Expansion without housing is not an option

30 Jan 2011
Kent Science Park director James Speck stated in this week’s East Kent Gazette that

“It is vital local residents understand that our plans to deliver an expanded science park are by connecting it to the M2, not by the building of thousands of new homes.”

Mr Speck might wish to distance himself from the housing, but Government policy demands that the new motorway junction has to connect to a major road such as the A2, therefore the KSP expansion plans and the housing are inextricably linked whether he likes it or not.

Evidence that we have acquired from a meeting which took place last year explains that the Kent Science Park and Swale Borough Council agreed that a reliance on housing would delay the delivery of access improvements and therefore it was hoped that the Science Park would be able to fund the junction without housing, however LaSalle owners of the park would not stand in the way of others promoting such housing.

The very same meeting also concluded that the Southern Relief Road is thought to be essential to acceptance by the Highways Agency of Junction 5A and therefore as already outlined the housing is a necessity.

The Kent Science Park have also sought to reinvent the likely cost associated with the provision of the new motorway junction and road in the hope that they can convince everyone that the scheme is in fact deliverable. The evidence for the Core Strategy states that the cost of both the motorway junction and Southern Relief Road will be £40 million, a figure which even Swale Borough Council note as “likely to be a significant underestimate”.

To put this in to some kind of perspective, KCC commissioned a study seven years ago which suggests costs in excess of £110 million, a similar figure to that which the Highways Agency suggested when several months ago Kent Science Park said the cost would be £70 million.

Besides the glaringly obvious omission of any evidence what-so-ever to justify either the road or motorway junction, you have to question what benefit a motorway junction serving only the Science Park would be for local residents and for local job creation.