This smacks of desperation

At the May 23rd lunch held at County Hall, organised by KCC leader Paul Carter, Sir Richard Sykes, Imperial’s rector, was reported as deriding the opposition to Imperial’s aspirations.

He dubbed the Wye Future Group a vocal minority made up of ‘middle class nimbies’ who can safely be ignored and that save-wye, is in the main, riddled with inaccuracies and run by ’a couple of amateurs. As for the Parish Council this was ‘floundering around’ with no clear idea of what it is doing. This invective is a rather feeble attempt by Sir Richard to ‘spin ‘Imperial out of what in reality is exactly the opposite of these disingenuous remarks.

Wye Parish Council is our elected body and has gone about this matter in a responsible and appropriate manner, consulting with and keeping the village extremely well informed on its policy, its meetings with Imperial and giving all in the village the opportunity to freely express their views. The lead taken by WPC and its unpaid councillors has been conducted in an exemplary manner which cannot be said about the dismal communication performance put in by Imperial and its army of staff and professional advisors. We should all be pleased with the Parish Council’s performance so far.

At an early stage of the meetings with Imperial, the Parish Council set out its unequivocal 5 point position, the core unmovable proviso being that it could not accept any development of AONB land. However, it was made clear that the WPC welcomed the continuation of Imperial’s presence in Wye and would be happy to discuss the sensitive redevelopment of its existing brown field land.

To imply that the WPC is blundering around in the dark is an unconvincing try at undermining the credibility of our elected representatives which is both wildly erroneous and reprehensible. Middle class nimbies? Formed only 4 months or so ago WFG already has approaching 230 members and growing and has engendered widespread support throughout the village and beyond. It is not surprising that given the socio-economic profile of the village, its own membership profile contains a middle class (whatever that means) element. So what? Is Sir Richard saying that this sizeable proportion of the potentially affected village population should be ignored? The truth is of course, that Sir Richard seems to be intent on bad mouthing, ridiculing and hell-bent on silencing any person or group that speaks out against Imperial’s money making dreams.

On of the many obstacles for Imperial to overcome is the unanimity that exists in the village – WPC, WFG and almost all individuals are in complete agreement viz WELCOME REDEVELOPMENT OF EXISTING BROWN FIELD SITES BUT NO TO AONB DEVELOPMENT. Quite clear isn’t? But not what Sir Richard wants to hear hence his despairing ploy of pouring scorn on the views and democratic rights of the local populace. (You know us whom the college called ‘Dear Neighbour’ back in December!)

It seems that the first community workshop didn’t get the sort of comments Sir Richard demands and he has already started rubbishing the views expressed.

Finally to make an unwarranted attack on save-wye implying lack of professionalism and accuracy exposes just how much the Imperial cause has suffered as a consequence of the revelations so assiduously published without reward by David and Justin. We owe them a debt of gratitude.

‘YES BROWN FIELD, NO AONB’ is the linchpin belief that is almost universally held in the village and Sir Richard’s derogatory remarks illustrate just how much this has dowsed his pyrotechnic display.


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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2 Responses to This smacks of desperation

  1. Alan Paterson says:

    I’m sure I cannot be alone in wholeheasrtedly agreeing with everything Kerry has said above. Sorry if this brings nothing new to the debate, but sometimes you just think ‘wish I’d made time to write something like that…………’
    Stick at it everybody.
    Alan Paterson

  2. Justin Williams says:

    One of our most valued but unsung contributors has just submitted this comment:

    If anyone can make time right now to write something, there are a couple of hours left before 5 p.m. today to oppose EKA7 of the South East Plan and request the reference to the Wye Campus of Imperial College London to be removed from the policy. Please switch over to the article:

    It is very, very simple

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