This is the full text of the statement released by Kent County Council in response to a request from save-wye.org.
Statement of Kent County Council’s involvement with Imperial College London in respect of Wye Park development proposals
1. On 5 August 2004, Imperial College London (ICL) issued a press release announcing the restructuring of the Life Sciences Faculty to be led by ICL’s newly appointed Deputy Rector, Sir Leszek Borysiewicz. The press statements indicated that the Campus in its current configuration was not economically viable. A separate review to consider future options for the Wye Campus was also announced (publicly released 20 January 2005).
2. Further to this press announcement a letter was sent to Sir Sandy Bruce-Lockhart inviting KCC to attend a meeting of the Wye College Agricola Club (WCAC) on 17 September 2004.
3. An emergency resolution agreed at the meeting was circulated by WCAC on 18 September 2004 to senior ICL staff, Kent Messenger and Kent & Sussex Courier.
4. Following ICL’s submissions to the Kent and Medway Structure Plan in November 2003, Nigel Buck, ICL’s Assistant Director of Estates, attended the Enquiry in Public for the Kent and Medway Structure Plan on 22 September 2004 when matter 7e (Identification and role of technology and knowledge clusters in Kent) was heard.
5. On 25 November 2004, Sir Sandy Bruce-Lockhart met with Sir Richard Sykes, Rector of Imperial College, London. Alex King and Mike Pitt also attended the meeting, at which it was agreed that a working group of senior officers from KCC and ICL should meet to discuss the future of ICL Wye Campus.
6. A follow up meeting was held on 11 January 2005 which was attended by KCC’s Mike Pitt and two KCC Officers, ICL’s David Brooks-Wilson and two senior ICL Officers. It was agreed that it was essential in future for ABC to be involved in these free and frank discussions.
7. Another meeting was held on 4 March 2005 to explore ICL’s proposals for the future of the Wye Campus with David Brooks-Wilson and two senior Officers from ICL, Pete Raine, Strategic Planning Director and one Officer from KCC and David Hill and one senior Officer from ABC. It was acknowledged that the proposal to create a world-class research facility could go abroad – the size of such an undertaking would attract serious levels of inward investment and would lead to a significant level of job creation. It was agreed KCC, ABC and ICL should adopt a joined-up approach in exploring the concept and that a tripartite concordat should be signed to this effect. ICL appointed Ernst &Young to lead investigations into potential infrastructure costs and funding opportunities and to suggest how the concordat should be worded.
8. A follow-up meeting between KCC, ABC and ICL on 13 April 2005 agreed the wording of the concordat and discussed the time-tabling of communicating ICL’s plans to a wider public. A concordat was signed by Sir Sandy Bruce-Lockhart (KCC), Paul Clokie (ABC) on 29 April and Sir Richard Sykes (ICL) on 19 May 2005.
9. With the accession of Paul Carter as KCC Leader, meetings involving inter alia Paul Carter and Sir Richard Sykes took place on 4 November 2005 and another on 22 November 2005 to discuss the signing of a final tripartite Concordat at a public event on 6 December 2005. The second meeting was also attended by Graham Gibbens, KCC’s newly elected Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Supporting Independence and Chief Executive, Peter Gilroy.
10. On 9 January 2006, KCC, ABC and ICL Officers attended a Wye Public Meeting to discuss ICL’s proposals for the future of ICL at Wye. A report was produced by ICL following the meeting.
11. On 24 January 2006, KCC’s County Planning Officer, Leigh Herington, wrote to the Leader of ABC, Paul Clokie advising on the current status of the South East Plan sub-regional policy framework in relation to the ICL Wye Campus.
12. On 17 February 2006, KCC will respond to the South East England Development Agency’s consultation on its Regional Economic Strategy. A reference will be made in KCC’s response to the potential of a world-class scientific research centre at Wye.