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Archive for August, 2011

As a kid and then when Gerardine and I were courting, I loved going to Southport for its beach that never seemed to end (its often a mile and half walk out to the sea), for its pier that never seems to end (it’s the second longest pier in the UK), for those views across  to Blackpool Tower and for its shopping street, Lord Street, that again just seems to go on forever.

Like many British seaside resorts, Southport’s fortunes waned during the 80s and 90s. However a few years ago when I started to see pictures of the modern pavilion that had been built on the pier I felt this was the sign of a forward thinking council that understood the role that great design could play in regeneration. So Gerra and I took a detour and went to visit Southport. The new pier pavilion does in fact look cool.

In our Land of Lost Content collection of 20th century British memorabilia we have some great images showing Southport in its heyday .

This picture below shows the old pier pavilion

And this one shows the prom in the 30s

So imagine our horror when at the other end of the pier this carbuncle had been built on the prom …the last buildings before the lovely beach

I have nothing against a cinema, restaurant chains and a bowling alley being on the prom, BUT  having them housed in god-awful industrial boxes, surrounded by crap landscaping and totally turning their back on the prom (the entrances face inland with blank walls facing the sea… it creates an ugly, uninteresting face to the sea)  is just downright stupid and goes against common sense never mind good planning practice.

What were the planners thinking ?

They have just consigned Southport’s sea front to needing substantial regen money needing to be spent on it in the not too distant future and for what it’s worth, this family won’t be going back in a hurry !

I am sick of writing moans about bad planning so I am going to end this on  a good note, enjoy this movie I took on our way back to the car…it cheered me up anyway!

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In 1982 after an “experiment” of living in London, Mrs H and myself came across an old, unmodernized 3 bed Victorian terraced house in Wembley for sale at £22,500. We were close to the 10 per cent deposit needed to get a mortgage and with some help from our parents and grandparents we cobbled together enough and then sold some of the furniture that was being left to pay the conveyance fees.

Like many young couples owning a property was something that we felt was a must. We saw home ownership as a way to “stop wasting money” on renting, as a cheaper alternative to renting, and as a way to enjoy a bit creative home improvement. (more…)

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Any right minded person is saddened by the events of the last week. The mindless violence and wanton destruction is totally abhorrent and inexcusable. The immediate response from the government to promptly bring the perpetrators to justice is welcome but it’s the long term that we should all start to think about and act on quickly. (more…)

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