Tuesday 26 March 2019

A new 'Garden Town' north of Stafford.

A new 'garden town' has been announced: "Meecebrook, in the north of Stafford borough - about 10,000 homes".

What's a 'garden town', then? Sometimes also called an 'eco-town'. It's all rather nebulous, but the best I can figure is this.

Properly planned, from the ground up, to:

* fit naturally into the existing natural environment.
* add enhancements to the existing natural environment.

* learns all the lessons from the past British 'garden cities' and new settlements such as Bournville, Poundbury etc.
* designed for the real British weather, not some architect's 'flat-roof and pastel stucco' blue-skies modernist/postmodernist Mediterranean fantasyland.

* high-quality housing, with an eye for beauty and design.
* homes that don't all look the same.
* proper shops with proper frontages.
* use of local / natural building materials.
* meaningful public art.
* widely employs craft-based apprentices during the building.

* cars discouraged.
* locally accessible jobs, via cycling and walking.
* 'work from home' over superfast Internet.
* local supply of the workers needed to manage the abundant gardens, parks, open spaces.

* allotments.
* community centres, local shops and doctors.
* good local schools and home-schooling facilities.
* community networks, autonomous groups, has a volunteering culture.
* robust ongoing control of noise, dogs, litter and other annoyances.

* community ownership of the land.
* the town is locally led, once up and running.
* ongoing control of ugliness and tackiness re: shop fronts, hoardings, signage.

* wider green belt protection.
* local heritage assets protection in the surrounding district.

In terms of local materials, it would be great to see extensive use of hard-wearing tiles and other ceramics from Stoke-on-Trent.

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