Save Wye's heritage from the housing developers

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After five centuries as an integral part of village life, the historic buildings of Wye College are in imminent danger of being converted into an exclusive housing development. These historic buildings, positioned at the very heart of Wye (Ashford, Kent), will be divided up and closed. The atmosphere and vitality created by the College and its role in the village will be lost.

Wye is unique. It has grown around a central college campus and is one of few examples of the “university village” in the UK. The oldest buildings date back to the 15th century and are Grade 1 listed. They are nationally recognised to be of historic importance and architectural significance. Once converted these remarkable buildings will lose their character and will only be used by private residents.

Despite multiple objections and concerns, Ashford Borough Council have granted Listed Building Consent for the conversion of the college into 28 flats and 13 houses, chopping up extraordinary historic spaces and closing off gardens and courtyards.

This is a travesty. The local community and college alumni are being treated with contempt. It is understood that there is a requirement for housing and there is little objection to the development of other parts of the site. However, it is outrageous to think that the benefits of a handful of residential dwellings in the historic buildings can outweigh the significance of Wye’s heritage.

We believe that these much-loved historic buildings must be regenerated to support the legacy of Wye College. We propose to renovate the Grade 1 listed buildings as a viable community asset, to include a heritage visitor centre, village archive, hireable events space, accommodation, and offices for local societies and businesses. This would reaffirm the role of the historic buildings as an integral part of village life, providing a focal point for community, employment and tourism.

Please help the Wye College Regeneration Group in their mission to overturn this decision and to transfer ownership of the Grade 1 listed buildings to the community.