‘Industrial abattoir’ splits town

The Riverside Development in Buckingham.'110810M-B389
The Riverside Development in Buckingham.'110810M-B389

The near completion of Buckingham’s latest development has made many in town an architecture critic.

The outside shell of the Riverside development, on the former White Hart car park, has nearly been completed and the finishing touches are being put to the roof.

Construction of the scheme, which includes 99 one-bedroom apartments, a two bedroom coach house and three three-bedroom three bathroom townhouses, started in July 2008 and was halted for several months during a slowdown in the housing market.

Now the outside of the development looks close to completion.

But the appearance of the scheme has split opinion.

Former Maids Moreton resident, Jon Foster-Smith called the development ‘an industrial abattoir’ while Tony Mayston called it ‘ghastly.’

But Buckingham Society acting chairman, Carolyn Cumming, urged people to wait for it to be finished before passing judgement.

She said: “The proof of the pudding will be when it is completed and the hoardings come down.

“Certainly, the designs were approved by all sorts of bodies. The development did go through several permutations and it would be difficult to analyse it until it is fully fitted out.

“English Heritage and the Buckingham Society looked at the plans. We thought the design looked good on paper.

“I am reserving judgement until it is finished, the hoardings are down and the landscaping is complete. Any building without its windows or doors does look like an industrial site.”

Another resident, Barbara Farmer, of Bourton Road, wrote to the Advertiser, saying the building was ‘monstrous.’

She said: “I do not know how the plans got passed in the first place. What an eyesore as you approach the town.”

Buckingham town councillor, Robin Stuchbury, said he had been approached by several town residents unhappy with the look of the development.

Town historian Ed Grimsdale, who is on the Buckingham Society, said he felt ‘responsible’ as he was part of the group which gave its approval for the design.

He said: “This is not a good introduction to the town and it doesn’t suit us very well. I’m not against development at all I like modern buildings - but in terms of its scaling and its position, this one is a failure and I must admit, I though it would be OK.”

He added Bridge Street had already been affected by construction traffic so once residents had moved in it would cause a major problem during rush hour.

No one from developer, Lagan Homes, was available to comment at time of going to press.