TF0920 : Houses and flats and nothing much besides

taken 1 year ago, near to Bourne, Lincolnshire, Great Britain

Houses and flats and nothing much besides
Houses and flats and nothing much besides
The development seen in TF0920 : New development is complete and occupied, and I have to say they have done a pretty dismal job of it. The individual houses have bleakly function front doors, featureless and undecorative, and look for all the world like the entrance to a cell. The unfortunate homeowners have not a scrap of garden, even communally, and nowt to look out on but parked cars. The only variety is in surface texture, they all look too much alike for my preferences. The aspects are spoiled by that blight on the landscape, the wheely bin, and I think it a poor do that houses built since their introduction have no discrete way to stow them.
Bourne Town Centre redevelopment

Land and properties around Wherry's Lane formed part of a significant redevelopment plan once hatched by South Kesteven District Council, the so-called "27 million pound redevelopment" a name it kept through a couple of decades of wildly fluctuating prices and costs. The scheme had a new square behind the existing shops, which the council called a 'piazza', and threatened the existence of the bus station.

No developer mad enough to spend that sort of money could be found, but SKDC had compulsorily purchased several plots and were holding the land. In the end they chose to spend a bit more than 2 million of ratepayer money to realise those assets. A smaller scheme to build new empty shops along Wherry's Lane, and to convert the 19th century grain warehouse at the end into flats was started in the spring of 2012.

The warehouse was built in the early 19th Century as a maltings or brewery owned by the Shilcock family and known as Shilcock's Mill. It was later let to Wherry's, a local family who rose to prominence as seed merchants during the corn trade boom of the 19th century when steam engines transformed the fenland drainage and first the guano, then the chemical fertiliser trade dramatically increased yields. In Living Memory it was owned by another local businessman, the late Mr Ted Moody, for his company Nursery Supplies. Once the largest supplier of grower's necessities, this company closed several years ago, the warehouse was sold on, and later bought by SKDC. It was probably Nursery Supplies who built the cavernous 20th century extension behind the 19th century building: it used post-war materials, like cheap Peterborough brick and asbestos/cement cladding.

The council, in the paperwork for the job, appear to think that it is the warehouse's association with Wherry's that gave rise to the name of the road. They are mistaken. Wherry's Lane as a name predates Silcock's mill. The name comes from the large house that William Wherry built at the other end of the lane in North Street (TF0920 : The back of William Wherry's house). That house has a datestone for 1846 (TF0920 : William Wherry's datestone).

The last commercial use of the commercial building based on Shilcock's Mill was when SKDC rented it to the builders enlarging the nearby Sainsbury's store in 2010. They kept all their expensive machinery locked up in it at night.

The 20th century warehouse, and the similar asbestos building to the North of Wherry's Lane, which for the last generation housed a vehicle body repairers called Freeman's Garage, are being removed as the first step in the redevelopment.

Included in the scheme is the windowless brick cube of the former Masonic Lodge, bought by the Council as part of the earlier plans. There was some controversy when a local web site used the FOI legislation to discover the council paid 137,000. The Masons have built a new lodge elsewhere.

In April 2012 the Stamford Mercury reported the start of work, and predicted work would last until 'spring 2013'
LinkExternal link

Work was completed (although without doing anything sensible with the landscaped area) in August 2014, and the first of the shops was trading in the first week of September. 2014 ended with no other units having been taken.

Planning guidance for the original monstrous scheme still exists, including a map of the then extent: LinkExternal link It was not without controversy even before it was abandoned: LinkExternal link

In 2019 work started on a separate project to build housing on the other side of Wherry's Lane, facing the shops

Constrained by a pandemic TF0820 :: TF0820

Beginning in early February, even before the official requirement to stay at home during the Covid-19 shutdown, I was self-isolating at home. Because it seemed a responsible thing for a couple in less than youthful condition to do. That has somewhat altered my opportunities for photography.

Geograph has a category for pictures of the impact of current events, but these pictures do not fit into that category (I have also added a few there). Instead I shall flag them as those I have taken within my much reduced range of operations. These, then, generally are not photographs OF the pandemic, merely normal ones taken DURING it.

By the end of April I was also making audio recordings of birdsong at some of the photograph locations, exploiting the unusual absence of background traffic noise and the splendour of the birdsong in bright sunny weather. The audio recordings are saved in the Wikimedia Commons system, where a built-in playback device appears on the page for each. I have linked to the individual recordings in the photograph description, and the whole set can be viewed at LinkExternal link

I am lucky to live at the edge of town, adjacent to Bourne Woods, where I can walk my dogs and take the occasional picture of nature and the like. I could, of course, walk further than this, but not if I combine it with exercising the dogs. One of our dogs is arthritic, and cannot cope with more than about 40 minutes of exercise.

By the time we had reached early May, the poor creature was even less tolerant of lengthy excursions, and the rising undergrowth was making novel and informative photography less straightforward, so the odd trip without the dog was added.

By June national restrictions had been somewhat lifted, but I was in no rush to re-join the throngs braving infection. But by Mid-June I was finding the effort to sustain large numbers of daily posts exhausting, and I decided to cut back activity in that regard.

By now I was wondering if this collection should be closed, as I was breaking my isolation once a week for food shopping, and taking my camera with me. But I remained convinced that precautions were still required, and thus continued my defiance of the circumstances.

In August the public (me excluded) were acting as though it was all over, and the disease came roaring back with the start of the academic year, and steadily worsened after that.

Things worsened. By November Wales was in a 'firebreak' lockdown, and England followed suit until the start of December, supposedly to 'save Christmas'. A 5 day relaxation of the rules was promised for that festival.

But by mid December the upward disease trajectory was resumed, and markedly so. Restrictions remained, and I continued this micro-project beyond 1500 images. Spring and summer were a succession of botanical illustrations, in Autumn I documented the seasonal colours, and in winter was left with just the weather to illustrate. But in England that is of infinite variation.

So, the winter of 2020 and 2021 wore on, and my daily record sustained me through those frustrating months. I managed to find new things to see, and say, despite the dormancy around me, and the arrival of the first flush of spring was accompanied by a government instruction to shield for the month of March. But nothing changed here: we were effectively doing that as much as we could. My daily exercise with the dogs did not break the rules, and did not involve anything but the most distant of human encounters.

The infection wore away as those months progressed. By the beginning of April the extra restriction on our household was gone; the infections in the general population were closer to being under control, and the much awaited vaccinations were being more successful than we ever hoped. But the restrictions on leaving home were still in place then, and the plan was to allow Pubs and Restaurants to open in the middle of the month but only for the outdoor trade. This pandemic has a long way to run. When it all started, I imagined at least a two year restriction on life, and writing here 14 months on I see no reason to modify that prediciton.

In Mid April the end came for my older dog, Inca, who could no longer tolerate the pain of movement. I had nursed her through the winter, and she sustained me too with continual affection and enthusiasm. But all good things must come to an end, and as we spotted some sort of end to the fell plague around her, she met her own far less deserved end. She will be sorely missed. Inca has featured in some of these images, and reviewing them will always be both a solace and a sorrow. For that is the Human condition, and the Canine one too.

April saw, too, some relaxation of the constraints on us that have slowed the spread of the disease. I did allow myself some occasional visits to nearby villages with no chance of meeting folk. They don't appear here.

As spring turned into summer, I took slightly more of these lonely expeditions to places of interest, and by June was planning work visits to customer sites, all of which were cancelled by outbreaks of the disease. But I was starting the question the validity of this collection nevertheless.

Toward the end of the second July, with most of the extended family vaccinated, including the older teenagers, we made a trip two hours across the fens to attend a family get-together, the first such gathering since Christmas 2019. And I have decided that will mark the end of my complete isolation, and to close this collection with that trip. The last images to be flagged as "constrained by the pandemic" are those in July 2021.

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TF0920, 1558 images   (more nearby search)
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Date Taken
Saturday, 20 June, 2020   (more nearby)
Tuesday, 23 June, 2020
Geographical Context
Lowlands  Housing, Dwellings  City, Town centre 
Place (from Tags)
Primary Subject of Photo
Housing Estate 
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! TF 0946 2029 [10m precision]
WGS84: 52:46.1473N 0:22.7416W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! TF 0944 2030
View Direction
East-southeast (about 112 degrees)
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Other Tags
Place  Town Centre  New Housing Development  Car Parking 

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