Planning beauty?

I was up past 11pm last night finishing off work on our local digital archive (hence my missed blog post – yet another £1 in the pot for Unicef).

The images date back to the early 1900s and show the people and buildings that formed an important part of our local village life back in the days before cars when people had to work near where they lived. Back then industries such as agriculture and manufacturing were key to local livelihoods and small shops such as butchers, grocers, cobblers, coach-houses and blacksmiths kept the village economy ticking over.

Now most people commute significant distances in such a rural area because employment has migrated to towns and cities. It is rare to find a local job – I have one of the few.

The village has changed dramatically and many of the buildings did not survive planning decisions, developers’ gusto, parish and district council decisions and land sales. A Victorian School, several cottages, a mill, a moat pond – all succumbed to changes over the decades. The worst decade being the sixties. Like so many cities, towns and villages, the architects and developers at that time thought it was far better to tear down structures full character and often well-built standing the test of time, with ugly, flawed, flat-roof structures that would have a lifespan of 30 years tops.

This is what happened to our village school – the beautiful Victorian building replaced by bungalows ans the 60s flat-roof school levelled to the ground because it was no longer structurally sound. Now there is no longer a school.

This is why local planning authorities and land owners have a huge responsibilty because they have the power to change the whole landscape of the area in a decision that only takes weeks to formulate and months to build, yet the community will enjoy/ endure it for years to come.

This blog is for Unicef.

Thanks for reading.