by James Scott
Despite strong opposition plans for derelict chicken sheds in Wye to be converted into workshops and offices have been given the green light.
Imperial College university’s application to turn the Sidelands farm buildings in Top Road, formerly Wye College’s poultry research centre, into light industrial units received comments from nearly 30 objectors.
They included Wye with Hinxhill Parish Council, the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) and the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) unit.
Their main concerns were that the sheds are unfit for re-use, development would increase traffic and the site’s sensitive location near to the Wye Crown within an ANOB.
It was also highlighted that there was no need for more industrial units in the village.
Speaking at the planning meeting discussing the proposal on Wednesday, parish council chairman Daniel de Saxe said: “The buildings cannot be described as suitable or of good construct.
“Look at the buildings’ rotten wood with plants growing through the walls. Imagine working in those conditions.”
Tory councillor for Godinton Bernard Hayes supported the Wye villagers’ concerns.
He said: “It’s probably the closest area of natural beauty to urban Ashford.
“We should respect the views of the people who live there. This is a very precious area of Ashford.”
However fellow Tory Cllr Michael Burgess (Isle of Oxney) felt the impact of the refurbishment would be minimal.
He said: “The buildings are going to be refurbished not rebuilt so they won’t be any more obvious in the landscape.
“If it isn’t developed it will become even more derelict and will look even worse in the AONB.”
The councillors voted seven to six in favour of the plans being granted permission on the conditions that no external lighting is installed, noise and traffic is kept to a minimum and three of the derelict sheds are demolished.