouses and a new security block built.

Improved access and extra parking for lorries and vans will also be constructed, which could alleviate congestion nearby.

The bulk of the overhaul is expected to be finished by the beginning of next month, and with the office blocked hoped to be occupied by the end of the same month.

Mr Jones added: “It's quite a facelift, it's improving the standards of the way we work - and from our employees perspective it gives them further reassurance that there's a commitment to a long term future.”

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