Monday, October 26, 2009

Photo call

I have added more recent photographs to the Flickr stream for this website not all of which are devoted to JCB's ... I hope you find them interesting and yet more proof of the genius of an ordinary place.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

You have mail ...

An interesting contact ... (See comments thread in the post below this).

I was taken aback by all the details to be seen on the skyscrapercity site about the 'gold rush' of developers, eager to liberally cover all of the Lower Ouseburn and adjoining areas of Newcastle's Quayside with exactly the kind of buildings I most dislike; meretricious off the peg Modernism, whose only virtue would be the ease and low cost of erecting these 'cash flow' options. The guiding dead hand of English Estates is everywhere, like tin foil and about as robust. Just as with the planned and abandoned schemes for the former paint factory site next to Battlefield, most of the sites have been subject to several development proposals which have been through 'multiple choices' – offices, then trendy apartments and now student housing – the latest of late 'quick bucks' to be had in property development. Nothing I saw had any relationship with the existing Ouseburn or the characterful history of this corner of Tyneside.

Another wave of crass development awaits Newcastle it seems, held back only by the Credit Crunch. Not all bad news on the economy then.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The rise of the machines

The weather did not improve but I returned anyway with fresh batteries for my camera to capture some of the activity taking place on the site of the old paint factory.

The large building behind is an existing University hall of residence. Converted from offices into private apartments, it was abandoned in an unfinished condition for many months until it was bought up for student housing some years ago.

No skate boarders today. Rain stopped play?

But they have (for now) left their mark.

More soon including some of the beauty which nearby "threatening" Battlefield has to offer in this season of mists and mellow fruitfulness ...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Surprise, surprise

I was surprised and a little puzzled to find that yet another site in Shieldfield is being developed by Metnor Group plc. This 'new' site is on Stoddart Street, two hundred yards away up Shieldfield Lane from the paint factory site, which has already been granted building consent by Newcastle City Council, despite objections. I visited a public display of the former paint factory site plans together with a model of the proposed scheme last year, but evidently missed details of this extension of the scheme, if that what it is, away from the 'main' site. Is this too destined to become a student accommodation block?

Workmen busy themselves today on all roads around the area that is soon to become one very large building site to judge by the scale of current operations. Strangely, youths with skate boards and a ghetto blaster are continuing to have the run of the former paint factory's concrete hard standing, even whilst large dumper trucks are swinging in and out of the main site (as such I think we must call it now).

If the Stoddart Street site is also going to become yet more student accommodation then that will have a profound affect on the total area. It will mean, taken together with the new and existing developments throughout the district and nearby in recent years, student only accommodation will turn this area into a 'city within a city', and a very under resourced and cramped one at that. Is this deliberate?

More (and some photographs) to follow.

Warehousing built by Metnor, developers of choice for student accommodation.