Discovery Park, Kent
The site in East Kent was the home to Pfizer Pharmaceuticals and the birth place of the wonder drug Viagra.
Sadly, one wonder discovery does not make a legacy and in 2011 Pfizer decided to cut their losses and move out. 3000 jobs disappeared – almost overnight, the site became a ghost-town, and the effect on the neighbouring town of Sandwich was pretty much the same.
As is the case when you rely on one major employer, the period following their exit is akin to that of mourning. Who comes to save the day? Will anyone? What are the chances of another Pfizer waiting in the wings? Nil.
Wind the clock forward twelve months and a group of investors snapped up the entire campus for a song. They spent the next year ‘repurposing’ and adapting the best buildings, demolishing those that were past their best – operations they had a pretty good track record in. But a site of this scale needs a big plan – and we have worked with Discovery Park Limited and Dover District Council to craft it.
Our answer was been to introduce a host of new uses, including a significant number of new homes. The vision is to see Sandwich and Discovery Park as one ‘Total Place’ – driven by new forms of innovation, that have defined it over the last century.
Despite the whole site being in the flood plain, and internationally protected Water Voles pretty much everywhere, the plan is universally supported – from the town council to DCLG, everyone wants to see Discovery Park flourish.