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Bad Town Planning

22935 Views 88 Replies 29 Participants Last post by  The Champ
So came across Chafford Hundred for the first time in my life, a development of 5,000 new homes in 90s and 00s. Judging from the pictures this looks one of the most souless places I've ever seen - 90s planning at its worst surely:



It makes me want to cry.

Is this the best we can do? Does anyone know anything else about this location or other examples of poor modern town planning I can get upset by.
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The problem with UK is a fascination with the back garden.

Dunno why people want to waste so much space merely for putting unused rubbish all over it (you can see when travelling on trains overlooking the gardens) - Only about 10% back gardens can be classed as beautiful.

And having back gardens in Zone 1 London is just batshit crazy !!

What we need here in London is high density in Zone 1

1> Start by giving planning permissions for high rises where ever a block of 50 m by 50m can be acquired.

2> Ignore planning heckles by surrounding residents that their gardens will be overlooked. This will reduce their property values and they will eventually sell creating more space for developers.

3> About the developers - place these restrictions

a> Apartments Only
b> Minimum height > the diagonal of the plot. Higher the better.
c> Minimum bedroom space (number of beds) created greater than 4 times what its is replacing.
d> Minimum Bed size = 15 by 15 ft
e> Minimum Living room = 20 by 15 ft (excluding kitchen)
f> Minimum Balcony = 10 by 15 ft (to serve as a small garden)
g> Minimum Parking (pref underground) = 1.5 times the number of apartments
h> Minimum Open Communal Area = 25% of plot size.
i> Lift required for all 4 stories and above (actually in practice only 4+ stories will be granted permission anyway)
Well you can have it. Better than the ones the thread was started for. We just have to create many times more high density acco in the central parts to make space in the outskirts.



If I was looking to buy a house, I would want a garden, and if I could afford it - it would be a detached house. The reason being, I like space, and so from what I can see so do most people. I work 6 - 7 days a week and normally when I'm off work its raining :(

But on the off chance I have time off work, and the sun is out I want a private space outside
If you have a nice back garden with some degree of privacy it makes life a lot more enjoyable and relaxing in the warmer months. I'm off to work shortly, but I'm just munching on some strawberries that I picked.

Would I ever go back to living in a boxy flat and having to put up with the noise of people surrounding me on all sides? Would I hell! :cheers:
The trick is to make apartments much less boxy and more like a living space one would enjoy. Agree - todays apartments are either too boxy, too dark and grim OR expensive riversider penthouses.

London needs to grow out of the idea of rent a boxy apartment until you can buy a similarly boxy house but with a garden.

We dont have space - the only way is up. Apartments is a nice compromise.


A detached or even spacious semi with a decent sized garden is an understandable desire for many, I see the attraction. It's people wanting crappy little green patches (that they rarely manage properly) bordering their maisonette among tightly packed terraces in zone 2 that's daft. My gf lived in such a place until moving recently. Not only was the garden small, the owners, who were live-in landlords, never used it and worse let it become an ugly collection of weeds and overgrown grass so we were put-off.

Looking out from my gf's former bedroom window, which allowed a view of all neighbouring gardens, I could see that the local gardens were rarely used. They were too small to play football or whatever with kids, and the area had a number of decent parks and kids' play facilities nearby. Additionally, many residents were short-medium term tenants in shared accommodation, hardly the demographic to look after and nurture a garden. It would have made more sense, if not realistic, to have a common private area of a large size.

Great post.

Which is better ? A crappy piece of land wasting away as expensive self storage - to serve for 5-6 of BBQ days in a year OR a nicely maintained communal area at the end of the street.

Now if you do away with the private garden - then is there really a need for a door which opens on a street. We dont need so many 2 story houses. They can easily create 3-4 times the space if converted into large spacious flats with open balconies.

Europe did it 50 years back - we stuck with our gardens like that one obstinate kid.
If you like garden or farm - move out of the city. Travel more . Simple
You cant have it both ways.

Well you could - if you are a billionaire and buy a detached mansion in Bishop AVe. Just pay for the previlige.

Whats odd is that - its the norm to have small (or 2) story terraced houses within stone's throw of London Bridge / Victoria stations / West End . Thats a colossal misuse of the space. A whole street could easily be replaced by a 9-10 story tower without losing living space and still leave space for a good sized communal area while using a fifth of the land footprint.


I like my garden, it's not full of rubbish. My front lawn is not paved over. I like the idea of the Green Belt and countryside - I use it a lot. I wouldn't want to live in a city whose houses lack gardens, even if people don't appreciate them. Perhaps its just me.

If it wasn't for planning restrictions, green belt and density protection, London would have a core as dense as New York's and be as populous as Tokyo, only it would stretch from Dover and Poole to Huntingdon and Bicester.
No it would not. For the simple reason if it did then we would all be living in vast country estates! If we doubled, then doubled again then doubled about 10% would be built upon.

At the risk of bringing facts to a barroom argument: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-18623096

If the amount of building you suggested took place we could all live in 20 houses!!! Ridiculous!!
While this is true , I m not sure if this is very practical. Even if you simply doubled the radii (4 times area) of Greater London - 100s of Billions would be needed to get similar grade transport facilities for people to come to work to the centre.

Compare this against - increasing decent quality apartment acco available in the center itself so that people who do not want the Detached House / Garden fantasy house (just yet) can afford to live comfortably.
While I like this arrangement better than some other terraced housing- I still feel that even this will not acheive the density the core of a mega city like London should have.

4-5 story townhouses are the only kind which can give us at least the bedroom density - but of course not the habitation density because they are meant for super rich who have 6-7 beds for a family of 4.

BTW another scourge I failed to mention about row housing was on street parking (on both sides of the road) - thats one more reason why I feel that London needs to slowly start the cleansing by using private developers as a tool to drive "house with a garden" people out to suburbs. The roads will be so much smoother with the cars parked in the underground car park

Build enough tall builds around and the little gardens will be even less sought after.

This will gradually result in fall in property prices due to increased availability and the people who crave gardens will be able to move out to a better property at a more affordable price. SO its almost a win win except you have to choose the lifestyle. Travel from suburb & enjoy garden vs Live near work and have a yuppy lifestyle in a flat.

Apartments need to be made sexier - I am sure many people will go for it if it offers convenience & lifestyle.
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I've always been impressed by this arrangement, on City Road in Islington.

The high-density terraced houses presumably have no garden at the back - maybe a 'yard' there.

But at the front, the houses have their individual bits of green, and then a communal space along the whole parade, which is still private, behind a high hedge, and with gates to the pavement.

Children always used to be playing there.

And this is on London's Inner Ring Road, remember.

http://binged.it/UJMVg4
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