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Kent Science Park site director responds after departure of high-profile firms

By Lewis Dyson

The site director of Kent Science Park says it has “not been healthier” despite announcements of job losses last year.

Early in 2017, Dovetail Services, which provides subscriptions management services for publishers, announced it was leaving, with 210 jobs said to have been affected.

Then in March, workers at the call centre Go Response were told the company would shut up shop with the loss of 65 jobs.

Novartis is at the Kent Science Park in Sittingbourne
Novartis is at the Kent Science Park in Sittingbourne

And in November, 72 employees at pharmaceutical company Novartis were told their jobs were under threat.

Patrick Benham-Crosswell, who has been site director since March last year, said some high-profile companies had left but there had also been a lot of internal recruitment.

He said: “The simple realties are that while some jobs have been lost, more have been gained.”

He added that since his arrival the number of companies had risen from 77 on March 1, including Dovetail and Go Response, to 91 currently.

Patrick Benham-Crosswell, Kent Science Park
Patrick Benham-Crosswell, Kent Science Park

The number of people who hold passes to work at KSP, excluding delivery drivers and visitors, rose from about 1,300 last March to 1,837 at the moment.

Mr Benham-Crosswell said more companies were expected to enter the park in the near future, and existing tenants were expanding.

He said: “Moreover the landowner is investing heavily in refurbishing both infrastructure and buildings here.

“He is also building a new site hub, comprising a meeting centre, management suite and cafeteria-restaurant.

“It’s the nature of all trade. Businesses come and go and relocate..." - Patrick Benham-Crosswell, Kent Science Park

“The vision is to restore the science park to being a preeminent life-sciences facility. And, from where I am sitting, that is what we are doing.

“This is already providing employment and economic growth for Sittingbourne and the Swale district.”

He added: “It’s the nature of all trade. Businesses come and go and relocate.

“I’m delighted to say that the Kent Science Park has not been healthier, and it’s because we have a landowner who is investing a lot of money.”

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