Another ‘science’ park bites the dust

It was meant to be Ashford’s future: a science park backed by one of the world’s leading universities which would attract high-quality jobs and research to the area and stop it becoming just a dormitory town.

But the dream that was the Eureka Science Park has finally been laid to rest by Ashford Borough Council which has been forced to admit that there is not the demand to sustain a science base there. In the last few months the name ‘Eureka Science Park’ has been quietly dropped in favour of the rather more mundane ‘Trinity Trading Estate’.

travelodge.jpg
High quality? TheTravelodge
at the Trinity Trading Estate

The decision to drop the scientific aspiration follows almost 20 years of effort to attract science and research and development firms to the area. In recent years, the take-up at the estate — which is owned by Trinity College, Cambridge — has been almost entirely by retail and leisure companies with Coty being the sole manufacturer on the site. As long ago as 2001, the Halcrow Group — in a report on Ashford’s economic future — argued that the aspiration of a science park at Eureka was “out of tune with market realities”.

Now, it seems that Ashford Borough Council has finally been forced into a tacit admission that backing from a major university, good communications and proximity to the Continent and London are not enough to make the area an attractive destination for science and R&D companies.

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About David Hewson

Professional novelist, published in more than 20 languages. Creator of the Nic Costa series set in modern Rome. Most recent book the novel of the Danish TV series, The Killing.
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