Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Town planning - strange road layout.

Forty or fifty years ago, two or three large gardens near where we live were amalgamated into one new development and a new side road was created (St Andrew's Close: "Oh no he isn't!" shouts the crowd). The back row of houses is the sensible way round, parallel to the main street (Queens Road), but the front four are sideways on. From Google Maps:



As a result of this quirk:

1. People across the main street and at the end of St Andrew's Close have to look at the solid brick walls at the side of the ends of the front four houses; those in the back gardens of the front four have to stare at the solid brick wall of the house immediately to the right.

2. Those at the top right hand side get less sunshine in the day time.

3. They fitted in only four houses along the front, rather than five or six had they made St Andrew's Close an L-shape (turned 90 degrees clockwise) rather than a T-shape.

4. It spoils the look of the street a bit (all the other houses face the front).

5. When the sun is setting in the west (left hand side), the best time for sitting in the garden, the back gardens of the front four houses in the shadow - as a quid pro quo they get more sunshine in the early afternoon, but that is usually wasted because you are at work.

Can anybody think of any good reason for doing it like this? The only one I can think of is that the back gardens of the houses along the front might have ended up a few feet shorter, but at least they would have been more 'open'.

19 comments:

DCBain said...

Simples. As in every other development, maximise profit by cramming as many units on the land as possible. The final squalor doesn't matter; some poor fool will buy it.

Lola said...

Architect wasn't thinking?

Bayard said...

AFAICS, the land lost to housing has been used for off-street parking. Perhaps off-street parking was a planning stipulation.

DBC Reed said...

Are these houses so recent that the lay-out was planned in the modern sense? Or are they the product of that rough-and-ready laissez faire that is supposed to be so liberating?

Lola said...

DBCR That's contradictory. Laissez-faire is by definition 'liberating'.

Bayard said...

DBCR, you only have to look at the roofs of the front block of houses to see that they are "modern".

Mark Wadsworth said...

DCB, you have missed the point completely - had they done a sensible layout, they could have got one or two MORE houses on. If the plot were narrower, then sure, the way to maximise units is to build them along the new road in a line - not beautiful but practical and therefore fine by me.

L, that's one possibility.

B, given the original size, putting the front houses parallel not at right angles would have left at least the same amount of space for car parking, possibly more - because each house along the front would have two space in front of it.

DBC, you ask a loaded question which has nothing to do with the topic.

B, I would guess 70s built. the kind of house that does not mellow with age, it just gets tattier.

Bayard said...

"because each house along the front would have two space in front of it."

Perhaps silly little front gardens/yards were also a planning stipulation. Also the entrance from Queens Road has to be wide enough that two rubbish lorries, travelling at just under the speed limit, can safely pass each other whilst negotiating it (a planning rule discovered by my mother when she was on the relevant committee of the LA).

DBC Reed said...

"Laissez faire is by definition liberating." This fallacy was laid to rest by Chamberlain Snr in Birmingham I50 years ago.He found that the water system was based on everybody digging their own wells or failing that, depending on a very unreliable private water company that was always digging up the roads. As people were disposing of sewage in an unregulated manner by burying it in the garden (still going in Northants villages 60 years later)the ground water and hence private wells were contaminated with typhoid.
Joe C bought the water company for Birmingham and went in for repressing the citizens' laissez faire right to poison themselves and everybody else.
He went on to demolish the whole laissez faire international trade myth (now rebranded as globalisation) and laid the foundations for a Common Market based on the Empire and Preferential Imperial tariffs which his son consolidated in the Ottawa Accords which the USA made it a war aim to nullify .
As to road lay-out, I was simply asking whether this peculiar arrangement was once a private unadopted road which, near where I lived as a child, bestowed on its inhabitants the laissez faire freedom to have no metalling and vast puddles of standing water which inundated downhill houses. How we laughed!. In other places unadopted roads have been used as mass car parks because the police have no right to clear them.
If you are against Statist Planning, this kind of mess would be more common.
But Laissez faire has risen from the grave! Shedding all its concomitants : slavery ; child factory labour; cities deep in standing sewage; the physical deterioration of the population below even recruitment standards (not high- but neither were the recruits for the Boer War).
Away with all those restrictions of the EU! We must go out and conquer
foreign markets again !As Del Boy so inspiringly said: all those foreigners just waiting for us to stuff it up them!!. Yeah right.

Graeme said...

Perhaps they wanted the fronts of the houses to open onto St Andrew's Close?

Mark Wadsworth said...

B, possibly it is the result of some totally mad planning rule like the two lorries.

DBC, what difference does it make whether the road is adopted or not? It's a shit layout with no advantages whatsoever, it doesn't even enable the developer to cram more houses in.

G, why? they are staring at the blank brick wall of the house on the left. Far nicer to overlook the main street.

Graeme said...

Indeed,but is the house on the main road or on St Andrew's Close by address? If the latter, I bet the architect just naturally fronted the houses on the Close. However, I am sure that there are better layouts that could have been used, such as one longer road with a turning area at the end. The advantage of looking at a wall is that you can paint it white and project football matches or the Queen's Speech and enjoy the benefits of the communal way of life that DBCR will tell us existed in the 1950s.

Mark Wadsworth said...

G, for clarity, Queens Rd is not a 'main road', it is the 'high street' with shops at each end and houses in the middle, it's a one way street with a 20 mph speed limit but no speed bumps.

Graeme said...

ok...my guess is someone had a grudge against the landowner. I tried

Graeme said...

ok...how much time do you spend watching your neighbours, Mark? Would it really matter if you saw their wall or their living room.? This might seem personal but it isn't....the road layout does not matter to me as much as it matters to Mark.

Graeme said...

I look out on a fence. I compensate.

DBC Reed said...

Whether a road's adopted or not gives you some idea how and when it was built.The layout looks like some landowner with a back garden big enough for a horizontal row of houses has driven a vertical road through existing houses to access it (them)Hence the horizontal row has been imposed on existing rational arrangement before the days of planning permission ?
I was making a general point that with the much celebrated agglomeration, you have to have some planning as people are crammed in together with the supporting commercial activity. So houses next to tanneries etc. (If you're not careful)
You need an old Ordnance Survey Map of the area. Why is it called Sr Amdrews? Church land involved?

Lola said...

DBCR. Nope Chamberlain did not disprove laissez faire at all. There is no conflict between some public works and laissez faire. In any event it is impossible to say whether or not Chamberlain was right as there is no control on his experiment.
In any society here are some things that only the government can do and it's those things that we want the government to do. It's just that there are not that many things that fit that criteria. The military (defence of the realm) and the police (to protect life and property) might be. Water may not be.

DBC Reed said...

@L
Rather surprising to see Chamberlain's British reforms dismissed as an experiment. His son was trying to organise an Imperial Free Trade Area from Ottawa Conference of 1932 up until Churchill's takeover.

Countries have different public sectors: the US has public sector schools but not health services ; in Britain we have a health service and once had nationalised industries to supply industry with cheap power and raw materials.

I regard it as downright unpatriotic and contrary to our best instincts to grovel to American policies via the WTO to sign up to "a private sector development agenda devoted to accelerating the private (and non governmental) provision of basic services on a commercial basis."(in Prof RH Wade's words).