For sale... the £1.1 BILLION flagship 'megalab' set up during Covid to ... trends now
It was hailed as Britain’s flagship ‘megalab’, a £1.1 billion cutting-edge diagnostic centre to counter Covid-19 and defend the country against future epidemics.
Announcing the project in November 2020, then-health secretary Matt Hancock said the laboratory ‘confirms the UK as a world leader in diagnostics’, capable of carrying out 300,000 tests a day.
But three years later, the Rosalind Franklin Laboratory – named in honour of the renowned British scientist – stands empty, a monument to waste and incompetence, and up for sale on the property website Rightmove.
Industry insiders claim the government is now trying to offload the world-leading facility for a fraction of its cost to taxpayers, who were forced to fund almost twice its initial £588m budget.
Instead of being at the forefront of the fight against Covid, the project opened six months late, faced issues with equipment, staff and construction and typically processed only 11,500 tests a day before closing 18 months later.
Desperate estate agents are now offering packages that will see the custom-built facilities at Leamington Spa in Warwickshire broken up to attract ‘start-ups, scale-ups