News and views from north Bristol's urban village

Saturday, 9 February 2008


Today, for family reasons, I had to make my fir
st trip ever to Kidderminster, an experience that I hope to never repeat.

The town is a monument to bland, thoughtless and chaotic urban planning with the main road in from the M5 taking you through a
grim wilderness of warehouses ("good motorway connections"), light industrial units and then a 1960s-American-inspired strip of car dealers, DIY stores and fast food drive throughs (wait, that should be drive-thrus in keeping with the modernity of the place).

Through gritted teeth, I assumed that the urban sprawl would give way to a more pleasant vista as I approached the historic heart of the town. I unfortunately missed the new retail park known locally as "Weaver's Wharf" or something equally appalling. Had I done so, my impression of the town centre may have been slightly different. As it was, I concluded that it was without a doubt the most visually unpleasant town I had ever been to.

I can only assume that at some point the town or county planners got together and had a conversation that went something like this:

"Right, how are we going to develop this town for the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century?"

"I know, we need to take advantage of our proximity to Birmingham and our central location in the country."
"What would you suggest?"

At which point, presumably the lead planner picked up a handful of Lego bricks and dropped them from a height of 6 inches over a map of the Elizabethan market town and said "how about that?" to a murmur of general approval from the assembled officials.

The final decision in the disastrous process was presumably when some bright spark piped up and suggested an "inner ring road" through the chaos to enable everyone to drive through and admire the finished product.

All in all it was a grim experience.
I include a few images salvaged from various sources, including the Town Council, which is presumably seeking to put across a positive image of the town.

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