Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Look your last on all things not so lovely

High rise buildings were seen as an answer to a lack of space in inner cities, you couldn't build out so you built up. Strange then that when Hull spread out into the fields and countryside surrounding it in the 1960's building hundreds of Council houses in the fancifully named Orchard Park Estate, it also built several high rise blocks despite there being no lack of space. OPE, as it is tagged by local grafittistas, was designed along the lines of Radburn, New Jersey, a garden city 'planned for the motor age'. Well what might have worked in 1930's NJ didn't quite workout in East Yorkshire. One suspects the crossing of palms with silver may have happened as it did in other slum clearances and redevelopments in other towns across the country at the time. Anyhow a high rise with a country view turned out to be no more popular than a high rise with a view of the back of Paragon Station. Nor did it lead to a community-in-the-air rather a dystopian anti-social nightmare with the usual mix of high unemployment (currently 27%), vandalism, drugs and crime. So to cut a long and sadly predictable story short these towers are being removed either by explosion or gobbled up by a giant building eating machine. This one, Highcourt, is the last one standing and it too should be gone soon with a bang so I'm told. 
Meanwhile in another part of town I read that 5,402 new homes are set to be built in Hull in the next five years. I love the exactness of the figure and the vagueness of the phrase "set to be built". Maybe the palms haven't as yet been crossed with enough silver ...

1 comment:

  1. No doubt Orchard Park Estate was named after the orchard that got decimated for its creation, much like suburb developers here name areas Forest Glen or Meadow Lark to replace the forests and meadows with tracts of the same five houses over and over again.