"I am opposed to expansion of the Kent Science Park and opposed to massive housing developments south of the A2"
Cllr Mike Whiting prior to supporting HIF bid
KM Stress test for KSP expansion flawed
The downside to holding a debate between a small group of businesses and supporting government agencies with a vested interest in expanding the park is the rather one sided and inaccurate viewpoint it will invariably produce.
The article fails on several accounts to reveal the true picture of the parks success or otherwise and does not accurately portray the reasons why so many residents have objected to the expansion proposals.
The usual propaganda relating to the creation of hundreds of highly paid, hi-tech jobs for local residents over the next five years has been provided without any mention that growth over the preceding four years has been negative against a period of sustained economic growth elsewhere in the UK.
Currently 872 employees work at the park rather than the 1,000 stated and the vast majority of these do not work in highly paid hi-tech jobs.
Yes residents have voiced concerns over traffic, but also on the timing and scale of expansion, 4,500 houses proposed and major road infrastructure being built with the sole purpose of enabling the expansion of the park.
Residents have also been sceptical about the potential for employment and types of jobs that will be created. Residents have unfortunately, been proven right to be cautious. The park which was by now supposed to be fully occupied has actually gone into decline in employment terms and many of the jobs created are no different to those that have been created anywhere else in Swale.
It has always struck us as odd that quite so much emphasis is being placed on one employment opportunity that accounts for such a tiny proportion of overall Swale economy. There are just as many innovative and successful hi-tech companies elsewhere in Swale.
Like most local people I wish for nothing more than a successful park, but I want to see the highly paid local jobs become a reality for more than a minority of the workforce and expansion only when real progress has been made, based on proven success rather than the spin and hype that we’ll all become so accustom too.