While we continue to wish Discovery Park under the management of Paul Barber, well with their site, we will continue to look at all avenues to restore Manston as an airport and to object to Stone Hill Park’s current plans. Even a change of use will not discount the various objections to their plans.
Development of Manston Airport is clearly a completely different prospect to the regeneration of Discovery Park.
From Kent Live News:
Discovery Park business site in Sandwich has been sold to an investment company.
The former Pfizer site has been bought by investment company Discovery Park Estates Ltd.
The deal sees a change of shareholders in the commercial and industrial facilities immediately. The original shareholders, Trevor Cartner, Chris Musgrave and Palmer Capital, will continue as the owners of the company that manages Discovery Park on a day-to-day basis, Parkserve Ltd, and as owners of the residential land.
They started with just five companies on site and 15% occupancy and now have a 65% occupancy and 150 companies employing more than 2,400 people across several sectors with a target to reach 3,000 jobs and 70% occupancy by the end of 2017.
Though Discovery Park now has new shareholders, the existing management team, including Managing Director Paul Barber, Finance Director Kevin Howes and Leasing Director Anna Stone, will remain in place to support the new owners.
Mr Barber, said: “When the previous investors acquired the site in 2012 it was always the intention that once the business park had moved onto a sound footing they would move on to new ventures.
“The future is bright with the new shareholders determined to continue the growth at Discovery Park. Currently 65% of the site is occupied and with the level of interest we have, I would envisage the site being at full occupancy within a few years.
“We have really ambitious plans to make Discovery Park an even more exciting place and we are thrilled that the new owners fully support our ideas.”
Bernard Spitz, spokesman for new freeholders Discovery Park Estates, said: “We are delighted to have acquired Discovery Park. The site is recognised globally as a cutting-edge hub of science, business and technology and that is something we intend to develop even further in the future. We also fully intend to implement the previous owners’ plans to develop other facilities on the site as soon as possible.”
Development includes the ongoing refurbishment of key buildings such as the iconic Building 500; completion of construction work on nearly 70,000 sq ft of manufacturing space and the £160million investment in a new biomass renewable energy plant.
Other elements of the master plan will continue, including St George’s Park, the first phase of the site’s residential scheme.
Mr Musgrave and Mr Cartner say they will now devote more time to developing Stone Hill Park, at Manston airfield, which they own in partnership with Scottish businesswoman Ann Gloag.
Stone Hill Park spokesman, Ray Mallon, said: “Discovery Park, along with Wynyard Park in the North-East, are prime examples of how this company can take faltering sites and transform their fortunes, creating real, lasting jobs and building quality homes. There is a clear parallel with Stone Hill Park.
“We are about to enter a very important phase in the regeneration of Stone Hill Park. We have carried out extensive public consultation and our planning application for a mixed-use site that will bring much-needed homes, jobs and leisure facilities to the area which is currently being considered by Thanet District Council.”
Competing plans for the site are being lodged by American firm RiverOak which is pursuing a Development Consent Order from the Government.
Manston airport was designated as for aviation use only but a new Thanet Local Plan aims to change this to mixed use development. Kent Live will publish more on this today.
Featured image used with permission.