Grot Spots of 2012
September 10th 2012
The ABM building
The site of the former Brown's garage
Louth bus station
The New Orleans Jazz Club frontage
The ABM building
Vacant shops in Upgate
Some places just need a lick of paint
It's hard to talk about grot spots without mentioning that obvious elephant in the room, the former Malt Kiln. Demolition on this building began in January 2004. It was one of the first things I reported on this blog, back when it started up (yes, it's been around that long). Not long after that work ceased, as soon as people discovered the ABM building was full of asbestos and the site would cost a vast amount to clean up. So we're stuck with this ugly, unsafe industrial building clogging up the skyline, until someone redevelops it.
In Newmarket, the site of the former Brown's garage is blighted by piles of empty bottles. Notably this place, like the ABM building, is awaiting development. It has been the subject of planning applications for a supermarket by Sainsburys.
When it comes to undeveloped land, this neglect and urban decay is suspicious. The land at Brown's is a disgrace, it looks very noticeably unsightly. So when someone like me highlights it, it's tempting to look at it and say "something must be done, it's spoiling the look of our town." However, change should not come at any cost, because that's how unscrupulous developers get permission to build things that aren't beneficial for the wider community.
There are other ways to tackle this. According to the government's Derelict Land and Section 215 Powers document, the "Town and Country Planning Act (1990) provides local authorities with an additional, discretionary power for requiring landowners to clean up 'land adversely affecting the amenity of the neighbourhood'."
The horse stepsThe area of the Gatherums which leads to Aswell Street is rough and unpaved, and it has been for some time. This part of town isn't so much neglected as awaiting funding. The Gatherums and Springside Regeneration Group have plans to renovate it, but until they do it remains one of Louth's grot spots.
Empty shopsThe town has quite a few vacant premises, such as these in Upgate, pictured right. They make Louth look a little forbidding, but Kate Levey has shown how such places can be brightened up with photographic displays.
Lick of paintSometimes the ugliness is a result of deliberate vandalism, such as these smashed-in windows at the bus station. The station is usually very well-maintained, but the council has a lot of work to keep it that way. Other times, it's a matter of places needing a lick of paint and few repairs. Perhaps we need the equivalent of a Lovely Louth competition for exterior decoration instead of flowers, to give people an incentive to get painting?
From my point of view those are the areas most in need of a clean-up. There aren't that many of them, and in part two I highlight the more aesthetically pleasing side of Louth.
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