The case for major expansion of the Kent Science Park has certainly not been proven.
01 Apr 2012First we had planning applications for new buildings, then before these were let and some still haven’t even been built, there was a urgent requirement for expansion beyond the security fence to retain Ecologia and service interest from potential new tenants. More forward three years and before a spade has hit the ground the future of the Kent Science Park is apparently dependent on tripling its present size to make it the largest Science Park in the UK.
We were told by Swale Borough Council in a recent briefing session that the case for the major expansion of the Kent Science Park has been proven. The evidence presented in support is full of inaccuracies, contradictions, figures that don’t add up and unrealistic growth projections that have absolutely no bearing on past performance.
The former Pfizer site at Sandwich which is not currently a member of the UK Science Park Association is three times the size of the current largest Science Park. However undeterred the Council seriously considers that Kent could grow to support a quarter of all the Science Park floor space in the UK.
We have endured years of disappointment, the bio-accelerator farce, the 1.3 million of public funds poured into the resource centre which had to be rescued by Kent University, the new Arrivals Centre who’s planning application has expired, the Ecologia expansion which didn’t happen, the 5 year plan for 500 new jobs promised over 3 three ago, none of which have materialised.
In real terms the park has not been particularly successful, it is no longer a unique facility in Kent and we need to wake up to the fact the last recorded growth for Science Parks was back in 2006. Will the Kent Science Park be part of our future, yes of course it will, but not on anything like the scale envisaged here.