Revealed: Expansion of Wye to be dumped from development framework, concordat to be rewritten

The oblique reference to the expansion of Imperial College’s campus in Wye is to be dumped from the Local Development Framework and the concordats signed with Kent and Ashford councils last year are to be scrapped, has learned.

A senior source within county hall has told us that — in response to the threat of legal action by the Wye Future Group — the statement on the future of Imperial’s presence in Wye and the cryptic references to keeping the ‘world-class institution’ and ‘related research and business opportunities’ are to be deleted from the LDF core strategy options drawn up in the summer of last year. The source told us that Ashford council is ‘running scared’ and that Imperial College had ‘gone ballistic’ and had, at one point in recent discussions, threatened the two authorities with legal action.

The revelation coincides with the release of a document by KCC which shows that both it and Ashford are still engaging in secret discussions with Imperial, despite repeated protestations to the contrary. The document — titled ‘record of a meeting held with Imperial College, KCC and Ashford BC on 3 March 2006’ — shows that:

  • Imperial College is clearly censoring the release of documents held by Ashford and KCC under the Freedom of Information Act.
  • KCC and Ashford are trying to extricate themselves from ‘personal commitments’ made to Imperial’s plan in the original secret concordat. Now, according to the document, they ‘re-affirmed that they looked forward to the exploration of the Wye Park idea and to ensuring that it is handled in the planning process in the same transparent way as all other proposals’.

Pete Raine
Local man: Pete Raine

  • Pete Raine, KCC’s strategic planning director, is to chair a group that will ‘focus on the environmental issues raised by the Wye Park idea’. Mr Raine is an environmentalist turned local government official who lives in Stowting. Before joining KCC, he worked at the Centre for Alternative Technology and the Kent Trust for Nature Conservation. As well as earning a six-figure salary at County Hall, he is the director of a property company based near Rye and Locate in Kent — the business quango set up by KCC to attract inward investment to the county which also boasts David Brooks Wilson, the Jaguar XK-driving Director of Estates at Imperial College, among its directors.
  • Imperial College is to ‘provide a framework outlining the key stages and broad timetable proposed for the master-planning process as soon as possible’.

About David Hewson

Professional novelist, published in more than 20 languages. Creator of the Nic Costa series set in modern Rome, Pieter Vos in Amsterdam, adaptions of the Sarah Lund stories in Copenhagen, and versions of Shakespeare worked for Audible.
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5 Responses to Revealed: Expansion of Wye to be dumped from development framework, concordat to be rewritten

  1. J.Lo says:

    I have enjoyed commenting on the various subjects on this website and to sparring with one Ian Cooling. Unfortunately, that is to be no more as far away places are calling, but my very best wishes go to save-wye and WFG in their struggles with Imperial, KCC ABC and those gentlemen who have sold Wye down the river.

  2. Cliff Whitbourn says:

    Hmm. I think it a little early to start trusting County Hall and those involved. Backsides are, quite rightly, squeaking and there can no let up of pressure.

    If you will forgive my simple mind, your article ref. WFG, The South East Plan and the protestations suggested, could well be a key. At least it is something individuals can do.

    ‘The politician is an acrobat: he keeps his balance by saying the opposite of what he does.’

  3. Rememorabilia says:

    So the hierachy is:

    1) Two Jags
    2) New Jag
    3) Bits of other people’s Jag

  4. Ian Cooling says:

    For JLo – please keep in touch from afar, surely that’s what the web is all about. And keep sparring, I need to be kept on my toes and although my MBA students have been keeping me more than busy of late with their assignments, I’ve two or three articles lined up for you “to mull over” in the next couple of weeks. It’s very important that these things are misunderstood properly.

    For Cliff – Nope, same as everyone else, a pint in each hand will do the job just fine.

  5. pete raine says:

    I notice I’m described above as the Director of a Property Development company based in Rye.

    Can I just explain please?

    Four years ago, my wife and I bought a holiday house in northern France with two friends. We’ll obviously want to pass it to our kids when the time comes, and French inheritance law is so complex that we set up a UK company to own the house, and we are the directors of that company.

    So it’s not exactly property development and it certainly doesn’t make a profit!

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