Kent Science Park
Policy AFC 2 (Pages 204 to 206)At the time of writing the larger expansion of the Kent Science Park is no longer considered to be deliverable prior to 2031 and as a result it is promoted by Swale Borough Council as an 'Area of Future Change'.
Pros (According to Swale Borough Council)
- over a 25 year period, additional growth of up to 100,320 sq m of B class floorspace and a
net figure of 1,256 jobs in Swale.
- That's a 200% expansion to create less jobs than is claimed presently exist, and according to the current timescale this won't be a reality until 2056.
- Expansion is dependent on the provision of the Sittingbourne Southern Relief Road which in turn is dependent on what the Council refer to as 'Major new development', so is that the thousands of houses, probably.
- It is predicted by KCC that the majority of new jobs would not be sourced from Sittingbourne.
- Whilst the Kent Science Park has not been all doom and gloom, it has not achieved anything like the levels of growth forecast over the last 9 years.
- It is no longer the only science park in Kent, with the ex Pfizer site renamed the 'Discovery Park' accounting for a massive additional 280,000 m2 of floor space.
- If you take the 100,320 m2 over 25 years it equates to 4,013 m2 per annum, but the current 10 year average growth actually achieved is just 789 m2.
- Work on the smaller scale expansion plans which were put forward in the last Local Plan in 2006 have not started.
- The financial risk to the public purse is significant and estimates on the provision of the Southern Relief Road and new M2 Junction 5 have been significantly underplayed by the Kent Science Park.
- Employment on Science Parks has been in decline since 2006.
- The land around the Kent Science Park is highly sensitive and of high landscape
The track record speaks for itself.
- Failed to create the 500 news jobs promised in 2008
- Failed to build the new arrivals building for which the planning application has now expired
- Failed to build the phase 2 technology units applied for in 2008 planning application now expired
- Failed to make a start on urgently needed expansion outside the security fence applied for in 2008
- Failed to build the bio-accelerator units promised following a grant of £1.3 million from the government.
- Failed to make a go of the Kent Science Park resource centre who's publically financed assets were quickly sold to Kent University who then took over the running of the unit