Kent County Council and a local borough council have been truly swiped around the head by a constituency MP over plans to build green field homes and a new science park. Both local authorities ‘should be ashamed of themselves’ says the Westminster man in question… but no, don’t get too excited. This isn’t Wye, the twilight zone as far as local public representatives are concerned.
It’s Swale where Labour’s Derek Wyatt, he of the wafer thin majority, is continuing his three-year battle against the development of Kent Science Park with a huge new road, five thousand homes and a stack of commercial development.
Mr Wyatt, who churlishly suggested earlier this year that Swale should abandon the plan and watch it shipped to Wye instead, is furious with LaSalle, who own KSP near Sittingbourne, for pursuing the expansion plans. In an interview with Kent on Sunday tomorrow (see foot of article) he questions how much science there is in the park when its largest employers include a housing association call centre and a magazine distribution centre.
Mr Wyatt also lambasts LaSalle for failing to focus on developing its existing land on the site. ‘At no time has LaSalle Investment Management introduced a plan to redevelop the current site of 116 acres. Unsurprisingly, neither Kent County Council nor Swale Borough Council have demanded that. Both should be ashamed of themselves. There is substantial space on the current site for it to improve what it wants to do — without developing on a greenfield site.’
A vocal local public representative apart, it all sounds depressingly familiar. LaSalle’s Andrew Bull is optimistic for the future, however, particularly with the prospect of a new road linking the A2 and M2 as part of the plan. ‘It is proving increasingly attractive to the scientific community. However access to the site must be improved to ensure our existing companies expand and prosper and to attract more of the high quality jobs that Sittingbourne needs.’
Jobs that won’t, of course, be coming Wye’s way as part of Imperial’s busted flush.