Would the real Sir Les please try and stand up?

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A Resident writes…

Only one of the distinguished knights of the realm above seems to have the ability to organise a drinks party in a brewery. Five months on from the Concordat bombshell and the Imperial vision is still an ongoing communications and PR disaster. Even Damian Green MP said on Friday that he was ‘as confused as everyone else’ about Imperial’s plans.

He told a packed CPRE meeting that he did not know whether ‘the land take was 300 or 500 acres of AONB’. He added that ‘nobody knows, but it was clear that the biggest part of [Imperial’s proposed] land take was for new houses’. If Imperial had a tight budget we would expect them to cut corners in their dealings with local people. Imperial’s problem is not a lack of money. The problem from the outset has been their arrogance.

Imperial is keeping the scale and complexity of its vision as obscure as ever, but worryingly they seem incapable of getting even get the simplest of things right. How many of us have been waiting months for a reply to our letters? Then there is Imperial’s selective delivery of flyers, its broken down computer in the drop in centre, its ambiguous questionnaire, its unbriefed masterplanners, its refusal to talk to the AONB Unit and so on. If Imperial’s objective is to scare and irritate as many people as possible their campaign is a big success.

When Wye parish council met Sir Lez (Borysiewicz, not Patterson) in April they wanted to know why Sebastian Handley of Tamesis had failed to produce any minutes of the March meeting. Sir Lez gave his PR consultant a dressing down and promised the minutes of the April meeting in three days. In fact it took Mr Handley nearly five weeks to deliver on that promise and then only after the parish clerk had spent a weekend making scores of corrections.

Last week the Consultation Panel met a third time and parish council chairman John Hodder spelt out Mr Handley’s failures and all the difficulties he was causing the council. Sir Lez again promised the minutes by Friday 12 May and once again, Mr Handley has failed to produce the minutes. Is there a pattern here? Most people would be embarrassed, sacked or both if responsible for this fiasco, but nothing seems to bother Mr Handley or Sir Lez. Any standard of unprofessional behaviour will do so long as Imperial can claim to have gone through the motions of consulting people and ticked its boxes.

Today the vicar of Wye Rev John Richardson led the Village Sunday service. He appealed for calm, reflection and dialogue between college and community. But the reality is not so easy for those trying to sweat facts out of Imperial.

Time is running out Sir Lez if you are to report to Imperial’s Council in July on the prospects for its world class vision. You made a bad first impression in January, and these continuing insults to our intelligence are only entrenching the community against you.

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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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2 Responses to Would the real Sir Les please try and stand up?

  1. Kerry Bethel says:

    Damian Green may be uncertain as to the acreage of Imperials housing aspirations but what he is certain of is his resolute determination not to say whether he supports or opposes the principle of building on AONB land around Wye.

    As many are aware I have tried on a number of occasions to drag this out of him only to be met with non-answers to an extremely staightforward and easy question and I regret to say towards the end of my efforts was responded to with some hostility/annoyance.

    I would be interested if the Guest Contributor would let us know if Mr Green descended from the fence at the CPRE meeting?

  2. I would like to correct a factual inaccuracy in the above story.

    Draft minutes from the Consultation Panel meeting were issued for comment to the Parish Clerk, Cllr Cooling and Cllr Findlay on the 12th May as agreed at the meeting.

    Sebastian Hanley

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