Ashford council has defended itself following save-wye’s exclusive revelation that Imperial College’s planning consultants wrote sections of the core strategy on Wye in the Local Development Framework (a story you can read here).
On Friday we revealed how Hugh Bullock from Gerald Eve had given Ashford’s head of planning, Richard Alderton, a marked up copy of the Wye core strategy at a meeting in April. The copy contained amendments, some of which have been incorporated into the latest draft. But in a statement to save-wye, chief executive David Hill says that the council has maintained control of the core strategy at all times and is committed to consultation with all ‘stakeholders’.
Mr Hill said: ‘Ashford Borough Council has taken a highly consultative approach throughout the preparation of the Greater Ashford Development Framework and the more formal Core Strategy. It is committed to continuing dialogue with all interested parties, including local interest groups, Parish Councils, developers, agents and other public service agencies.
‘The Council is currently considering whether it would be in everyone’s interest to incorporate a reference in the Council’s Local Development Framework Core Strategy to the possibility of development at Wye. That would give Imperial College clear guidance on what may or may not be acceptable as it works up its proposals. It would also provide reassurance to the local community that any planning application for development at Wye will be tested against a full range of relevant criteria.
‘A whole range of stakeholders have been consulted about the draft wording of this part of the core strategy, including the local Parish Councils, other interest groups, partner organizations and representatives of Imperial College. This is consistent with our general commitment to wide consultation. However, the Council retains complete control over the draft and just because the Council listens to all sides certainly does not mean that we necessarily agree with any proposals they make.
‘Officers will recommend a balanced draft to the Council’s Executive Committee in September or October and members of the Council will have the ultimate say on what goes into the Core Strategy.’