Soft wind blowing the smell of sweet roses to each and every one,
Happy to be on an island in the sun.
An island in Wakefield.
An Island in a sea of dual-carriageways.
Sixties built municipal modernism, hovering on slim stilts above the ground level carpark, complete with pierced brick screen.
The future was bright the future was red – for a short while.
Over the horizon came Sir Ian Kinloch MacGregor KBE.
Lady Thatcher said:
He brought a breath of fresh air to British industry.
The fifth horseman of the industrial apocalypse – bringing pit-closure, redundancy the deindustrialisation of a whole area.
Offices and citizens are tinned-up, brassed-off and abandoned.
This is now the architecture of civic optimism eagerly awaiting repurposing.
There is talk of conversion to housing, talk is cheap.
A planning application has been drawn up requesting permission to change the use of Chantry House from offices to one and two bedroom residential units. The application has been submitted by The Freshwater Group, the development arm of Watermark Retirement Communities.
Currently home to the determined, hardened daytime drinker, street-artist and curious passerby.
Milton Keynes synonymous with something or other, the town where everything is an off centre out of town centre, where anything was new once.
A broad grid of boulevards, sunken super-highways and an extended series of balletic roundabouts swirls the cars around.
Beneath this merry carbon hungry dance, we find the cyclist and pedestrian, the self propelled underclass passing through the underpass.
During my eight hour non-stop walking tour I encountered several – here they are, home to the homeless – others somewhat desolate and deserted, grass between the paving stones, the occasional casual tag and discarded can.
Everything is up in the air.
Tyneside is self evidently enamoured of elevation – they simply adore bridges, having five and another one as well. Walking driving, running trains across the mighty Tyne Valley, why they even write songs about them.
In the Swinging Sixties T Dan Smith vowed to create a Brasilia of the North, which as good as his word he did, though sadly lacking the requisite regard for the law of the land.
What remains is a complex interwoven structure of urban motorways, walkways, multi-storey car parks and tower blocks. To explore is to enter a world of the sublime, exhilarating and still yet mildly confusing.
Can you get there from here?