Several years ago the recently deceased Bert Chittenden took delivery of a brand-new motorized mower. You will recollect that those were the days when Bert led the way in keeping his (several) allotments neat and tidy and, to boot, would mow both major and minor paths. But enough of reminiscing about the ‘good old days’, after all for some they were good and for others less so. Anyway Bert took delivery of his bright red motor on an evening just before the weekend. He awoke next morning to find that thieves had stolen his new machine. As we learned rural thefts of farm vehicles and machinery was a growing hazard for working in the countryside.
However, this tongue-in-cheek look at the issue as seen from the other side of the pond, raised a wry smile.
The local housing situation in Wye has been dire for a considerable time. In particular, it has meant that our children can no longer expect to live in the village; that would be too much to ask, wouldn’t it? Mobility is the essential characteristic of economic globalization – summed up by Norman Tebbit in his famous advice to job-hunters ‘get on yer bike’. When Jack Woodford was our Parish Councillor, he and his notebook were always seeking solutions for young and old with housing needs in the village. Of course, Imperial College and the subsequent developers will argue that this supports their case for building in places such as WYE 3 but, instead of saving the current housing stock which they have left to degrade, they propose new houses and flats that will be well beyond the pockets of our young people.
In Wye there are no restrictions placed on who may or may not purchase dwellings, that seems to be alright in the Channel Islands where incomers may only purchase a house after they have been resident for TEN YEARS living in rented accommodation. Similarly in St. Ives second-home ownership has become so contentious that any new homes that are built may only house local people. So far the second-home ownership is concerned, in Wye there are relatively few (though there have been more cases in the last decade) but we have an issue of vastly exaggerated house prices that puts even a modest home out of reach for children raised and wishing to live in the village.
So, in the ‘conversations’ about housing needs that are supposed to be generated by the recent Government White Paper we may ask will Wye be another victim of a minister who will over-rule a neighbourhood plan and a local parish council too timid to protect the interests of its own children?
Wye is fortunate to have seen of late an increase in the number of young families and particularly families with several children. However, we know that it is not cheap to purchase/rent in Wye and that most families today need two incomes to provide for those children. This item underscores that the position of many women in such situations are not as well protected in law as they should be.
New and expectant mothers who feel they are being forced out of their jobs may be given greater legal protection.