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Monday, 28 July 2014

South Lakes council team blown away by firms’ high-tech vision

SOUTH Lakeland’s high-tech hub was at the centre of a visit by local politicians.

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HANDS-ON From left: South Lakes Councillor Janette Jenkinson, council leader Cllr Peter Thornton, council chief executive Lawrence Conway, Nathan Orton from Marl International, and Cllr Mark Wilson submitted S01002B

Marl International, Siemens Subsea Connectors and GlaxoSmithKline in Ulverston were all visited by a delegation of councillors as part of a fact-finding mission to see how the authority can improve the way it works with firms across the South Lakes.

South Lakeland District Council chief executive Lawrence Conway was joined by council leader Councillor Peter Thornton, Councillor Mark Wilson and Councillor Janette Jenkinson.

The firms raised a number of issues, as well as giving councillors an insight into their work and how they are planning for the future of their firms.

Councillors said they were blown away by some of the technology on show at the sites. Cllr Thornton said: “We made the visit to keep up with what is happening in Ulverston and we were impressed with what we saw.

“At Siemens we were very impressed – they are at the cutting edge of the oil industry.

“We were most impressed at the size and ambition of the place, as well as the number of people that they employ.

“Everyone knows the story of GSK but it’s still impressive and it’s great to see the biopharm plant coming here.

“While some of the LED technology we saw in Marl was mind-blowing.”

John Collins, finance director at Siemens, said: “Since we acquired the land for our current site from SLDC in March 2008, we have created more than 130 new jobs, increasing our headcount by 50 per cent and overtaking GSK to become the biggest employer in Ulverston, with our revenue doubling over the same period. The business is committed to Ulverston for the long term and we look forward to working closely with SLDC as we embark on the next phase of our growth.”

David Ford, a commercial director at Marl International, said: “We’re happy to work with the council and in the long-term we’ve had a positive liaison with both the town council and SLDC. It’s in our interests to have a positive relationship.”

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