The high street and Eastern Town: a sense of place

There is a need to revisit the central core of town, to encourage a residential community with a mosaic of social and recreational facilities.

Looking to a deeper understanding of “why the old social order of the town was disrupted and how development was encouraged to creep up the valley.”

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Longstanding VGS member and on the steering group of the Sid Valley Neighbourhood Plan, Graham Cooper has considerable understanding of what makes a ‘place’ from a long professional career in art and architecture:

SENSE OF PLACE Outside Art in Bury

TRANSIENT TOWN Paintings of Bury

Which have been featured on the Futures Forum blog:

Futures Forum: “Sense of Place” >>> from Bury to Sidmouth

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He comments on yesterday’s news piece:

The future of our high streets: of levelling up and council funding – Vision Group for Sidmouth

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Reading todays VGS news item reminded me of the attached introduction I wrote for my Bury publication. I underlined some of the pertinent points which make up the character of the old town:

Sense of Place – Bury – Intro – Resurgent Town

Unlike Bury, Sidmouth didn’t suffer from the post-Imperial industrial collapse and has been kept remarkably intact.

It maybe argued however that if we are to save the High Street we need to revisit the structure of the townscape as a whole.

In a nutshell what we have currently is a retail-dominated centre surrounded by a suburban domesticity from which folk jump into their cars to shop for even the most minor items.

Instead of holiday homes, there is a need to revisit the central core to encourage a residential community with a mosaic of social and recreational facilities.

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As part of the SV Neighbourhood Plan, Graham was also very much involved in the Place Analysis:

Sid Valley Place Analysis – Creating Excellence

And one place Graham has done a lot of work looking at has been the spaces in the Eastern Town:

Futures Forum: Plans for Port Royal: ‘Alternative ideas as to how the Port Royal area of Sidmouth could be redeveloped’

Futures Forum: Port Royal: Envisioning the Ham Sidmouth > book launch

Including work he did with a friend identifying the old layout of this part of Sidmouth:

Futures Forum: Gerald Counter’s Sidmouth: an insight into Eastern Town

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Graham’s comments continue:

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The NP Place Analysis is I guess the nearest thing, although it largely examines the current situation.

[It would be interesting to know] about how the “undertown” (underclass!) and the Ham area residents were decanted to the council houses at Arcot and later Manstone.

An article on why the old social order of the town was disrupted and how development was encouraged to creep up the valley would make an interesting contribution to our knowledge of the place.

The official policy I imagine would be to sanitise the area by demolishing the overcrowded and unhygienic slums. (Homes and businesses which were vulnerable to flooding to be replaced by who knows what!)

It would be good to have deeper understanding of the urban dynamics of the place…

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With more final insights here:

Futures Forum: Plans for Port Royal: anticipating a Regeneration Board >> Scoping Study consultation > an overview of the maps and the options

Futures Forum: Port Royal: Envisioning the Ham Sidmouth >>> new book and local entry to architecture competition

   
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