A Word In Your Ear - May 19, 2016

Roy Edmonds
Roy Edmonds
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OVER the sunny weekend I visited Marton Moss for seasonal bedding plants – sweet peas, petunias and lobelia – all as usual. Except it wasn’t as usual at all. The garden centre and nurseries had gone, replaced by a housing scheme.

“They’re building all around us now,” complained ‘Mossag’ Gary back at our local in Great Marton. He walks over from the Moss for exercise and reminisced about ponds in woodland, old railtrack bridalways and cycling on real lanes, not those marked by a white line beside busy roads.

“It’s the same, too, at Mereside,” another chap said. “I grew up overlooking fields to the Pennines, now there’s housing going up.”

Back in our garden, She Who Knows told me, “It’s not just Blackpool, Wrea Green has been told to build more housing; Staining, too, and other villages.”

Apparently, we’re preparing for more immigrants and growing families. There’s pictures of them, looking excited but very English middle-class, on developers’ boards at green sites like Queensway, approaching St Annes.

While stuck staring at these amid the afternoon school run, I wonder if they will be building still more roads to service them? Will there also be friendly new neighbourhood stores, or just big super ones with giant car parks?

It feels like people are being edged out by vehicles; our countryside disappearing under tarmacadam, open spaces under concrete and brick.

Why use the former Devonshire Road Hospital site as a car park, rather than for new housing? Then there’s the old Pontin’s camp at Starr Gate. Surely there’s room there for all newcomers, or will the remainder become a car park? Why leave town centre blocks unoccupied, plus all that accommodation above stores? Of course, it’s cheaper to build on green sites.

As our coast communities prepare to proudly bloom for summer, let’s also grow and blossom with better future planning.

* For Roy’s books visit www.royedmonds-blackpool.