I attended the Swale Borough Council Planning Committee last night on behalf of the Five Parish Opposition Group to speak against the application been made by the Kent Science Park for five technology units.
I pointed out that the Five Parish Opposition Group welcomed the redevelopment of the Kent Science Park within the boundary of the security fence.
However FPOG felt that this application exposed a significant gap in their publicly aired intentions for job creation and the demand for increased floor space. It is also entirely at odds with their proposals currently before the inspector of the Local Plan Inquiry.
I suggested that this is a low quality, very low density application from an organisation who is simultaneously pressing for a larger expansion of the park on the grounds that demand is currently outstripping supply.
The average floor space per person is 400% greater than that of typical office accommodation, which is the predominant property rating classification of the existing units on the KSP.
The application puts forward an argument for single storey units because of it vicinity to Broadoak Road and then declares that half the units will be 6m in height clearly this is nonsense.
I put it to the planning committee that to agree to this application will send a clear message to the public that
“Swale BC is simply not interested in making the most of the valuable asset.”
“That Swale BC is not interested in maximising employment opportunities.”
I suggested that it will be the people of Swale who will ultimately lose out if this opportunity is lost.
The planning committee heard from Swale that it was necessary that the units were only single storey in height as the tenants required heavy lifting gear which is completely lost on me.
The application was approved with ten councillors voting in favour and three objecting. I felt rather disappointed that yet another opportunity has bypassed Swale and when I’m proved right I’ll be more than happy to remind them of this chance.
So there we have it 23,575 sq ft of buildings for only 40 possible new jobs.
You can see the application in detail by visiting the UK Planning website http://www.ukplanning.com/Swale and typing in the application number SW/06/0217