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Hull-based Medical Device Company Smith & Nephew Moves From Historic Location

The world-renowned company Smith & Nephew is gong to be leaving its location in Hull after being based 160 years in the city.

The company is set to relocate 8 miles (13km) away in Melton, on a new site costing £80m.

Around 800 are employed by the medical device manufacturer, which has been based in the city of Hull since its foundation in 1856.

City Labour MP Emma Hardy has expressed disappointment in the firm’s choice to relocate, though has said she understands the reasons behind the move. In a statement, she said:

“Hull was the birthplace of Smith & Nephew. It’s where the company started. It has all its history, it has all its heritage there on this site in Hull. But, I understand they wanted 23 acres and, of course, you can’t find 23 acres within the boundary of Hull, it’s simply not there. My focus right now is going to be making sure everyone keeps their jobs when they open this new site.”

Smith & Nephew have claimed the new facility in East Yorkshire will make a “world-class research and development, manufacturing and flexible office environment” which would “generate more than $10bn (£8bn) of sales in its first ten years of operation”.

The investment is in part supported by a grant from the government. The Minister for Innovation, Lord Kamall, said:

“Smith & Nephew’s new R&D base will ensure the UK remains at the forefront of life sciences and innovative research, levelling up the health of our nation, tackling disparities and saving lives.”

The historic company was founded by Thomas James Smith in 1856, beginning as a dispensing chemist, but developing into a global business.

Mike Ross, leader of the Liberal Democrats on Hull City Council, said he had had meetings with bosses at Smith & Nephew, who “made clear there was not sufficient suitable land within the city boundary that could be made available at the pace their plans required”.

He added that while his preference would have been for the company to remain inside the city, he felt “optimistic [that] the new location – just a few minutes up the road – means our residents will be able to keep their jobs. Protecting jobs has been the council’s priority and we will continue to work with the company and local MPs to ensure this is the case. The company has also committed to working with us to ensure its current site plays a key role in meeting the city’s future employment needs, and this will be central to the redevelopment of the wider English Street area.”

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