Purfleet housing development “Pig-Ugly” says Tory minister

A SENIOR CONSERVATIVE minister has called part of Purfleet, “Pig-Ugly” in an attack on  housing developments.

The planning minister, Nick Boles, made the comments in an interview for BBC’s Newsnight to be broadcast tonight (Wednesday).

His comments were made in relation to housing land. Mr Boles said that nine per cent of England has been built on so far and this should be increased to 12 per cent to meet demand.

Mr Boles said: “We’re going to protect the green belt – but if people want to have housing for their kids they have got to accept we need to build more on some open land.

Mr Boles added that he does not want “lazy” builders to fill the countryside with “pig-ugly” houses.

At this point, he made reference to a visit he made to Purfleet last week, when he visited Harrison’s Wharf.

Mr Boles said: ” Many (housing developments) are pig-ugly. Like Harrisons Wharf in Purfleet that I visited last week.

“I am sure the flats inside are nice enough but they occupy an overbearing and unbroken slab of dismal brickwork that is an insult to the community it borders, cutting it off from a stretch of the River Thames which, in Victorian times, attracted day-trippers from London keen to take a pleasant walk along banks of the river.”

Harrison’s Wharf stands near to the Royal Hotel and consists of 103 flats. Since they were built, Purfleet has gone on to have a number of “iconic” building developments including the Royal Opera House workshops, the National Skills Academy whilst plans are still being drawn up for the regeneration of the centre of Purfleet.

Even the local MP, Jackie Doyle-Price has made it her adopted home.

A report last year from the Institute of Public Policy Research warned that England faced a housing supply ‘black hole’ by 2025 with shortfall of 750,000 homes.

Mr Boles suggested that people who opposed more development were being selfish for denying adequate space to live in for their children and grandchildren.

He said: “It’s my job to make the arguments to these people [those who oppose development] that if they carry on writing letters their kids are never going to get a place with a garden to bring up their grand kids.

“I accept we haven’t been able to persuade them. I think it would be easier if we could persuade them that the new development would be beautiful.”

Mr Boles said in the programme, broadcast on Wednesday night: “The built environment can be more beautiful than nature and we shouldn’t obsess about the fact that the only landscapes that are beautiful are open – sometimes buildings are better.”

Mr Boles added: “I think everyone has the right to live somewhere that is not just affordable but that is beautiful and has some green space nearby.”

Mr Boles called this “a basic moral right, like healthcare and education. There’s a right to a home with a little bit of ground around it to bring your family up in”.

How Harrison’s Wharf was described in 2004 by the Commission for Architecture and Built Environment

“A lack of imagination, no design brief and the dominance of car parking are all to blame for the bad design of Harrisons Wharf. The scheme, which consists of 103 flats overlooking the River Thames in Purfleet, was always going to be a difficult project for developers Bellway Homes.

When plans were first drawn up the site was operating as an aggregates yard, was surrounded by other industrial units and faced onto a semi-derelict riverside.

But a lack of flair in the design has resulted in riverside development that does not have direct pedestrian access to the actual river.

A design brief was not produced for this site due to limited resources, this resulted in an absence of clear guidance from the local authority and limited amount of early communication with the developer. Remedial action has now had to be taken to improve the development’s connection with the surrounding area.

6 Responses to "Purfleet housing development “Pig-Ugly” says Tory minister"

  1. Ed   November 28, 2012 at 8:37 am

    So one assumes this is a green flag for more of Thurrocks Green Belt to be re designated ‘urban fringes’ and built over.

  2. Bernard87   November 28, 2012 at 10:06 am

    Nick Boles has ignored the major reason why so much housing is needed….

  3. Fred   November 28, 2012 at 11:20 am

    “…cutting it off from a stretch of the River Thames which, in Victorian times, attracted day-trippers from London keen to take a pleasant walk along banks of the river.”
    In fact the stretch in front of the flats is now more accessible (albeit a dead end) than when it was in industrial use, Presumably when Yarra get moved on, even more of the riverfront will be accessible.

  4. NoVoice   November 28, 2012 at 11:32 am

    Bernard is absolutely right but then none of the main political parties will mention the “I” word. Far better to concrete over the entire country than to admit where the problem lies. They take the public for mugs and then ask us to vote them back in every 5 years. I think it’s time the british public told the main parties where to stick it until they start standing up for the British people and putting their rights and desires before the rest of the world.

  5. gray64   November 29, 2012 at 11:50 am

    You can always vote UKIP! The minister might not like the flats but the guy who lives there that they spoke to on Newsnight said they were nice to live in.

  6. Bernard87   November 29, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    Harrisons Wharf is probably a better example of town planning in Thurrock. The problem with Thurrock is the quantity of housing that goes into one space. Chafford is jam packed with housing at all different angles just to get more houses in. All housing developments that get built here are always overboard. If every development was like Meesons Lane, Grays then I’d be less irritated.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login