Thursday, June 27

Berewood fantasy

So I believe the properties on the Berewood housing development are officially up for sale. Time to have a look at the rose tinted vision Bloor and the architects have about the Waterlooville area!

Here is an analysis of some points made in the marketing booklet for the new housing estate, published and distributed circa 22/06/2013. The development is part of the West of Waterlooville MDA.

Marketing Booklet
(text samples)
Waterlooville Reality
Page 7:

Berewood's Garden City will be somewhere our residents can enjoy a high quality and more sustainable way of life...

Garden City??

Since when has a housing estate ever been a garden city?

The term garden city dates back to 1898, which amusingly reveals a lot about the true inspiration for Berewood. Instead of drawing inspiration from the real local architecture, mostly dating from 1930 onwards, inspiration has instead come from a Victorian 'movement', minus the coal chugging steam engines.

Noble as the idea might be, building a 'garden city' on virgin agricultural land a few yards from a suburban sprawl isn't exactly what Ebenezer Howard had in mind. Indeed Berewood will never be self sufficient and will be a strange protusion on the side of Waterlooville. A quirk of council borders, because most of it will be outside of Waterlooville and Purbook council/political boundaries.
Page 10:

Robert Adam has drawn inspiration from the architectural styles found in the surrounding villages; and says; " Each of the new homes will have their own identity and character, and local materials will be used where possible".
Not sure what properties Robert Adam actually looked at in the non-existent surrounding villages, but I don't think any of them were any where near Waterlooville. Unless 'inspiration' means looking through local history books with content predating 1920.

Lets have a look at the real world...

Purbrook: behind the sign, some lovely bungalows.

Purbrook: post 1970s flats and some 1930s houses

Waterlooville: a few hundred yards from the Berewood development, some typical flats, post 1970s

Waterlooville: dual carriageways and plenty of suburban traffic:

Waterlooville: 1970s social housing:

Cowplain: the traditional architecture of Waterlooville and Cowplain, rows and rows of suburban bungalows.

Miles and miles of post WWII bungalows, flats and detached houses.

Page 13:

Nestled within beautiful countryside, just 8 miles from Portsmouth, Berewood boasts eco-friendly credentials, tranquil surroundings and a very special way of life, all within easy reach of London.
Normally when expressing distances between places, one uses the 'as the crow flies' or geodesic distance. eg. the direct distance.

However in this case, the Bloor marketing people appear to have used Google or a car navigation unit and worked out the distance using the A3(M) and A27 as the route. Which is roughly an 8 mile journey, as long as you don't drive down to Southsea!

The true distance from Portsmouth is about 4 miles 'as the crow flies'.

Tranquil surroundings??
Well  I guess the fields on which Berewood is being built were once a bit tranquil, but I would hardly call the B21590 and Maurepaus Way tranquil!

Waterlooville is a suburban post war sprawl, it has been for many decades.

Easy reach of London??
It's 50+ miles away! You can't get there without burning a lot of carbon.
Is that supposed to encourage environmentally friendly behaviour?
There is no nearby train station within walking distance. You have a 30 minute bus ride to the station in Cosham and 45+ minute bus ride to Havant station. You could take a coach to London, but do you really want to do that everyday?

One assumes of course that Bloor et al are not suggesting driving to London, creating more traffic, pollution and CO2 emissions. Some 25% of UK carbon emissions are due to road traffic.

One minute Berewood is a 'Garden City', next it's a suburban satelite of London. The marketing appears to be confused (or maybe post-modern).

Google map
Page 13:

Ideally located close to the heart of Waterloovilles vibrant town centre. Berewood promises a great choice of local restaurants, independent shops and top performing schools.

I think anyone reading 'vibrant' in association with Waterlooville will laugh out loud. Read the many blog posts on this blog to see how 'vibrant' it is.

If you like Macdonalds, Subway and Costas then you'll love the local restaurants. The only local restaurant of note that I can think of is the Shalimar.

A great choice of independent shops?
Here is a sample (minus the numerous big corporates):

Page 13:

With picturesque villages of Purbrook, Blendworth, Cowplain, Lovedean, Clanfield, Catherington, Crookhorn, Deanmead, Hambledon, Horndean and Widley...

My advice is take a look at Google maps and streetview and judge for yourself.

Can you see a picturesque village?

Maybe Hambledon is still a village. Maybe even Clanfield.
But Cowplain and Purbrook?

Maybe Bloors author lives in Australia and has no internet connection?
Page 18:

For a relaxed shopping trip, Waterlooville offers an excellent range of small independent stores.

This doesn't reflect reality. Anyone who has shopped in Waterlooville since the 1960s has seen nearly all independent shops close down, just like any other town centre.

Long gone are (can't remember many of the names) the Baytree Bookshop, the art shop, Transatlantic Plastics, a number of independent shoe shops and an independent hardware shop (got any fork handles?).

The fact is that most shops in Waterlooville are big corporates, including:
Asda, Iceland, Waitrose, Brantano, Wickes, Wilkinson, Boots, WH Smith, Subway, Costa, Macdonalds, Carphone Warehouse and many others.

That is why (along with internet retailing) we don't have many independent shops.


Anonymous said...

Although most independent shops have gone there is still an independent butcher, greengrocer and electrician, which is better than most towns of the same size.

TheVille said...

Agreed anonymous, but it is a token gesture. There are quite a few butchers around actually, not so many greengrocers though.

But Brantanos more or less killed the last remaining shoe shops in Waterlooville, my aunty used to work in one of them in the 1970s.

Also in the 1970s a friend of mine worked in the Baytree book shop, in it's original location, with the traditional bell on the door.

Eric Jacksons are a great business, very friendly, always seem to have what I need!

Anonymous said...

Eric Jacksons Electrical Supplies has been in Waterlooville since 1928!

TheVille said...

The problem is that the percentage of independents is small compared to the number of corporates, chains and franchises.

Is the Bloor sentence:

"For a relaxed shopping trip, Waterlooville offers an excellent range of small independent stores."


I would say to be accurate it would need to be changed to:

"For a relaxed shopping trip, Waterlooville offers a limited range of small independent stores."

But even then the sentence is flawed because you can't empiracally define 'relaxed' in association with entering or passing by independent stores.

In fact if you wanted an excellent range of small independent stores, you would find far more in Cosham.

Which says a lot about the difference between HBCs and PCCs policies regarding high streets and relationships with landlords.