Thursday, July 16 will be a day etched in the memory of SOG Group boss John Lewis. After meeting The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh he then scooped an award for SOG’s pioneering work in coordinating the regeneration of a large pharmaceutical site in east London.
SOG received the accolade at Barking and Dagenham Chamber of Commerce Business Awards 2015 for the ‘Best Company from outside the borough trading within Barking and Dagenham’.
The award was in recognition of more than six years’ effort by SOG – owner and operator of The Heath Business and Technical Park in Runcorn – to spearhead a regeneration process for world-leading pharmaceutical company Sanofi at its former Dagenham manufacturing plant.
Receiving the award at a dinner in Dagenham SOG Managing Director John Lewis said: “Wow what a day! I was introduced to The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh today (during a Royal visit to Barking and Dagenham) and to top the lot I’ve now won this, fantastic!
“One of the main things we had to consider before we invested in the Dagenham site was not just does the site have a future but did the borough itself have a future. One of the big things l learned right from the outset was the transformation of Barking and Dagenham Borough is amazing, the enthusiasm and the energy. Also it’s an opportunity. The opportunity is because London is interested in growing east and every single business in this room has an opportunity to do well…and I think we will do well. The baton is very much in our hands to make a success of this opportunity and I’m sure that everybody will do that, including ourselves. It’s for us to drop the baton, let’s not do that. Good luck everyone.”
Sanofi announced in 2009 that the entire site would close by 2013 and appointed SOG as lead consultant to master-mind a full-scale programme enabling Sanofi to leave a positive legacy by attracting new jobs and businesses to the location, and safeguarding the future of multi-million pound science buildings for use by other companies.
SOG recommended and coordinated a strategic sale of land and facilities, aimed at transforming the site into a business, science, retail and manufacturing park, based on its own unique operating model at The Heath. SOG managed all aspects of the complex process – working closely with the local council, GLA, numerous stakeholder groups and overseeing the communications and public consultations.
In 2014 SOG purchased 17 acres of specialist buildings and land at the core of the legacy aspiration which now form Londoneast-uk Business and Technical Park, operating as a sister site to The Heath. SOG’s Londoneast-uk project which was only launched in November 2014 was also commended in the category of Best New Business and John Lewis was also commended in the Businessman of the Year category.
Sanofi itself won a Green Award for the meticulous multi-million pound land remediation programme to ensure the former pharmaceutical plant was suitable for new development. The company also received a special award presented to former Dagenham Site Leader Jim Moretta in recognition of the company’s sterling efforts to leave behind a positive legacy of new job and new business opportunities at the location after Sanofi had left.
About SOG Group
Formed in 2000 SOG is owner and operator of The Heath Business and Technical Park which it has transformed from a once single occupancy corporate facility into a thriving independent business park. The Heath now provides office and laboratory accommodation for more than 170 individual organisations, ranging from business services and IT specialists to those at the cutting edge of science, research and advanced manufacturing. Around 2,000 people are employed at the site.
In 2014 SOG launched Londoneast-uk Business and Technical Park in Dagenham, east London.
The company are specialists in facility management and operation of science facilities and provide a wide range of specialist services including health & safety, precision engineering, scientific glassblowing and bespoke laboratory design and build.