Study shows that the Kent Science Park has had no impact on Swales’ Knowledge Based Economy
16 Jan 2011The myth that the Kent Science Park would elevate the Borough’s status in Kent to become the central focus of a knowledge based economy has finally been laid to rest in a specific study from Swale Borough Council. The study demonstrates that not only is Swale lagging significantly behind most other boroughs in Kent, but that in the period covered by the study Swale’s share knowledge based jobs actually reduced.
The danger in focusing on a single employment site like Kent Science Park to deliver economic growth in the Borough of Swale shows just how mis-informed local councillors and other politicians have become, distracted by the smoke and mirrors marketing by the Kent Science Park’s owners.
It is a fact that, within Swale, two thirds of the ‘knowledge based economy’ occurs beyond the boundaries of the Kent Science Park. KSP is not the centre of economic activity in Swale, and it is a long, long way from being the centre of economic activity in Kent.
Intriguingly the specific study undertaken by Swale Borough Council only evaluated the period to 2004. Perhaps comparative figures are not available beyond this point or may be the results would undermine further the Core Strategy evidence provided by KSP .
Figures provided by the Kent Science Park indicate that since 2004 the growth of jobs at KSP in last seven years is around 190. This level of job creation would barely register a percentage point in the total number of employees in the Borough.
Clearly Swale’s economy needs to improve. However, relying on KSP as a significant contributor is not sound judgement. The emerging Core Strategy must embrace options which will rationalise Kent Science Park’s limited potential and emphasise the huge value of alternative employment sites in diversifying Swale’s economy and job creation.