I might be a few thousand miles away, living in the suburbs of Washington D.C. but I still pay attention to what has happened in my old home town of Stratford-upon-Avon, in south Warwickshire. I know my own home there was a “new build” completed in late 1999, and even then the town was crowded and the services were being cut back by Tony Blair’s great “New Labour” vision.
Fast forward a few years and now I return with dread having watched the huge fields across the river between the Shipston and Banbury roads being completely filled by new houses. Large fields converted into narrow streets with the latest block plan housing from Laings and Barrett. I have friends who live in some of these new estates who complain that the builder’s thirst for money means they have built hundreds of homes without a corner shop, post office, school, or pub. It is purely a place to sleep, to park the car at night, not a place to live, and if you need a pint of milk you better get in the car and drive to the supermarket…. there is no local supplier to support! The rest of town has faired little better, with new houses springing up in what had been long Victorian back-gardens like festering mushrooms. The police station closes at night, and the hospital has shrunk even further with every cut back even when more is offered they take more away. Even the shops have changed, with the local stores being priced out, either on product or rent, and replaced by “any town” coffee shops and chain stores, sandwich and mobile phone stores.
So what could our government and local council do to save the town from disappearing into a hole of mediocrity and overcrowding. Don’t look to World Class Stratford, and their strange ideas for incomplete projects and half shaped plans. No, look forward to Long Marston becoming not just the home of “Global Gathering” and “Bulldog Bash” but also to 6000 new homes in an eco-town!!! It beggars belief!!!
Now my question has to be, how long after the first homes are occupied before the Long Marston airfield is closed down because the new neighbours don’t like the noise of dancers at concerts, or drag racers tearing down the strip, or the few thousand bikers turning up every July. Then, once the bikes and ravers have gone the land can be bought by yet another builder to throw a few thousand more homes up.
So if you aren’t nervous enough already let me say that the Evesham Journal used the great quote;
“The project was likened to Milton Keynes which was developed for a similar reason – to meet the demand for new low-cost housing – yet this site, if it gets the go ahead, will be a zero carbon community.”
So we’re recycling Milton Keynes as a plan!!!
Just in case that doesn’t worry you enough, we’ve been told not to worry by none other than Tony Bird of the Bird Group, one of the partners behind the Long Marston bid, who said;
“misinformation was making people nervous.”
Now I am reassured after all we all know how beautiful the Birmingham Road entrance to Stratford is now that the Maybird Centre has been there a few years (and the boy racers are still tearing around the car parks).
For more information on this great environmental and planning disaster housing opportunity you can read….