Mr McCloud may like to think of himself and his HAB Housing company as being something apart from other property developers, but there’s one way in which he is indistinguishable. Like all developers, he can’t resist exaggerating about the quality and distinctiveness of his developments. Having run into a little local difficulty with his Pickard’s Small Field development, he’s now trying to spin a utopian tale about his smaller development off Northern Road.
The site already has planning permission but for a fairly unimaginative scheme. We are turning that around to provide something with the emphasis on imagination.
As I’ve said before, architects attempting to be imaginative is always a cause for concern. But it seems that Mr McCloud’s imagination is actually rather limited.
We want to put in all of the things that we are suggesting for Pickards Field…. We are employing the same architects as the Pickards Field site, so it will be very much in the same vein.
So in reality no imagination at all, just a scaled back copy of something he prepared earlier. Just as a Barratt Home looks the same from Devon to Northumberland, so it appears to be with a HAB House too.
Of course, no development would be complete without a faux consultation.
We would like to break ground this year, or at least some time within the next 12 months. Before then there will be an extensive period of consultation. We want to make sure residents are involved every step of the way.
No doubt in much the same way as he has for the Pickard’s Small Field development. It’s one thing to involve people, another entirely to actually pay any attention to what they say. And on the Pickard’s Small Field development he is now clearly in “La la la, I’m not listening” mode.
I’m under no illusion that there are some residents who have very vociferous views on certain issues. But I think some of the criticisms are unfair…. We have taken on board what residents have said to us and made amendments accordingly. We want to work with the community on this project.
It seems to me that anything Mr McCloud has taken on board from local residents has very quickly been chucked back over the side again.
Now I don’t support some of the more nimby criticisms of either the Pickard’s Small Field or the Northern Road developments; but neither do I support developers giving a pretence of fluffy environmental cuddliness when in reality they’re just as commercial as the rest.