Talks over Pfizer site break down
A LONDON property company that was set to buy the Pfizer site in Sandwich has ended talks without reaching an agreement.
London & Metropolitan led a consortium which entered into exclusive negotiations with the pharmaceutical giant over the sale of the site, rebranded Discovery Park last year.
The venture was backed by a major European institutional real estate investor but inability to agree commercial terms has ended the deal.
A Pfizer spokeswoman said: "The period of exclusivity between Pfizer and London & Metropolitan for the sale of Discovery Park ended with parties unfortunately unable to agree to commercial terms.
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"Pfizer remains focused on the sale of Discovery Park."
A spokesman for London & Metropolitan said: "'We are disappointed that we were unable to successfully conclude negotiations with Pfizer.
"However, London & Metropolitan hopes to play a role in the future regeneration of east Kent."
In February last year Pfizer announced its intention to close its Research and Development site in Sandwich by the end of this year. Since then the site has been awarded Enterprise Zone status and £20 million from the Government's Regional Growth Fund to encourage new businesses to set up there.
Pfizer has now committed to keeping some 800 jobs at Discovery Park, forming the "anchor business". It is hoped a science-focused park will emerge as a result of the tax-breaks offered by the Enterprise Zone status.
Thanet South MP Laura Sandys, whose constituency includes Sandwich, remained positive. She said: "I am sure there are other interested parties and we very much hope that there will be a buyer shortly."
Dover District Council leader Paul Watkins said the end of talks would not affect council work on a Local Development Order – outlining simplified planning processes for the land – and it would remain commercially viable for new businesses to move in.
He said: "It is disappointing that the commercial activities between the two parties could not be resolved at this stage, but Pfizer will still promote research and development and encourage investment, and it will still be marketed."