IMPERIAL COMMENDER

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAAt lunchtime I went along to the launch of the Wye3 Draft Masterplan at the Kempe Centre.

The following is my recollection of the key points:

  • the plan envisages 300 houses, mostly to the east of Occupation Road. Densities close to the village centre would be 40 houses per hectare, moving to 20 houses per hectare on the periphery of the site.
  • the College’s grade 2 listed buildings would be retained for educational use. (Most probably the Free School – but this is still subject to negotiation.)
  • the College’s grade 1 listed buildings would be divided between community and residential use.
  • the Kempe Centre may initially be used for temporary accommodation for the Free School but could eventually become a business hub.
  • substantial space has been reserved for agri-business to the west of Occupation Road.
  • care has been taken to establish green space and parking away from the village centre. There is positive talk about the need for sustainable design and power production.
  • the ADAS site will be returned to woodland.
  • the college’s sports centre and student union bar will be converted to residential.
  • Withersdane still seems to be a big question mark. Residential? Hotel? No-one seems quite sure yet.

In general I thought that the proposals were a good starting point. The consultants have clearly listened to opinion in the village. This in no way resembles the proposals of Wye Park – neither in content nor in style.

The stumbling block will of course be the number of houses. 300 is far too many – as agreed by the community in the Neighbourhood Plan workshops and as previously indicated in this blog for these reasons:

  • the size of the primary school. I dispute the assertions made at the presentation regarding the number of houses that can be built in Wye to fill the school up with village children. To read about the capacity of Wye Primary click here. To read the response from KCC about what this means in terms of development, click here.
  • the level-crossing. Returning home from the presentation at 3.30 in the afternoon, I came across a queue of traffic stretching all the way up Bridge Street: a reminder that, at certain times of day, the village really is full to capacity already without any new development. To read my previous post on  level crossing constraints, click here.

There will be another presentation of the plans tomorrow (Saturday morning) at 9.30 am – and an exhibition running throughout the day. I’m sure the plans will also soon appear on the Wye3 website.

It is now very important for us all to say what we think.

(Thanks to Delia Copland for the use of her picture – clearer than mine!)

About jasperbouverie

I am Jasper Bouverie. I have two blogs: jasperbouverie.com which is about promoting sustainability in the village of Wye in Kent (and beyond); and FunderFilms.com which I will fill with short films dedicated to promoting social and environmental awareness and change. Find me on Twitter: funderfilms and finelinej
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