Does this signal ICL’s attitude to the planning process?

Wye College frontage

It’s 8ft tall and 3ft wide, made of shiny white plastic and helpfully directs visitors to Imperial College’s Wye campus to all points north, east, south and west. The new sign — which appeared early this week — also tells passers-by that they are at Imperial College London and is accompanied by a shiny notice about ‘accessible parking’. Perhaps more importantly, the sign has been put up without planning permission and could be a criminal offence under the Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas Act.

We’ve asked Imperial College for a comment on the sign and whether it intends to apply for retrospective permission as it is within the curtilage of a Grade I listed building, in a conservation area and clearly affects the aspect of the listed property. We’ve also asked the college why a legally-protected pleached lime tree behind the Old Rectory has been felled without permission when this, too, is within the conservation area and requires permission. Both of these matters could be criminal offences under the terms of the act.

Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz recently said that he had a ‘strong democratic preference’ and the village is constantly told that any development of the campus will be subject to the normal planning procedures. In the light of these assurances and these apparent breaches of planning laws, we have also asked Imperial for a full statement on its attitude towards the legal process. We will post its comments when — and if — it responds.


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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8 Responses to Does this signal ICL’s attitude to the planning process?

  1. Simon Webster says:

    Ugly and hugely inappropriate – a foretaste of the business park?

  2. James Gibson says:

    Im glad this thread has been put on the site. As i mentioned in response to another article, the signs get worse when walking around college!! its very sad.

  3. Ian Cooling says:

    I’m checking to see if ICL have planning permission for these signs. All are in the AONB, some are in the Wye Conservation Area and some are on listed buildings.

    Sooner or later ICL is going to run out of feet to shoot themselves in.

  4. David Hewson says:

    Thanks for that, Ian. However, if I can approve your comments and write articles from Rome can I please ask that those of you back in Kent kindly restart writing them too!

    Also, will someone please start a wood-fired pizza place in Wye. There ought to be room somewhere on college premises surely…

  5. Jo says:

    A quick check on for Ashford Borough Council’s planning applications/decisions in the last couple of years would suggest that no planning permission was sought by Imperial for these (though permission was obtained for other things on the campus).

  6. David Hewson says:

    I simply cannot believe an organisation of this nature refuses to respond to genuine accusations that it has erected things without planning permission. Does anyone at Imperial understand how much damage this is doing them?

  7. Ian Cooling says:

    Hi David, point from distant Rome well taken! Now I have re-engaged, I’ll tidy up at least one of my drafts and post it next week.

    Wood-fired anything would certainly be a goodie. Coincidentally, at yesterday’s Annual Parish Meeting, Nick Johannsen mentioned that one of the AONB unit’s projects is to manage certain areas of woodlands with the specific aim of harvesting fuel.

  8. Ian Cooling says:

    David, I’ve switched my contris on the saga of the signs to the string about five being taken down – less than half those that should be!

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