MPs are campaigning to continue a pharmaceutical presence at Pfizer’s site in Sandwich, Kent (pictured), after receiving 'Enterprise Zone' status last week.
The aim is to maintain the site as a life sciences location when Pfizer leaves the plant next year. In June, Pfizer agreed to keep 350 employees working at the plant until the US firm exits the site next year, incurring the total loss of 2,500 jobs.
It is hoped that the incentives of the Enterprise Zone will help to attract 190 businesses providing 2,500 new jobs, ideally headed by young people and former Pfizer employees, claimed Kent MP Greg Clarke.
Mr Clarke said: “We hope to continue the tradition of scientific research at Sandwich and benefit from the skills the area already has”.
MP Laura Sandys said that there are opportunities in “renewables, pharmaceuticals, food science, even aerospace”.
Ms Sandys has travelled across the Channel to try to promote the Discovery Park to potential European businesses and investors, claiming that she “will sell east Kent”.
Science Minister David Willetts is also supporting the UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). He confirmed that the “UKTI and BIS will work with Discovery Park to get overseas investment and business interest in the site.”
Mr Clarke added: “In ten years’ time we will be able to look here and not just think of Pfizer but see a world centre of excellence for scientific research”.
The next step is to obtain tourism funding and to hopefully be successful in a Regional Growth Fund (RGF) bid, says Dover District Council Leader Paul Watkins.
Details of successful bids are expected to be announced in late Autumn.