Discovery Park celebrates its fourth birthday this month with the leading science, technology and enterprise park continuing to attract new investment, jobs and opportunities for East Kent.
As of June 2016, there were over 2,400 people employed at the site with Pfizer, the site’s former sole business, remaining the biggest tenant. The global pharmaceutical giant was one of just five companies at Discovery Park, when it transferred to new ownership on 31 July 2012. This month that figure passed 150.
So far this year Discovery Park has welcomed more than 20 new companies including the site’s first bank NatWest, Viramal, Flute Office, the Design and Learning Centre, Grahame Construction, Agilent, Paediatric Gastro and Catch IT.
The site’s StartUp Zone continues to grow with more businesses taking their first steps to success in an office environment - and it’s not just new companies joining Discovery Park.
Over 12 firms have expanded their office space so far this year, including IT support company Communicate with emergency planners Horizonscan and Folium Consulting doubling in size. BSPG Laboratories have also expanded their lab space.
It’s all part of the ongoing development of the site. Last month work began on a new biomass facility that will ultimately produce all the power and heat requirements for Discovery Park, representing an £140million investment.
Building 500, an iconic space for science discovery from its time as Pfizer’s major research facility, has welcomed its first science tenants since refurbishment began in September 2015.
Canterbury Christ Church University opened its new industry liaison lab earlier this year, with PhD students linking up with tenants on site – including Venomtech and Genea Biomedx.
It is one of a number of projects aimed at restoring Building 500 as a centre for scientific research, not only for science businesses but for future generations of scientists. The Community Lab project, for example, which provides schools access to state-of-the-art resources, uses East Kent College’s new lab facility.
Manufacturing is also on its way back in a major way with the construction of thousands of square foot of new production space for Instro Precision Ltd and OFP Timber Framed Homes Ltd. The move will protect over 100 jobs and allow for future growth.
Marketing of St George’s Park, will also begin shortly with 150 self-build homes marking the beginning of the residential part of the master plan for Discovery Park agreed by Dover District Council in October 2014.
Paul Barber, Managing Director, Discovery Park, said: “It’s too easy to forget how much Discovery Park has achieved in the four years since we took over the site from Pfizer - going from just five companies to our current position of 150 companies employing over 2,400 people.
“And in reality we have only just got started, with the £140million new biomass plant, the start of the residential phase and building getting underway on nearly 70,000 sq ft of new manufacturing space – bringing more jobs, more investment and more opportunities for East Kent.”