They wished to make it so absolutely clear that they said it twice.
We refer to the statement issued on 7 October by Spelthorne’s Leader and Chief Executive about Redrow and Kempton Park. In it, Councillor Watts said that he had first become aware of Redrow’s possible involvement with the proposed development of 1500 dwellings plus commercial units at Kempton Park in May this year. In fact, the release of the statement was delayed slightly so that he could be absolutely clear about the date he had read it, which he said was in an article in a weekly publication of the Institution of Civil Engineers.
Trouble was, no-one could find this article. Not us, nor the Institution of Civil Engineers, nor the Council itself. We tried looking for it in other building trade publications. Nothing there either. We discussed this whole saga of the Incredible Disappearing Article three weeks ago (https://keepkemptongreen.com/2014/10/24/the-incredible-disappearing-article/ ).
We gave the search one final effort. We asked Cratus Communications (the PR consultants to The Jockey Club for the Kempton Park proposal) the following:
“Has the potential involvement of Redrow in the proposed development of KP ever been the subject of a press release by either them or the Jockey Club? Has it otherwise ever been published in the building/construction trade press or journals?”
Cratus ought to know – they are paid to know – and their answer was as brief as it was rapid:
(See Document 79 attached.)
So, it wasn’t that the article had disappeared. It never existed in the first place. And just to make it even less absolutely clear, the statement was altered for the second time. The first revision was on 30 October, when some of the phrases were made slightly less formal. The meaning remained unchanged, however. And then, on 11 November the first paragraph was changed to delete any reference to the article published by the Institution of Civil Engineers. Councillor Watts merely “read about it”. (See Document 80 attached.)
Why are we going on about this, you might ask? Because it means that this information about Redrow and Kempton Park was never in the public domain in May. It was only put into the public domain by the men from A2Dominion at the meeting of the Overview & Scrutiny Committee on 8 July, and since then was published only by KKG, and referred to in two articles in the Surrey Herald.
So, if Councillor Watts didn’t get it from an article in the public domain, he must have got it from a private communication.
We do hope there has not been any communication between the Council and The Jockey Club regarding the plans for Kempton Park since earlier this year. Because the Council have said categorically that they have had no contact with The Jockey Club or its agents regarding Kempton Park since 20 February.
Far from being absolutely clear, then, this issue gets more opaque by the day. It’s currently as clear as mud, and getting thicker.
Recently released FOI documents confirm that a planning application is expected to be made by The Jockey Club after the general election in May 2015. At the same time we are likely to have to fight to ensure that swathes of Spelthorne’s open spaces are not released for development in the Review of our Local Plan. We will need funds to fight both.
Donations to the Keep Kempton Green Fighting Fund can now be made through PayPal. Just go to http://www.losra.org, scroll down a little, and click on the button marked “Donate to the Keep Kempton Green Fund”. You can also donate by cheque. Please make your cheque payable to LOSRA and send it to:
20 Green Street, Sunbury, TW16 6RN
As you would expect, the identity of all donors will be kept confidential.
Remember: Keep Kempton Green began as a campaign to protect Green Belt at Kempton Park. That campaign has now been forced to expand to protect Green Belt throughout Spelthorne, which is all at risk in a forthcoming review of our Local Plan, in which the Council appears to be planning the building of 8000 dwellings over the next twenty years. This threat is against the whole Borough. It has to be fought.
Visit us at http://www.keepkemptongreen.com, Like our Facebook page, and Follow us on Twitter (links to both on the website). Leave your comments at all three.
Kind regards, and thank you very much in advance for your generosity.
Keep Kempton Green