Forget about — in the words of Wye’s own borough councillor — all that doom and gloom you keep reading about here. Voltaire’s Dr Pangloss — a man who saw benefit in everything — clearly works in local government these days. What other explanation can there be for the extraordinary upbeat presentation given to a meeting of Kent County council’s environment and regeneration policy overview committee on April 21 last.
You can find a copy of the presentation, apparently from planning chief Pete Raine, below, and stirring stuff it is too. It promises the Wye Campus project is NOT (their capitals not mine)…
- A proposal which dispenses with the existing village heritage
- An industrial park with manufacturing units and warehouses
- A new high density ‘city’ supporting 12,000 jobs on-site (that April 1 thing of ours was a joke, folks.. OK?)
- A generator of through-traffic traversing the village
- A landscape ‘covered in concrete’
- A blight in the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
- A ‘sea’ of parking
Really? So what is it then? Ah, there’s the catch…
Well, you would expect someone making these far-reaching claims to know that. But, of course, There Is No Plan. So, er, all we get is what the campus project could be. And that is, among other things…
- A diverse and integrated community complementing the scale & character of Wye
- A model, environmentally aware and resource sufficient proposal which integrates with the tremendous landscape setting
- A proposal which complements the historic natural landscape
- A proposal which invigorates the local, regional and national economy
The trouble is, of course, all this is speculation. And if Wye Campus could be all the these things, it could equally well be an environmental disaster replete with horrible development no-one needs that probably won’t find buyers either. Whoever put this piece of PowerPoint together can’t have it both ways. Either you know what is being planned, in which case you can make these kinds of claims. Or you don’t — and everyone still says this is the case — in which case it is a lot of hot air.
Oh, and as a simple matter of fact I should point out that Countess Sondes has already stated here that her non-foods centre will not be involved in research — so where is that coming from and what will it be about please?
The report was ‘noted’ by the committee, though the chairman ‘advised members to consider any comments they made as members who may represent the electoral division of Wye and as members who may serve on the Planning Applications Committee’. Tune in later this week and we will decode that cryptic aside for you too.