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Government minister hails Discovery Park as a role model for the UK

The Discovery Park in Sandwich, celebrating its second anniversary, has been hailed a role model for the rest of the UK according to a government minister.

Greg Clark, Minister for Universities and Science and MP for Tunbridge Wells, joined more than 300 guests at the rapidly growing facility to mark the occasion. Guests including staff from Discovery Park, tenants, dignitaries and members of local and community groups, enjoyed live music, a bubble making demonstration by a bubble-ologist, fairground games and a barbecue.

Sue Graeme and Sandwich Town Mayor Paul Graeme
Sue Graeme and Sandwich Town Mayor Paul Graeme

There was even a birthday present of a £4.6 million grant from the South East Local Enterprise Partnership to support further investment in roads and services.

Discovery Park was created on July 31, 2012, after pharmaceutical giant Pfizer announced it would be reducing its activities at the 220-acre site. Private consortium Discovery Park Limited bought the site. Since then, the science and technology-led park has created more than 1,600 jobs, including 600 still employed by Pfizer, and attracted nearly 100 businesses. It is on course to achieve 3,000 jobs by 2017.

The park has attracted substantial private sector funding, and Enterprise Zone status offering financial incentives to incoming businesses.

The Discovery Park in Sandwich has launched a new startup zone
The Discovery Park in Sandwich has launched a new startup zone

Mr Clark said: “When you think back to the depths of despair everyone felt when the initial announcement came, to get to the point where on present trends, there will be more people working here than were employed at the time is a phenomenal achievement.”

He saluted the project as a “national exemplar” of national and local government and the private sector working together to make it work.

He added: “This should be broadcast nationally as a role model for other places.”

For the full story and more pictures, pick up the East Kent Mercury - out on Thursday.

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