Get the full Wye story now – and help save Kent

David Hewson writes… It’s more than a year now since Saved, my real-life account of the successful battle to prevent a huge housing complex swallowing the little Kent village of Wye, appeared. You can still buy the book in the village and online. But there’s a fresh outlet too.

For those of you too far away to get a book – or if you’d simply like to know what all the fuss is about you can now find the entire book available as a 99p (or equivalent) ebook on Kindle, for use on an ereader or Kindle app.

UK readers should go here.

US readers should go here.

Readers wanting to buy in euros should go here.

This site is an archive of the original now kindly hosted by WordPress for free. It documents the entire Wye campaign from its inception at the end of 2005 to the glorious victory over Imperial College’s development plans, and some of the aftermath. We hope you find it useful.

Read this document on Scribd: Saved by David Hewson

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Wye votes for a new future… with a landslide

Wye Park has claimed its latest casualty in the stunning defeat of sitting Conservative councillor Ian Cooling by the Independent Jack Woodford in the latest borough elections. Mr Woodford overturned a massive Tory majority to become the village’s first Independent councillor in recent memory. His campaign was fought on many fronts, but last year’s failed development by Imperial College, which he had vocally and consistently opposed as a parish councillor, was never far from its heart.

The final result of the 2007 election is…

Jack Woodford (Ind) 589
Ian Cooling (Con) 276
David Berrie (Lib Dem) 40

To put it in votes Paul Clokie might understand…in 2003 Councillor Cooling was elected with a majority of more than two hundred, polling 470 votes against 252 for the Green Party’s Steve Dawe and 57 for the Lib Dem candidate. This year he suffered a rout.

And with that save-wye’s job really is over. We wish the village’s new borough councillor and his predecessor well, and hope the ruling Conservative clique will finally ask themselves why they have been deserted in droves by the people of Wye, many of whom were once their natural supporters.

Happily, Peter Davison, the leader of the Independents on Ashford Council, retained his seat too, though narrowly. Nor is Wye the only area in Kent to have made inroads by fighting on a local campaign outside the realm of conventional big party politics. There was also a very interesting, and in some ways more astonishing, result in Sheppey.

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And this really is the end for save-wye…

With the release of Saved, the book of the glorious Wye campaign, our job here is finally done. There will be no more articles — and this time we mean it. Our thanks go out to all of you who’ve helped, particularly the many who had to do so anonymously. It was a fine victory, and one we trust will give hope to others in similar situations, in both urban and rural locations.

For those of you who want a flavour of the book, you will find some comments on it from a few well-known figures below, and at the foot of this article the entire foreword by Roy Greenslade, the leading media commentator and Professor of Journalism at City University, London, whose concise, frank summary of this story is an admirable starting point for anyone new to the Wye saga.

Copies of the book can also be ordered online here. Thank you all… and now goodnight.

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Councillor Cooling gets it wrong again

We have been asked to point out a serious error in the election literature for Wye which has, say college insiders, caused great anxiety to students in the village. In his latest election leaflet Councillor Ian Cooling states, ‘The students studying the Applied Business degree who graduate this year, will be the last to be awarded a London University/Imperial College degree. Future degrees will be awarded by the UoK (University of Kent).’

This is entirely wrong. According to an insider within Wye College, ‘the statement will cause great anxiety to our own students; they do speak to the locals and hear all the rumours. We have had to spend a lot of time and energy assuring them that they (and their education) are protected from all the disruption caused by Imperial’s actions’.

The true situation is that all students currently studying at Wye will receive London University/Imperial College degrees whenever they graduate. Some are working on four-year degree courses which will not finish until 2010. They will not receive UoK degrees. Only students who start to study in Wye from next September will be given UoK degrees when they complete their studies.

Wye College staff are particularly puzzled by the mistake given that Councillor Cooling boasts in the same election leaflet that he is a member of the Court of the University of Kent and ‘I shall be keeping a close eye on all this’.

Note to readers: while we will welcome comments on save-wye for the next few days we still do not allow anonymous ones or those using false names. Please — real names only.

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Ian Cooling and Imperial College: some facts


Ian Cooling’s claim in his election leaflet

We hadn’t planned to run anything about the Wye election here. This website has never set out to tell anyone how to think let alone vote. All we have tried to do is bring you some truths, often ones which those who supported Imperial College in its effort to destroy the community of Wye last year have fought hard to keep hidden.

However, the statements made by the sitting Wye borough councillor Ian Cooling in his efforts to get re-elected are at such variance with what we believe to be the reality of events it would be remiss of us not to remind you of a few salient and proven facts. Not our facts, but those of the losing parties in last year’s campaign, in their own words.

Councillor Cooling says, in his election literature, that he fought against Wye Park and in the end, ‘My lobbying was successful and the plan was dropped.’ This is news indeed to those of us on the front line last year. Here, from official reports and documents, some gained through lengthy Freedom of Information procedures, others leaked from inside Wye Park, are some things you may wish to raise with Ian Cooling should he turn up on your doorstep.

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The principal players – where are they now?

The lives and careers of some of those involved in the Wye Park saga have changed somewhat recently, in ways that happened too late to be included in the first edition of the book. Here is where things stand now with some of the key characters…

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The book, the website and the last word

Early January and an iron-cold easterly has given way to the wet warmth of a south-westerly. The post-Christmas week’s heavy dump of snow is all gone save for the odd grey patch piled up in farm gateways, thawing rapidly and leaving a smudged reminder of the beauty of a real Kentish winter.

It has been nearly a month since the concordat. Cash-strapped and struggling to keep warm in a ramshackle cottage in Hastingleigh, the enormity of Imperial’s vision has passed me by. Beth — my wife — and I left Wye for the hills the previous August. Since then, we have been plagued by terrible family illness. It feels like our lives are only just back on the fairway.

Neither of us intends to look back. Continue reading

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