On Sunday there was to be a public consultation carried out by Taylor Wimpey on their plans for Wye 1 (no-one seems to know if this is actually happening. It may have been moved to the following weekend).
Then on Monday members of the parish council are meeting with officers from Ashford Council to discuss plans for Wye 3 (click here to see Neighbourhood Plan drafts for Wye 3). This will be followed in early October by a meeting between the parish council, Ashford Council and Imperial College – to discuss the same thing (and hopefully move towards some agreement).
What does this all mean?
The short answer is that 25 units are to be built on Wye 1; 15 units on Wye 2 (both figures from the draft Neighbourhood Plan; DHA planning are actually suggesting a higher figure – 25 units – on Wye 2); and something between 50 units (the village view) and 300 units (Imperial College’s view) on Wye 3.
The consultations on Wye 1 and Wye 2 are likely to focus not just on the numbers but also the designs put forward by the developers. The meeting with Ashford Council (and subsequently with Imperial College) is likely to focus on the numbers of houses permitted on Wye 3.
So numbers is one thing. Design is another. Yet the two are perhaps linked: if the designs were innovative and somehow enhanced the village as a special, unique place, might we be happier with the concept of future development?
Recently I’ve made a video about self build with the director of the Wye Community Farm Jae Mather. You may recognise some of the houses from the Channel 4 programme Grand Designs.
Self build needn’t always involve spectacular structures. On holiday in France, I stayed in a village in Brittany where there were large numbers of self builds – many of them following templates provided by architects but all of them unique, enhanced by the requests of their owners.
As Jae says in the film, developers are all about producing housing at minimal cost. The effect is to produce clone towns. Should we not, therefore, be keeping out the developers and insisting on self build here in Wye?