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Did we ruin town to accomadate cars?
8:00pm Friday 16th May 2014 in Letters
WHAT a pleasant series of photographs
is Jeffrey Saunders’
coloured shots of Andover's
streets during the 1960s and early
70s, representing a final look
round before almost everything
was changed by town development.
One can’t help noticing the contrast
between those views and the
ugliness of the same view today.
Recent writers to this page have
expressed incredulity that such
delightful buildings were
destroyed in the name of progress.
Buildings lining the ancient
streets that were first laid out
some hundreds of years ago when
the only transport was by horse
and cart, evolved slowly as old
houses were converted first into
simple shop fronts and later given
a completely new facade as the
This process, continuous but
slow, enabled development that
was new but was rarely out of harmony
with what stood around it.
Those buildings composed of
brick and stone aged well, while
those 1960s buildings created out
of concrete only get more dirty
Besides the wholesale destruction
of the town centre and its rebuilding
during what was probably
the worst period of architectural
design in history, Andover,
like all towns, has had to adapt to
the needs of the motor vehicle.
When Jeffrey Saunders was going
round with his camera, there was
of course much traffic around the
town. A battle for supremacy was
still raging between cars, lorries,
buses and the railways.
Today the motor car is everywhere.
Successive councils have
tried to balance the demands of
the motorist with the safety of
One, latest idea is cycle paths; it
is no longer safe for cyclists on the
roads, so they now have to be
found space on the pavement with
increased danger for the pedestrian
who might mistakenly walk on
the cycle path.
Perhaps we will soon get ring
paths to enable cyclists to avoid
the town, the traffic and the careless
pedestrians. One wonders
where it will all lead? Can it all
continue? Perhaps in 100 years
from now everything will have
changed again; the car will be no
more and we will look back to
wonder why we wantonly ruined
our towns to accommodate it.
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