This week’s article is all about design.

It’s an art which makes the best of how something looks by careful arrangement of features and choices of colour, size and shape.

The Government thinks design is important and is currently consulting on a National Design Guide for Britain’s buildings.

It’s all about making Britain ‘beautiful, enduring and successful’ again.

New planning policy recommends that streets in new estates are tree-lined, an excellent suggestion as trees bring shade.

They cool the air, they absorb sound, they reduce flooding, they are living and beautiful and green.

The design guide also suggests that buildings should aim to be passively heated by the sun and reach a high standard of construction.

With all this in mind, I tuned into the online planning inquiry for the massive Great Wolf indoor water resort and hotel complex set to change Chesterton village forever.

In his opening speech, the defending barrister said the building would have little visual effect on the surrounding area and that size and scale were just perceptions in the mind of the beholder. I must remember to tell my husband that!

So how big is this building designed to be? The architect hadn’t considered what other buildings in the area might be bigger but it turned out that only Blenheim Palace was larger. If you walked round the perimeter of the building, you would travel 1.2 kilometers.

With 498 bedrooms, the hotel had a potential occupancy of more than 3,000 people. How strange in these times of social distancing is the idea of mingling with that many people. You couldn’t design them away if you needed a bit of peace and quiet, nor the cars from the 902-bay car park.

Apart from Great Wolf there are other predators lined up to pounce on Cherwell District. The race to construct massive warehouses is on. What chance is there to design out the appearance and physical mass of these?

When plans for the buildings which now dwarf the Wyndham Hall care home were discussed, a councillor said he would approve them provided their design was ‘iconic’. How many residents in Wyndham Hall think their view, which once was of green fields and now is a wall of grey, is iconic?

It seems that planners are thinking big, but how do ordinary folk leading their lives in our district feel? Never mind, size is just a perception.