Welcome to the Ford Community Homepage
Ford has seen a stable number of dwellings over the last thirty years. This is unsurprising since Wiltshire Council designates it as a small village and under current policy permits only infill development other than in certain exceptional circumstances.
We estimate that there are currently about 185 homes in Ford, about 5% of the currently estimated 3,900 homes in our parish, with a population around 475. As at the 2011 census 26.3% of the population were within the 60+ age group, 22.7% within the 17 and under age group. With the lack of local shops and other facilities and no regular bus service, it is unsurprising that 71.3% of households have 2 or more cars (compared to 46.6% for the parish and 32.1% for England).
A Brief History
Initially called Winterbourne Ford from around 1605, and technically a hamlet, there has been some evidence of occupation on the site of Ford since at least the 7th century AD. An Anglo-Saxon grave, which was unearthed just off Roman Road (which linked Old Sarum to Winchester), contained items of relative value which would suggest the male skeleton was a warrior and a man of some importance during his lifetime. Several centuries later, Thomas a Beckett was parish priest at the original church in Winterbourne Earls and it was said that he regularly walked across the fields at Ford to visit his erstwhile friend, Henry 11, when he was in residence at Clarendon Palace.
The Mill in lower Ford has been in operation for at least 200 years – a date stone on the right-hand gable shows 1783 and the beautiful wisteria growing around the entrance is almost as old too.
More recently, and of huge historic importance, is Old Sarum Airfield. The site was originally requisitioned by the War Office in 1917 for use by the Royal Flying Corps. Originally known as Ford Farm, named after the village, the airfield provided a base for flying and fighter training. After the First World War, its use was continued for training and development. During World War 2 OSAF was used for the establishment of Air Observation Posts and was actually attacked during the Battle of Britain but did not suffer significant damage. During the night of 11/12 May 1941 one hangar was burnt out in an air raid and two aircraft were destroyed. Thousands of ground personnel, and virtually all RAF motor transport vehicles, destined for Normandy, passed through the airfield making it an integral part of the organisational structure of the D Day Landings.
Running through the core of Ford is the landscape view from the ancient monument at Old Sarum which highlights the green strip between Bishopdown and Ford keeping the village as a separate identity. It is important to keep Ford essentially as a standalone community, the Parish Neighbourhood Plan, could be a vital tool to protect its individuality.
Short Term Future
Modern day Ford is very privileged, at the moment, to be a clearly defined settlement with its own identity. This may have been affected by the application for the Airfield development, which was opposed by both the parish council and Wiltshire council and which was recently rejected at appeal (see news item above).
Residents’ Survey – Community Response
As reported on the home page, the results of the Residents’ Survey conducted in autumn 2019 are now available. In addition to the report for the whole parish, one specific to the responses from this community can be found here (the link downloads a Powerpoint file).
On July 11 2019 the inspector appointed to hear the planning application appeal for the airfield development announced her decision, which was to refuse planning permission, Full details can be found in the document below