While Wye’s science park project lingers in the doldrums awaiting official confirmation of the axe, the county’s other controversial development in the field, at Sittingbourne, is being actively promoted by its backers. To the fury of local residents anxious to prevent development of farmland around the village of Bapchild, the Kent Science Park plan seems to be on track.
As save-wye reported earlier this year, local MP Derek Wyatt, son-in-law of Kent’s Lord Lieutenant, Alan Willett, went so far as to stand up in the House of Commons and ask for the project to be dumped in favour of building at Wye (Mr Wyatt is, you see, in one of the most marginal seats in the country). But with Wye Park doomed, the company behind KSP are pushing ahead with ambitious plans that involve a new road between the M2 and A2, five thousand new homes and the promise of five thousand new jobs too, all in a hi-tech business community covering ‘cutting edge bioscience and chemistry’ according to KentOnline.
Even the language is starting to resemble that used to back up the Wye Park project. According to Andrew Bull, European director of LaSalle Investment Management, the owner of KSP, ‘This is about creating employment in Swale, high-quality jobs.’ He said the scheme would put Sittingbourne on the international map as ‘a centre of scientific excellence’, exactly as Imperial promised for Wye. How many centres of scientific excellence can east Kent hold?
You can read about local opposition to the plan here and access the official consultation website too. While I’m sure everyone in Wye will wish the residents of the Bapchild area well in their fight against the proposal, you have to say it looks a million times more professional than anything Imperial have come up with over Wye, on presentation anyway. Compare this detailed map from KSP with the meagre information Imperial has supplied to Wye, while blighting the entire area with doubt over what might be built and where. Is there any wonder Imperial are floundering when their attempts at public consultation have been so flimsy and poorly executed?