‘Smoking gun’ suggests ICL plans existed year ago

A LETTER sent by the chief executive of Kent County Council to Imperial College more than a year ago suggests the existence of plans showing the size of and footprint of buildings being considered for Wye.

The document — released to save-wye.org by KCC under the Freedom of Information Act — is a letter from Michael Pitt, the former chief executive of the county council to Imperial’s director of estates, David Brooks-Wilson.

Despite respite repeated denials by Imperial, KCC and Ashford Borough Council, the document suggests that some sort of plan showing the mix of buildings and their sizes was in existence 12 months ago. Today, all three institutions continue to say that no plans exist. This week, the Imperial’s deputy rector, Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, told Wye Parish Council that the project was still at the feasibility stage and that planning consultants would be deciding in May whether the project is even viable. He again said that no plans existed.

Mr Pitt’s letter, written on February 21 last year, is a follow-up to a secret meeting held with Mr Brooks Wilson earlier that month. The parties were due to meet again on March 4 and Mr Pitt was writing to warn that, unless KCC was given more details of Imperial’s proposals, ‘there is a risk that our next meeting will not take us very much further than the last!’ A little over a month later, KCC and Ashford were enthusiastically signing the first, secret ‘concordat’ committing themselves to bringing Imperial’s science park to Wye.

Mr Pitt’s letter says that ‘we are all very keen to make progress but we must have more details of Imperial’s proposals so that they can be evaluated.

‘In particular, we need to understand the mix of use that might be proposed, in broad terms, the nature of the buildings, footprint, height of elevations etc. Critical factors such as the density, and the relationship between the principal development and residential elements with Phase 1 and beyond also need to be addressed before the impact upon the AONB can be assessed’.

Read Mr Pitt’s letter here

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About David Hewson

Professional novelist, published in more than 20 languages. Creator of the Nic Costa series set in modern Rome. Most recent book the novel of the Danish TV series, The Killing.
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