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"To put the record straight, the owners of Kent Science Park have no wish to develop homes in the vicinity of the science park"

James Speck

Knock on effects of Pfizer closure

It is difficult to place a figure on the full financial fallout of Pfizer's decision to shut its Sandwich site.

The pharmaceutical firm's 2,400 on-site employees are of course set to be made redundant during the next 18 to 24 months.

Then there are up to 3,000 more workers who are indirectly employed by Pfizer, such as caterers and cleaners, who may find themselves forced into looking elsewhere for a job.

But the financial shockwave will spread further still should a new owner, or purpose, for Pfizer's high-spec research and development site not be found.

With 5,400 former Pfizer direct or indirect workers facing redundancy, retail, leisure and other associated industries are certain to feel the knock-on effect.
High Street shops, restaurants, bars, cinemas, cafes, hotels, theatres and car dealerships will all suffer as the thousands of people affected collectively tighten their purse strings.

One aspect that has not been considered is the knock-on effect to the county's housing market.

It is thought Pfizer's much sought after skilled employees could take advantage of the shortage of scientists in the industry by taking up positions outside of the county or country.

Such an exodus would leave hundreds of homes vacant, sending buyer demand tumbling and house prices with them.

A lot clearly depends upon the Sandwich economic development taskforce, set up by Government to deliver a range of proposals for minimising the impact on the east Kent economy.

The taskforce, chaired by KCC leader Cllr Paul Carter, has been given just 30 days to find viable ways of keeping Pfizer's workforce in the area before submitting their findings to Business secretary Vince Cable.

It is feared that if they fail to find a future for the huge Sandwich site, they may cost the area its own.

Article by Simon Robinson
Business Editor KOS



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