The meeting of parish councillors with Ashford Council’s Richard Alderton and Simon Cole last week highlighted the capacity of the primary school and a traffic survey as being potential defences against future development of the village.
With regard to the primary school, they were specifically referring to the numbers of houses that can be built in Wye before the primary school gets filled up with local children (as opposed to children from Ashford).
I have written about this issue before. The answer, according to David Adams (the area education officer at Kent County Council), is that 225 houses could be built in total before the existing primary school becomes filled to the brim with local children and Wye’s primary-aged pupils start having to take car, train and bus journeys elsewhere to go to school.
It appears that this calculation does not include Havillands which is still not completely sold, and whose children had not been admitted to Wye Primary at the time that the calculation was made. Havillands has 57 units. And, given that 45 houses have already been approved on Wye1 and Wye2, that leaves 123 houses for ‘elsewhere’ (not just Wye 3).
That at least is fairly clear.
There appear to a large number of variables:
- the growth of Wye Free School. While the effect on traffic has so far been minor, the school will grow from this year’s 90 pupils to about 650 in eight years time. How will a traffic consultant be able to project the number that will arrive and leave by car?
- while Wye School is likely to move into the college’s Edwardian buildings, the future use of the Kempe Centre and the college’s Grade 1 listed buildings are thus far unconfirmed. Will they generate traffic or not? Who knows?!
- there are many other existing college buildings in the village which are empty. What would be the effect on traffic if they were full?
- Havillands is still not fully occupied and 45 houses will soon be constructed on Wye 1 and Wye 2. What effect will these houses have on traffic flow when residents are in place?
- there are moves to further restrict parking in the village with more double yellow lines. Where would the displaced cars go and what effect would this have on traffic flow?
- junction 10A on the M20 looks set to be built in the next few years. This is likely to generate some traffic to and from Canterbury through Wye.
- Network Rail may try to change the level crossing gates from manual to automatic over the next few years but will the village accept the change? Either way, the outcome would have implications for traffic flow.
The only sensible response is to set out to resolve these unknowns prior to agreeing to any future development at all.
To this end, perhaps the village should encourage Imperial College to work on their own existing village buildings (the building adjoining Wolfson Hall for example, and the flats at Wolfson House..) to ensure that they are fully let – instead of busying themselves with Wye 3.
Then at least one of the above variables would be crossed off the list.