Ashford Borough Council has confirmed the disclosures made by save-wye.org about the protracted and secret discussions that preceded last December’s shock announcement of the Wye Park project with Imperial College.
In a statement to Kent on Sunday, the only Kent newspaper which has so far had the guts and the gumption to follow up our exclusive revelations, ABC chief executive David Hill says, ‘We believe the report’s chronology is broadly correct. We have been discussing with Imperial College the prospect of significant investment in a research park at Wye and it has always been our ambition to work with them to secure and continue academic work at Wye.
‘But in everything we have done we have stressed to them and have stressed publicly that it needs to be done through appropriate planning processes and the people of Wye need to be involved. The concordat launched a vision, not a plan.’
ABC stressed nothing publicly, of course, until December 6, seven months after signing the initial concordat, as we revealed earlier this week.
Imperial have also said they have no argument with the timetable in our report. In a response to KoS a spokesman said, ‘Regarding the KCC FoI response, the college confirms that where it is mentioned those points are accurate.’
A KCC press spokesman is quoted as saying, ‘As far as I am aware it was shortly before the announcement was made at Wye and I am not aware of anything going back further.’ We would suggest the KCC press office might care to have a clarifying word with the council’s own Freedom of Information unit which gave us the statement that formed the basis of our story. Or just take a look at our copy here; this is KCC’s version of events, not ours.
We’re grateful to KoS for crediting save-wye.org in its story and for its continued serious coverage of the Wye issue.
You can read the KoS article in full here Kent on Sunday, February 19, 2006.