Apologise for your 'dirty trick'

25 Feb 2011

Science park objectors deny claim that they want site closed down

Science Park Letter RowA GROUP fighting against plans to expand the Kent Science Park (KSP) is demanding an apology after claiming its name has been smeared by the site's director.

In a letter addressed to staff and tenants, James Speck says the "livelihood and future" of those working at the park is under threat as the Five Parishes Opposition Group (FPOG) wants the site to close.

The group has hit out at the claims - accusing the KSP of launching a "dirty tricks campaign" - and says its only interest is in limiting the park's expansion into neighbouring countryside.

The letter, a copy of which has been seen by the Sittingbourne Messenger, reads: "Many of you will be familiar with the Five Parishes Opposition Group who have in the past made clear their objections to the park's expansion but alarmingly also wish us closed."

Protest group hits back at 'dirty tricks' campaign

KENT Science Park is under pressure to apologise after a letter was circulated making allegations against the Five Parishes Opposition Group (FPOG).

The letter states that the group wants the park closed down - a claim FPOG strenuously denies.

It reads: "This wish directly threatens the livelihood and the future of 1,190 people already working at the park.

"In light of the recent job losses at Pfizer, this attitude is deplorable."

Signs in BapchildThe document also accuses the group, which represents Bapchild, Bredgar, Milstead, Tunstall and Rodmersham, of "misleading the public" that the park wants to develop thousands of houses to pay for a new Sittingbourne Southern Relief Road between the M2 and A2.

FPOG member Andy Hudson said: "We are shocked that the management of the KSP have launched a dirty tricks campaign, apparently intended to undermine the public consultation on Swale council's future core strategy plans.

"Public statements by FPOG have always recognised the important contribution which the KSP can make to Swale's economy.

"That contribution can be achieved without massive expansion outside of the park's security fence, obliterating hundreds of acres of prime countryside.

"KSP management must withdraw their public statement accusing FPOG of campaigning to close the park."

KSP has declined to comment on the letter and Mr Hudson's calls for an apology.

Residents are being asked for their views on four options being put forward by the council as part of a public consultation entitled Pick Your Own.

Ideas include expanding the park and a new Sittingbourne Southern Relief Road between the M2 and A2.
In a separate development, FPOG is calling on residents to join a march against proposed development across the Sitting-bourne area.

The group believes Swale council's proposals to expand the town over the next 20 years will see thousands of unnecessary houses built as well as a new link road.

Signs have been erected in gardens along Fox Hill, Bap-child, making residents aware of the proposals.
FPOG is urging people to join its protest march, which will start outside the Wilkinsons store in Sittingbourne High Street, at 10.30am tomorrow (Saturday) and end outside the council offices in East Street.

By Hayley Robinson, Kent Messenger