15 May 2009

Arbury Park revisited

This is a forlorn spot on the northern edge of Cambridge. I revisited yesterday. It's new, its meant to be an exciting place to live and already it looks like a slum. Desperately sad.


  1. If you were to apportion blame, where would it lie? Planning policy, implementation, developers, investors, housing market?

    My prejudice against the quality of new builds in this country is not being answered by any of the people who should be in a position to deliver better homes, better design and better communities.

    It's shameful, and no amount of revisions of the currently broken system will fix what appear to be fundamental problems.

  2. God, I wish I knew the answer to that one. The main problem with Arbury Park is that there is no sense of place - exactly what Prince Charles was talking about in his speech this week. I mean, who in their right minds would want to live right next to the A14? No one. And yet this spot was chosen because it looked like a good place to fit on the map, and because it was next to the new guided bus route. It would be much better if it was finished, but it's like a ghost town - you can almost feel the tumbleweed blowing down the empty streets. That's the recession, for sure, but I don't think it's entirely the recession. It's just that it's been plonked there by planners - however well meaning, the place just has no soul.

  3. This is hugely mis-representative of the state of Orchard Park. It is not a slum, it is unfinished, building over 900 homes plus supporting services was always going to take several years, and with the current economy, that's been further delayed. This is like writing off a car because the bodywork hasn't yet been added. I bet I could take a photo of your house/street that puts it in a bad light. Perhaps you'd like to come back and take a picture of the Circus in full bloom, or the wonderful play area at Topper Street, or some of the wonderfully designed street scenes. Orchard Park is a long term investment - 15+ years to complete the building work (including commercial and retail areas) and for a genuine residents community to be established. Come back in five years and you'll wish you'd bought a house here...Thanks, Nick