"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
Banter from Science Park simply doesn’t add up.
The Kent Science Park has been sold to us as a centre of excellence and high tech innovation but basic arithmetic certainly isn’t their forte.
Last week it was claimed that “The Kent Science Park employ 1,200 people, an increase of 100 in the past 12 months and the largest number since Shell moved out in 1996.”
Well not according to the independent Economic Impact Assessment commissioned by Swale Borough Council and published in June 2008. The report clearly states that as of December 2007 the park employed 872 employees. Therefore even if you are inclined to believe the growth figure that still only totals 972 employees some 228 employees less than claimed.
At the time the report was conducted the park had undergone four years of negative growth and even factoring in the unverified growth in the last year it would result in just 47 new jobs being created in five years.
It’s a fact that the park has never managed to employ as many people as shell did.
It’s not the first time the park has sought to mislead the public with incorrect employment figures. Last year the park was even caught out including tenants in their figures not even based at the park.
The park has repeatedly failed to live up to its own hype. In August 2004 the park claimed that they would create 848 in the next five years, which leaves them with just another 801 jobs to create before August.
It has become very difficult to lend any credibility to any figures that the park publishes. It does make you wonder why if the park is as successful as claimed they would feel the need to constantly exaggerate their success.
While we are hopeful that the park is actually starting to make progress it must be realised that the park can only ever contribute a very small percentage of the overall employment figures in Kent. If people are pinning all their hopes on this single employment opportunity as the saviour for Swale they are going to be bitterly disappointed in the long term.