Sartorius bosses fly in to pay tribute to Stonehouse workforce

(l-r) Plant Director Alan Johnson, Executive Board Member Volker Niebel, MD Chris Biddell, Vice Pres

(l-r) Plant Director Alan Johnson, Executive Board Member Volker Niebel, MD Chris Biddell, Vice President Filtration Uwe Becker, Senior Development Surveyor Mark Durand from Robert Hitchins, Plant Director Ian Woolf. - Credit: Archant

World-beating manufacturers Sartorius Stedim have cut the first turf of their new HQ at Stonehouse Park near Stroud.

The building is being developed for the company by Robert Hitchins Ltd and will provide purpose-built premises as the company embarks on an ambitious expansion programme.

The current 87-strong workforce is set to grow to 150 by 2022, with further expansion envisaged thereafter in a multi-million pound two-phase investment.

Senior Development Surveyor for Robert Hitchins Ltd, Mark Durand, said: “We have enjoyed working with the Sartorius team over the past few months to design a world-class facility that will enable them to expand the production of their market leading healthcare products.”

Managing Director of Sartorius Stedim Chris Biddell invited VIPs from the company’s German parent company to the turf-cutting: Executive Board Member Volker Niebel and Vice President, Filtration, Uwe Becker.

“It’s an honour to be here today and to get the chance to create a new plant in Stonehouse. It demonstrates our faith in the team here,” said Mr Becker. “We’re very happy and excited to be building a new Sartorius plant from scratch and that we will own it. This is a long-term investment both for our product and for Stonehouse.

It’s a vote of confidence in the location and the team. We’re looking forward to designing and developing the new plant together.”

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The visitors toured the current factory in Stonedale Road and met the staff who have helped MD Chris Biddell transform a business he began in his uncle’s garage to an industry-leading company which designs and manufactures laboratory filtration and diagnostic products, including medical devices.

Sartorius Stedim Lab’s clients include global biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies who demand a state-of-the art environment. A new building will provide a more efficient work flow and is essential for future growth.

A planning application for the new 85,000 sq ft HQ at the entrance to Stonehouse was recently approved by Stroud District Council.The Stonehouse operation grew out of a business which Chris Biddell, an engineering graduate, began in his uncle’s garage in Oakridge 20 years ago.Initially called Vivascience, it became part of German giant Sartorius Stedim in 1999. Globally the company employs 6,000 people and has a turnover of almost 1bn Euros.