Dear University Challenged,
Kent University have launched its masterplan for the agricultural land it owns at Blean on Tyler Hill Rd and although two exhibitions were held at the Blean village hall very little attempt was made to publicise them, the local newspaper was given the wrong date to publish so attendance was very low and none of the residents of Blean and Tyler Hill ever received the leaflet that KU sent to other areas less affected by the plan. The few who did attend on the 12 August were horrified not only by the plan but that the date to comment on finishes on the 21st sept.
KU say it was a mistake by its leafleting contractor but that still has not been rectified, I offered to do the leafleting my self if they provided the leaflets but this was rejected.
They now say they will provide a box of leaflets at the Tylers Kiln pub for people to collect themselves, but that can hardly be considered an alternative to doing a proper mail shot.
Public awareness signs erected by a local action group showing the Masterplan proposals were very promptly removed by Serco at the request of KU, even though they were only stating what the university’s plans were. Do Kent University not want their proposals known to those who it will most affect? Anyway they were retrieved from the Serco yard before going to the crusher and are back in place with much support from local residents .
The plan shows 3 sites as park and rides and 6 business parks along with a cricket ground of enormous proportions next to Blean church that no doubt would be used as an events venue. The numerous warehouse sized buildings on these sites measure up to 80 mtrs long x 18 mtrs wide and are described as pavilion style high tech start up business clusters so why are they that big.
Other areas shown on the plan would be designated as development land to be sold to pay for the first phases.
The old Salt Way currently being used as a cycle route would become a road for vehicle access to Tyler Hill Rd and a new cycle route would be created from the abandoned Crab & Winkle line.
For the residents of Blean this means that their rural village will become little more than a car park for the staff and students during the week and a venue for sports events or pop concerts at the weekends.
Reassuring comments made by KUs corporate communications dept include “Oh nothing will happen for 50 years” well I ask myself why plan for it now then.
The only thing that can be guaranteed to be needed in 50 years time is agricultural land to grow crops on everything else is just guesswork.
Kent University at the very least have been very clumsy in publishing a concept plan that can easily be faulted by anyone studying it for more than a few minutes and in the process have blighted all the properties along Tyler Hill Rd.
If they really need to expand their facilities to this extent then it should be in close proximity to the existing campus.
South east Kent is one of the most densely populated areas of the country and open space is a vital amenity for people,wildlife and agriculture.
This whole process has been a series of arrogant blunders by an organisation that likes portrays itself as being beyond criticism and infallible because it has the status of a university.
This plan should never have got beyond the stage of an architects imagination running riot.