Once again, please forgive the lack of images of our shared fields and woodlands on this occasion – when time is of the essence!
This Blog provides a very brief update, but is primarily a vehicle to provide resources and information for anyone still finalising their feedback for the ongoing Masterplan stage 2 consultation process. The deadline for your email submissions has been set at Friday 26th October. Please send to firstname.lastname@example.org .
Please see the previous Blog for a detailed discussion of what was learned from the first Stage 2 consultation event (at Westgate Hall). What has happened since? The subsequent 3 consultation events followed the same formula, finishing with the Darwin conference suite event on thursday. All exposed the same combination of incoherence and opacity, missing information, and raised broadly the same issues as the first event.
Sadly, despite repeated requests, at the 4 face to face events, that the ‘expert reports’ regarding the grounds for the conferencing/hotel decisions should be made available for discussion and debate, these materials continue to be withheld. What is at stake here, but shrouded in mystery, is (a) the justification for the case for a hotel on this campus; (b) the out-of-the-blue claim that the facility should be run for financial gain (profit maximisation) in line with the preferences of ‘corporate interests’, rather than integrated in a supportive way into the University’s education and research infrastructure; and (c) the evidence for and against situating any such development specifically on Chaucer Fields/the Southern Slopes, rather than elsewhere ( Of course, as soon as these materials are made available, they will be uploaded to this website.)
Furthermore the University authorities’ Masterplan website has been in a state of confused flux during the consultation period. For example, a key document was initially posted, withdrawn and then re-posted in revised form without explanation; more generally, information has been added and modified, again, without any account being given of the grounds for such apparently ad hoc actions. This classic ‘moving goalposts’ scenario – well known to be associated with poorly designed, lightweight consultation exercises disconnected from the communities they are meant to serve – is, sadly, a familiar scenario, in line with previous ‘consultation’ efforts evident since 2011 in relation to Chaucer Fields and the Southern Slopes.
Official Masterplan documents
This shambolic pattern is frustrating, but it is therefore especially important that you visit the site as it is now, rather than rely on your memory of earlier versions, in reflecting on how you want to express your feedback:
One of the important documents added late is here:
Framework Materplan exhibitionversion20oct [large document]
The section of the Exhibition summary relating to chaucer fields/the southern slopes has been pulled out here, for your convenience:
university risep16of21 [single page]
Note that this shows that the proposals include not just the hotel south of University road, but large overground car parks in the immediate vicinity to the north and west. It also shows a structure identified as “Beverley Court” close to/south of Keynes bus stop (apparently unmarked in materials made available earlier in the process).
If possible, please do refer to other parts of the full “Exhibition summary” document in framing your feedback. In particular, if you look at p.8 of that- which refers to the results of the stage 1 feedback – you can see that the plans for “University Rise” directly contradict a number of the lessons which the University authorities claim they have been responsive to, in relation to: concentrating development at the centre of campus; ensuring the integrity of the green gap; the importance of good community relationships; and fostering green infrastructure and environmental sustainability. Reading the material in this context demonstrates how the proposal to sprawl south of University Road entirely undermines the intelligibility, coherence, and basic credibility of the Masterplan.
For a summary from CFPS, please see:
If you are looking for wider inspiration on how to express your feedback, you can draw on the reservoir of actual statements used by local residents, staff, students, and voluntary groups over the years – you could look at the following sources:
- Vox populi 1: consultation sentiments summarised in 2011/12 concerning the landscape/green gap values associated with the Southern Slopes can be found at consultationstatement2011-12extract
- Vox populi 2: a full inventory of sentiments expressed by individual consultees about the “Concept Masterplan” overall, in 2016/17, had to be collated and can be found at master-plan-consultation-appendix-05b
In the specific case of University Staff, you may find it useful to be reminded of the ucu motion approved by members feb 2012, supported by a huge majority of University and Colleges Union members in 2012. (Please note that the 6th point is no longer relevant, but the other points have all been significantly strengthened in the light of the evidence generated since, especially through the quasi-judicial village green public enquiry); and more recently, do read the fully confirmatory Staff report, staff-focus-group-sept-2017.
Finally, in the specific case of University Students, who have helped to energise the campaign at this crucial stage, please see: this CFPS Blog from the time of the 2012 campaign, with reference to the All Student Vote; and please note that the President of Kent Union, as part of the stage one Masterplan expert workshop in 2016/17, expressed commitment to the unspoilt Southern Slopes as part of the expert-spatial-vision-workshop-report-2017. You could also find the following template, proposed by students and precariously employed staff, useful: precarious@kentuni template
Please do submit your feedback over the next 6 days! All strength to your elbows!
All best wishes
Chaucer Fields Picnic Society
PS It has emerged that some of the links from the initial years of the campaign on the “Blogroll” were no longer working, including Concrete Lung/Richard Navarro, the Lantern Night and the KM report, and Hedgerow Havoc. These are now fixed or replaced: those have involved in these creative projects have been keen to support the continuing fight to protect our green heritage, so please do enjoy these ‘historic’ clips!