Sunday, 30 March 2014

Dundee - you've had your chips!

The wonderful Biomass Plant would have been  a tremendous addition to Dundee's Waterfront
The wonderful Biomass Plant would have been
a tremendous addition to Dundee's Waterfront

You know, I was disappointed to read in the Courier the other day that plans for a £325 million woodchip-burning biomass plant at Dundee harbour have been scrapped. It would have been great! But it was not to be.

As many of you will know, Royalist Director of City Development in Dundee, Mike Galloway OBE, has spent many years trying to recreate an old fashioned street block arrangement on the city's waterfront. It's the same sort of thing that the Prince of Wales favours and has built in Poundbury - I reflected on that some years ago. It struck me that if you want to recreate an olde worlde environment - what we Expert Planners might call Traditional Urbanism - you need a lot of additional features to make it work properly. Never mind dressing up in old clothes - folk in Dundee do that anyway - but the presence of a smoke producing woodchip plant on the waterfront would have gone a long way to recreating the foggy historic atmosphere that Royalist Planners aspire too.
An artist's impression of rush hour in the new
historic waterfront environment

Smog was a killer of course but so is the type of planning that hampers innovation in renewable energy through an "unwilling and inflexible" system of development management - to quote Forth Energy which is a partnership between Forth Ports and Scottish and Southern Energy.

I've mention Forth Ports before in glowing terms. Their involvement in Leith Docks, where they have created an epicentre of dynamic growth, is well known and lauded by expert planners - like me! They are just like Clydeport (now Peelports) - except they are on the east coast! Once the custodians of beloved rivers and docks, they are now rapacious property developers, profiting from the gift of former public land that has lain unused for years by the public sector robber barons. It is only right and proper that Forth Ports have done well out of this and their public concern for renewable energy is yet another feather in their very smart corporate cap.
Some folk from Dundee complaining about the wonderful biomass plant
Some folk from Dundee
complaining about the wonderful biomass plant

Of course the foolish people of Dundee are partly responsible for the loss of this tremendous facility. Their opposition to anything and everything is a sickening factor and of course they are the enemies of enterprise and progressive thinking. They have no place in the New Scottish Enlightenment. Forth Energy just need to keep pushing and they will overcome the quiche-eating sandal-wearing drop-outs that populate public meetings with their vile garlic breath and ill-fitting khaki shorts.

Finally, it seems obvious to me as an expert planner that the architecture of the proposed biomass plant was simply stunning - penned by Gordon Murray, the talent half of the now disbanded Murray Dunlop practice known as GoMAD - and is far superior to the ridiculous architecture of the proposed colonial arts outpost just along the waterfront - ie the Victoria and Albert thing by Kenco Kuma. In any case, Kenco is a brand of coffee I don't like-  so there. When I read that opponents of the biomass project "feared the building dominated by a 90-metre stack would cast a dark shadow over the waterfront and compromise regeneration efforts", I had to laugh at their pitiable ignorance.

Anyway, Forth Energy deserve my hearty congratulations for trying so hard with this excellent proposal which would have brought much needed economic, environmental and architectural benefit to this blighted corner of Scotland. There will be other opportunities to make this happen in the future and I have written to Forth Energy offering my services as an Expert Planning Consultant. We will see what they have to say. Best wishes to all my fans for a great week and see you again soon at Auchterness. Cheeriebye!

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