Friday, 17 October 2014

Anything but Armadale

the magnificent Southdale development
The magnificent Southdale development - near Armadale
You know, it's a few weeks since I brought you my expert planner's take on a new development. One of my fans recently drew my attention to a place called Southdale which is very close to Armadale which many of you will know is one of the darkest of Central Scotland's black spots - like the aptly named Blackridge - only bigger and blacker. In fact Southdale is a rebadged part of Armadale - a clever move, and much better than calling the area Legadale in my humble view.

As the developer's website points out via a useful timeline for the project, this has been many years in the making. Centuries in fact since the timeline starts in the year 1500.

We've seen before how important it is to get the name of a development right and often developers will change names in mid-course if it will result in higher profile and profits. We saw this happening at Caltongate in Edinburgh which has been rebranded as New Waverleygate. It's now a tour de force and an 'international benchmark for sensitive and innovative development' instead of  an 'incompetently designed clumping heap of over-developed trash' - not my words of course!

The Southdale Development seems to have been designed by Ema. It's great to see women taking a lead in our exciting world of planning and property development - isn't it?  I'm not sure who she is but she's done a great job.  It's what we could call Non-planning - look out for it as it's the coming thing and will soon be trending in exclusive planning and architectural circles now that I have mentioned it here. John Glenday of Urban Realm will inevitably ask me to write about it soon. Let me explain.

The idea of non-planning is that you take a piece of land owned by a greedy developer, divide it up into useful parcels and sell it off to whoever is interested. This is how Southdale was created. Honestly it is as simple as that! People like Taylor Wimpey, Arnold Clark, Bellway, Asda and Marstons will jump into bed with you before you can say A+DS! Non-planning means that you can forget about the usual stuff about plaice-making, public realm, mixed use (already outdated), walking distance and shared surfaces - my goodness I'm yawning already just typing these words!

As for architecture the great thing about Non-planning is that you simply don't bother - it really is a great timesaver and it produces the goods. No worries about materials, style, building heights etc - it's great and it looks as if Ema has captured the market here. Well done her!

This magnificent development gets a gold star and a big tick in my little black book. My hearty congratulations go out to everyone involved in it. It sets a perfect example for others who aspire to similar money-making activities across the Central Belt and I would be surprised if it wasn't up for an award or two in the near future.

All the best from Auchterness and cheeriebye for now.


yellow book said...

As so often before, we're indebted to you for bringing this world-class development to the attention of a national - and international - audience. More non-planning please!

Dave Thompson said...

Thank you Yellow Book - I'm humbled to be praised by such an August organisation that leads the field with so many diverse parameters. Lang may your lumb reek.

Yours in planning - Dave T