They refused to comment on our story about the mire that the Wye Park project is in but Imperial College has at least tacitly confirmed it to Kent on Sunday. In an article in tomorrow’s paper, Imperial is asked to deny save-wye’s original article — Imperial prepares to scrap its Wye Park vision — and notably fails to do so.
But we are not, frankly, surprised. Because the story is 100 per cent true and we stand by it.
On Wednesday, we revealed that the Imperial management board put the project into cold storage on June 16 and that all the consultants — apart from masterplanners SOM — had been pulled off it meaning that no planning application could be made until 2008 until the earliest. We also exclusively revealed that an Imperial bid for BP’s proposed £275million biosciences institute was being considered but that the college was not making its Wye Park plan the centrepiece of the bid — something rather perverse if ICL is committed to the Wye project and is, as it keeps telling us, trying to find ways of funding it. Research into biofuels is, as Imperial also keeps parroting, the raison d’etre for Wye Park. Funny then that you wouldn’t put the Wye project at the heart of a bid to BP unless, that is, the petroleum giant had said that it would not risk its own project by being associated with a plan to build on virgin farmland.
When asked all these things by Kent on Sunday, a spokesman for Imperial — who, incidentally, failed to comment on our original story when invited to do so — said that the college was ‘prioritising work on the masterplan but could not complete this until Ashford council published its local development framework’. ‘Imperial has not yet made a decision on whether to proceed with a planning application, but remains committed to exploring the scientific vision for Wye.’ Again, hardly a denial of our story.
The spokesman then goes on to confirm discussions with BP and says that a proposal ‘would not be dependent on possible future development proposals for Imperial’s campus in Wye’.
For anybody confused about this, save-wye.org would like to take this opportunity to reassure readers that we stand by our original story and are 100 per cent confident in our sources.
And we would also like to reassure KCC officers, who, when asked by journalists about the veracity of our story, said that it was ‘speculation’ and ‘without foundation’ that we are only too happy to discuss with them and councillors why there is little point in wasting any more time and money on a project that is now unofficially dead and that we would be delighted to prove it to them.
You can read the Kent on Sunday article here.