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2 Oct

It would be remiss of me to allow you to gain the impression that it is all abandonment and decay in the City of Culture, by no means is that the case, oh no sirree! Here the old ambulance station is  being gently pulled apart. The car park, too, is coming down if it doesn’t fall down first. Roper Street, parts of Osborne Street  and much of Waterhouse Lane [1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ] are also if not already down then soon to be levelled. Since there was no plan to use these old buildings then by all means knock them down and build afresh. But what to build? The fallout from 2008 put an end to Princes Quay’s planned expansion. So what to do? “Hmmm I know”, says a bright spark at the Council (I’m in a generous mood, we all know there’s very little brightness in that place), “let’s borrow, oh I don’t know, about £36 million and build an arena for “bands” to perform and businesses to hold conferences and such like, (other cities have them so why not Hull?) … and lets put it where access will cause maximum disruption to traffic, and let’s make it too small, and let’s make look like a giant yellow slug erupting from the ground and let’s force it through planning after it’s been rejected and and and … let’s call it, oh I don’t know, something like, erm, Hull Venue; how about that for an idea?” See I told you it’s not at all doom and gloom.

These delightful images “borrowed” from the Hull Daily Mail.

Ten Year Plan

4 Sep
Roper Street, part of the Quay West plan.
As if to outshine even the founding fathers of the Soviet Union who had a mere five year plan Hull City Council have a grand ten year plan  This plan is different from other plans, we are told, this plan is not a Council plan, no sir, this plan belongs to you and me. Well not quite, rather “work to develop the plan so far has involved a whole range of organisations from the public, private and voluntary and community sectors”. The plan is of course endorsed by that ultimate NEPman, Lord Mandelson.
Now part of this plan involves this area; the proposed Quay West. If you read the Council’s webpage it promising an investment of between £165 million and £300 million will create between 1500 and 3000 jobs plus thousands more in construction, make up to 600,000 square feet of retail space, a new hotel and last but not least an injection of up to £40 million into the local economy. Except, of course, it won’t. No mention is made of the main backer behind this scheme pulling out three years ago; funny that don’t you think. Maybe it’s not so funny after all.
So if the Council really are looking for ideas as to what to do with this area, here’s one or two (totally uncosted, of course). Forget about a grand retail park. Hull is full of empty shops. Build lots of one and two bedroomed apartments or houses, this is social housing. There’s an acute shortage of such accommodation as the recent bedroom tax shambles has shown. Renovate these old warehouses and that foul pub make them the focus of this neighbourhood. In short bring back people to the centre of the city and sit back and watch it grow.

Peeling Pink Paint

31 Aug

At the corner of Roper Street and Waterhouse Lane stands the Music Man or what’s left of it. Old maps show this as the Victoria Tavern. I was looking for any interesting facts or features about this place but could find only one comment which mentioned warm beer in cans, indescribable toilets and walls covered in a blue fungal growth! There’s a school of thought that if you can’t think of anything nice to say then you should say nothing ….

City Daily Photo are having their monthly do with a family friendly ‘pink’ theme here.

Waterhouse Lane

29 Aug

Waterhouse Lane now runs from Castle Street and joins on to Osborne Street but formerly it ran on to the waterworks situated roughly where the City Hall now stands. As it ran alongside Princes Dock with that mix of sailors and alcohol it rightly had a reputation that lasted well after the dock had closed (just search ‘Hull red light district’ and you’ll see what I mean). Now it’s a sorry sight with planning blight hanging over it and only ugly depressing buildings serving little purpose remaining and that’s the bit they’re going to keep.