Withersdane Hall, Wye approved for a return to educational use
The Parish Council welcomes in principle the return of tertiary education to Wye. After a gap of well over ten years Ashford Borough Council has approved three planning applications to permit a return to educational use at Withersdane Hall. Parish councillors have already had a friendly and productive site meeting with directors and senior representatives of the new Italian owner and developer, the Universita degli studi Niccolo Cusano.
However, the issues of traffic, drainage and flooding present real challenges for the village, and the Withersdane applications must be taken in context with other potential developments in Wye. It is not yet clear how much extra traffic will be generated, as the Parish Council understands from the meeting last month with the directors that their education plans are still in development. Any extra traffic must be deducted from the total sum of extra traffic deemed to be acceptable for Wye's narrow medieval roads. This is still in dispute in the absence of an agreed Masterplan for the rest of WYE3.
Further, the increased volume of waste water from upgraded bathroom and kitchen facilities for the 250 students will impact on the already overloaded main sewer which runs down Bridge Street. Last year, when Withersdane Hall was completely unoccupied, untreated sewage surcharged from manholes at the junction of Bridge Street and Churchfield Way. The heavily contaminated water flooded the roads and pavements, with much of it entering people's homes and the river.
It is for these technical reasons that the PC was forced to object to the application, to encourage further clarity from the developers, and an acknowledgement from Ashford Borough Council that the conditions of any approval must set the Withersdane application firmly in their context with other future development and the traffic and drainage constraints in Wye. The Parish Council has asked for another meeting with the developers to continue this discussion.
The reference numbers for the three planning applications to allow educational use are 19/00909/AS, 19/00910/AS and 19/00911/AS.
Posted: Fri, 17 Jan 2020 23:59 by Parish Admin