Clokie: Has Imperial been duping us?

Ashford Borough Council’s leader, Paul Clokie, has said that the credibility of the Wye concordats has been undermined because Imperial College’s plans — as revealed on — are far more extensive than has ever been discussed with councillors or officers. He is now demanding urgent discussions with the college because, he says, the concordats’ ‘worth and credibility’ have been seriously undermined.

In a sensational development, Cllr Clokie — who signed both concordats last year and was, until now, one of Imperial College’s leading cheerleaders — says that he wants to place on record ‘that it was never my intention in signing the concordats with Kent County Council and Imperial to support the working up of proposals on this scale, or of proposals which incorporate large scale residential enabling development on greenfield AONB land’. In an amazing attack on Imperial, he adds that he is ‘most concerned that the intention of the concordats has been widely misunderstood and misinterpreted’.

Cllr Clokie’s sudden and totally unexpected defection to the white team comes in the wake of last night’s decision by the local development framework task group to dump reference to Imperial College’s plan from the core strategy. Coming so soon after that decision, Cllr Clokie’s astonishing criticism of the college is a staggering blow for the college at the end of what has been an appalling summer for supporters of Wye Park. It now opens the way for the ruling Conservative group on the council to actively oppose Imperial’s plans as they now stand.

It is now clear that not only has Imperial been attempting to dupe all of us over the scale and real motivation behind its plans — namely to acquire ‘a £100million endowment by unlocking land with residential planning consent’ — but it has also deceived its so-called partners in the concordat process, Kent County Council and Ashford council as well.’s publication last month of the complete June 12 management board presentation by Imperial College appears to have blown the entire process wide open and wrecked Imperial’s cunning plan to have its development incorporated in every local and regional planning framework before making its real intentions clear. Amazingly, the college is still attempting to brazen it out by refusing to comment on the revelations.

Cllr Clokie’s full statement reads: ‘I am aware that the Council’s Local Development Framework Task Group decided yesterday evening to recommend that the Local Development Core Strategy should not contain a policy relating to Imperial College at Wye.

‘For my own part, I have become increasingly anxious about the emergence and publication by third parties in recent weeks of what appears to be a master plan of Imperial College’s development proposals for Wye. I know it has caused considerable concern locally. It appears to envisage large scale residential development on a greenfield area of outstanding national beauty (AONB) land. This recent plan has not been the subject of discussion or consultation with Council Officers, and the scale of development shown on the plan could not be justified in my view.

‘Whilst I continue in principle to support Imperial College in working up proposals for re-development of their brownfield land at the Wye campus, I want to place on record that it was never my intention in signing the Concordats with Kent County Council and Imperial to support the working up of proposals on this scale, or of proposals which incorporate large scale residential enabling development on greenfield AONB land. I am most concerned that the intention of the Concordats has been widely misunderstood and misinterpreted. I therefore, seriously question their worth and credibility and I intend to have urgent discussions with Imperial on this issue.’


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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8 Responses to Clokie: Has Imperial been duping us?

  1. Cliff Whitbourn says:

    I wonder if our local County Councilor will find his voice soon and echo these thoughts or will he continue his sabbatical from considered and responsible comment.

  2. Chaminda Jayanetti says:

    Hahaha! This is the most desperate attempt i have ever seen to distance oneself from the chaos of their creation. If Paul Clokie was naive enough to have been duped when an entire village could see through the spin, what kind of nonsense has he been fooled into believing in other areas of ABC’s work?

  3. David Hewson says:

    While it is always nice to see the scales fall from someone’s eyes I find it hard to forget all those statements boasting of 12500 new jobs. Where did he think they would come from? The co-op? Is our Mp up for a quote next?

  4. G.M. says:

    uhuh uhuh that’s the way uhuh uhuh God Planned It uhuh uhuh

    a U-turn here and a U-turn there, here a U-turn, there a U-turn, everywhere a U-Turn

    Bets on that we will now see the Conservatives claim that they were misled. They will switch sides, you know, elections are looming.

    Politicians believe that we (the electorate) have very short memories, so they can now pretend that they knew nothing and where misled by ICL and hope that we forget (before the next election) all their nasty words which caused the splits in the local community.

    Clokie first it seems, and of course Cooling has been trying to jump on the fair old wind for a few months now and the rest in the KCC and ABC Conservatives will follow soon for sure.

    The question for the electorate now is this :

    Should Clokie and Colloborators in office be let off the hook or should the campaign to force them from office be stepped up a gear now?

    Let’s remember some facts : whilst Clokie approved, and apparently still approves in priniciple, the ICL development his Planners turned down applications in Wye for smaller developments from a garage and granny flat at 47 Scotton Street to a small 5 acre housing development on the fringes of Wye. No ‘Approvals in Principle for the Local Community developments’ from Clokie or Cooling

    No, perhaps this time round the electorate should vote with their memories and make sure that the people who colloborated with ICL are not returned to office.

    By the way, I have only ever voted Conservative, but this lot have let us all down badly and their continued support for development on the AONB (see earlier statements by Clokie) should NOT be swept under the carpet and they should perhaps not be given the opportunity to cause more damage ‘In Secret’ in the future.

  5. John Morris says:

    “Chameleon Clokie” strikes again-but don’t drop your guards as chameleons are quite capable of looking more that one way at the time. Ref Cliff Whitbourns County Councillors statment it will probably be “uh rubbish”.

  6. Sarah says:

    vote green party!!!

  7. Ki the Black Labrador says:

    Young Clokie must be feeling glad that his dear Tenterden electorate are on the far side of the Borough and haven’t faced huge housing plans (or school closures)…..hmmm…funny that.

    Those councillors (Borough and County) closer to Wye will be hoping for collective amnesia.

    Save-Wye’s great work is probably not over yet….

  8. Jack Woodford says:

    …the ommision of the Wye project from the LDF Core Strategy, is an example of what can be achieved if local people come together to fight against perceived grandiose schemes by the ruling elites…political, academic, corporate business…it is a great shame that previous schemes that have effectively wrecked Ashford, were not opposed in their time by other residents of the Town and surroundings…. the same could be said up and down the Country.,the WFG, and our Parish Council, should be an example of what can be achieved, if people are prepared to ‘do something’, rather than just sit complaining, about the state of this and that. just so long as ‘collective amnesia’ does not set in now, between now and the next local elections, the electorate should remember that all this could happen again, in some other part of Ashford or here in Wye if we allow the same status quo to continue.

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