Paul Webster, a resident of Little Chequers, in an open letter to the Parish Council chairman, John Hodder, argues that there is scope for some extension to the village and that a new road might bring some relief to the choked streets of Wye
Having been away for a week, I missed your meeting last Saturday. But as a resident of Wye for the last 42 years and, having seen many changes during that period, I would like to respond to your request for comment.
My worry is that in the rather fevered debate over these plans, the rejectionist view overlooks what has happened to the village over the years and what is likely to happen in the absence of major development. We have lost jobs as the businesses have disappeared. We have lost services as the shops continue to disappear. Thus all of us depend more on using cars to get in and out of the place. We have traffic problems within the village and at the level crossing, not to mention the Kempes Corner crossroads which gets more dangerous by the year.
The community begins to consist largely of retirees, commuters and second-homers, without local shops and without local work. We end up as a ‘museum’ village – grumbling that we can’t get out of the village fast enough! This is not a recipe for a ‘vibrant and balanced’ community. Whatever may be said about Imperial’s plans, they do give us a way out of this trap. We need more people to support the shops and services and we need more jobs in the village to enable folk to work locally. A new road would ease the bottleneck at the bottom of the village. It would also provide an exit for those from neighbouring villages who increasingly use Wye as an exit to the A28
These are large and contentious issues. I was fortunate to come and work here many years ago. In retirement, I would like to see a vibrant, balanced and serviced community providing similar opportunities for the next generation. I would not like to see us end up as a museum village. So turning to your five bullet points, the trick will be to ensure that right amount of infrastructure is built into whatever transpires. I would agree with your first, second and fifth ones, but I disagree with your third and fourth points which refer to ‘the countryside’ and which would rule out anything but yet more infilling. There is a good deal of land on the College estate that can hardly be described as outstandingly natural or outstandingly beautiful and which could form the basis for a pleasant extension to the village.
With all good wishes for a calm and reasoned debate!