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Thursday, 02 October 2014

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Hundreds of Cumbria business leaders gather for annual event

SOME of Cumbria’s top business leaders gathered in the Lakes last night to celebrate the county’s success.

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VIP guests (from left) Kevin Sayers of United Utilities, CBI regional director Damian Waters, Steve Fraser of United Utilities and Giles Fletcher of CBI North West. JON GRANGER REF: 50059146B002

 The Confederation of British Industry hosted its annual regional dinner at the Low Wood Hotel in Windermere, with around 200 of the county’s most influential business leaders in attendance.

The evening was opened by Steve Fraser, managing director of United Utilities, who described how the firm’s most complex operational areas are in Cumbria.

“The picture in Cumbria is much more complex than in other parts of the UK,” he said.

“The rugged landscape makes this area a magnet for tourism but that brings with it a huge number of challenges for us.”

Businesses represented on the night included BAE Systems, Siemens, Wax Lyrical, Holker Group, Marl International, Sellafield and Oxley Developments, as well as Cumbria County Council, Furness Enterprise and educational establishments Furness College and Lakes College.

Ulverston was well-represented, no doubt in part because the evening’s guest speaker was GlaxoSmithKline’s head of engineering, David Lynch.

Mr Lynch, who is responsible for 86 manufacturing sites across the world, explained why the drugs giant chose Ulverston as the home of its planned £350m biopharm facility and revealed that construction was set to start in mid 2015.

“Our history in Ulverston was a key factor in our decision to build a new site here,” he said.

“The Ulverston site sits on the edge of Morecambe Bay. It’s a great privilege to have a site in such a beautiful and ecologically important location and our approach is to respect and enhance the site.

“We want to create a vibrant and exciting place for people to work and improve public access to the coast.”

Mr Lynch added that GSK’s aim was to continue working in partnership with other big employers in the region to attract young, skilled people to South Cumbria.

“We are committed to Cumbria and we see it as part of our responsibility to have a close relationship with the community, our MP and other companies in the area,” he said.

“We are very excited about the opportunities this site will bring to Cumbria and the UK.”

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