Man Made Blunders
Pier - the first pier in Britain to be listed, now beyond repair |
Out presenter Chris Packham explores his personal list of seven man made blunders
of the South of England.
The West Pier
Chris starts with
the grade one listed West Pier in Brighton, built in 1866 and once a beautiful
living piece of seaside history.
But this is a structure left to drown
in the waves - its decaying remains now a constant reminder of what could've happened
Since it closed in 1975, the West Pier has struggled for breath.
But two fires and too much bureaucracy stopped it ever being rescued.
historian and former trustee of the West Pier Trust, Nimrod Ping, is ashamed that
it was never rescued and says now it should be taken away:
stops Brighton from getting a blue flag because of all the bits of scrap metal
in the sea," he says.
There's absolutely no
doubt that Stonehenge is a man made wonder - in fact it was the only site in the
Britain nominated to be one of the new seven wonders of the world.
trouble at stunning Stonehenge|
But here's the blunder - this
mega megalith is surrounded by traffic.
Two plans, two reviews and eight
years after it was decided something simply had to be done, the cars drone on,
and the cost of a solution rockets.
To date £23 million has been
spent just thinking about whether to build a tunnel under it or a road round this
fantastic World Heritage Site.
"Yet nothing's happened
and probably never will. And sorting out this renowned bottleneck in this world
famous location has now been deemed a regional problem.
a tunnel would eat up the entire road budget for the South West for a year in
one fell swoop," says an exasperated Chris.
now from a building which hasn't happened to some which shouldn't have.
Farringdon - drainage problems|
Chris' next choice is the Hampshire
village of Lower Farringdon.
In December 2000 East Hampshire District Council
said it was aware the area flooded from time to time.
It accepted advice
from the now defunct National Rivers Authority that drainage would solve it.
the village flooded very badly.
All but four of the houses at Lower Farringdon
were pulled down - the area will eventually become the village green when new
developments take place.
Canford Heath just outside
Poole in Dorset is home to Dartford Warblers, and Nightjars.
It was the
place Chris saw his first Sand Lizard at the age of eight.
Now only part
of this extremely rare habitat is left because a housing estate was built here
in the 1980s.
Chris calls it, "Surely the biggest environmental disaster
in the South in my lifetime."
Blunder number five
is on the outskirts of that quintessentially English seat of learning, Oxford.
"'Even as you enter the city, there's this rotten old silo,"
The grain silo at Kidlington was built in 1940 by the Ministry
of Works, but hasn't stored grain now for many years.
What's worse is
that it stands empty on Oxford's green belt with no one actually willing to pull
Chris' sixth blunder is Reading.
par excellence - Reading's carbuncle |
He specifically cites
the cable and wireless building, known locally as 'castle grey skull'.
concrete 'carbuncle' of a structure is one of the town's worst eyesores according
"If I had my way, I'd paint it yellow and fire rockets from
the roof to be sent out across the South to save us from architectural oblivion,"
But the former president of the Royal Institute of British
Architects has an even better idea.
George Ferguson calls it, the X list:
"The X list is about speeding up the process of demolishing
bad buildings, many of which we've been stuck with since the war.
Reading has too many of these type of buildings. Buildings on the X list would
be fast tracked for demolition making room for better buildings in their place."
Chris' final blunder should in his view, top any X list.
Bournemouth IMAX was recently voted the most hated building in the south.
mean, look at it," says Chris, "if that wavy roof line is supposed to
be some sort of nod to the sea, it hasn't worked
oh dear, oh dear, oh dear."
three years the IMAX cinema closed.
But the building does house, amongst
others, a southern fried chicken outlet, a pub, a night club and a whacky warehouse
style ball pit for kids.
The current owner is a pensions company based in
We spoke to its fund manager who told us if anyone wants to pull
it down they're welcome to. They just have to buy it first.
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