The group set up by Kent County Council’s strategic planning director, Pete Raine, to look at the impact Imperial’s Wye Park would have on the environment is struggling to get off the ground before it has even met.
Originally, Mr Raine — who proposed the group at a secret meeting held in March between KCC, Imperial College and Ashford Borough Council — had offered to chair it. But his offer was rebuffed when English Nature and Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty — the organisation funded by KCC and the Countryside Agency to protect the very AONB that Imperial plans to build thousands of homes on — said that given his publicly-professed enthusiasm, he would not constitute an independent chairman. The group counts Diana Pound, the expert in stakeholder dialogue working on behalf of the Wye Future Group, as one of its members.
Now Mr Raine has suggested that Bryn Green, former senior lecturer at Wye College until 1987 and former vice president of the Kent Wildlife Trust, as chairman. Prof Green, 65, who lives at St Margaret’s Bay, near Dover, was awarded the OBE in 1995. He has written several scientific books about nature conservancy and the threat to fragile landscapes.