Friday, 24 April 2009

Memorial Gardens Vandalised by Trafford Council

It seems quite apt to be writing on this matter of environmental vandalism, authorized and endorsed by our local Trafford council, on actual Earth Day, (22/04/09) to publicly complain, high in oath, mud-splattered and at a full gallop, regarding the wanton destruction – for profit - of a memorial garden bequeathed to the common peasants of Altrincham, in perpetuity, from 1933.

A commemorative stone set in the garden’s lawn bears the carved legend :

This open space was a gift to the people of Altrincham by Henry Shaw in memory of his mother, Mrs. Martha Lydiatt Shaw : 18th January 1933

Located on the north-east corner of the Stamford Street and Barrington Road junction, directly opposite the Old Mill Hotel, and previously juxtaposed on it’s western border by the now-demolished Railway Inn, this once-verdant garden comprised of lawns, shrubs, trees and two splendid mature cherry blossoms has now but a single mature Hawthorne tree standing – the remainder of its former beauty devastated and gone – yet another of Nature’s wards fallen victim to an unscrupulous property developer’s avaricious grasp.

If the garden was falsely sequestered for development in this manner due being classified as an under-utilized green space then the survey must have been embarked upon after dark on a frosty December’s Sunday night .

In the rain-free lunchtime periods - and evenings - of the week, and too in the summer months, it is a most popular green space to relax, even in the midst of the noise and bustle of an adjacent main road. A sanctuary for peace, prayer and meditation.

The current development has fenced off with plywood hoardings a goodly two thirds of the original garden. The shrubs, bushes, trees and two mature cherry blossoms have gone and the garden surface excavated to several feet below its original level and refilled with stone ballast.

The green open space originally formed an L-shaped area of 50 meters on the east boundary and 25 meters on the north boundary – encompassed an approximate total of 706 square meters. Since the scandalous land-grab the remaining open area accessible to the public is now a mere 272 square meters.

The planning permission application for this piece of wanton vandalism reads :

No. H/70261:

Erection of a four storey extension to existing office building, extension of existing car parking area into adjacent open space and alterations to remainder of open space including access ramp, seating, new trees and hedgerow, sculpture and repositioned.

And the beneficiary is ? – the adjacent Spring Bank House, 33 Stamford Street, WA14-1ES – a existing multi-storey office building.

Just what Altrincham requires - yet another office extension.

The town is already in the Guinness Book of World Records for having the most empty offices in the Northern Hemisphere.
A stone’s throw away stands Tabley Court, a pair of huge office complexes spanning Kingsway / Stamford Street across to Victoria Street – both unoccupied and derelict.

(See Victoria Street where a spot of conveniently-timed arson prompted the demolition of a row of functional and period terraced cottages to make way for yet another unoccupied multi-storey shoe box office building (Garden Place) which appears to have been designed by an architect deprived of imagination and vision, apart from the fact he possessed a Lego set as a child, looked through windows and sketched shoe boxes)

It seems a paradox that in this age of Al Bore’s “A Convenient Piece of Propaganda” global warming hoax paranoia, where green spaces are vaunted over CO2-spewing cars, that Trafford Council should decide - topsy-turvy fashion - to bulldoze green open spaces and build further car parks to encourage the use of gas guzzling vehicles belching ‘carbon suicide’.

With a multitude of office buildings such as the afore-mentioned Tabley Court and the newly-constructed Garden Place being wholly empty, coupled to the multitude of vacated and derelict shops in the town’s centre, Altrincham gives the impression it is now as attractive to commercial business interests as a leper colony might be to a couple of honeymooning tourists.

For our EU neighbours, Trafford Metropolitan Borough is located in the grim North West of England, just to the south of mucky Manchester, where the only people not unemployed are the police, JobCentre Plus staff – and the Numpty Dumpty local council officials.
Further, Trafford council’s planning department apparently employs a troop of rock apes working around the clock to consider and approve hair-brained schemes involving environmental vandalism.

The civil engineering contractors employed to expedite the scandalous destruction of Henry Shaw’s bequest are ‘GARIC”, the company responsible for the loosing of the moronic Cro-Magnon Philistines who ripped out of the ground two beautiful mature cherry trees in the full splendour of their Springtime blossoms.

Ignoring the classical architectural credo that ‘form must follow function’, the project is, at best, a scandalous betrayal of trust of the spirit of Henry Shaw’s bequest, made in the name and memory of his mother.

At worst it is an act of negligence wherein council officials have been delinquent in their professional judgment, bordering on moral turpitude and criminal incompetence.

In the immortal words of Shakespeare : “Something stinks in Denmark, and it isn’t Hamlet’s socks”.

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