All the aesthetic appeal of a cheese grater

Date: Monday 5th November 2018

Sir, May I wholeheartedly agree with Rory Stewart’s thoughtful and constructive comments (“Landscape the foundation of prosperity”, Herald, 20th October), especially his thoughts on the damage done to the approach to our lovely and historic town.

Winston Churchill said: “We shape our buildings and afterwards our buildings shape us.” Good architecture has a profound beneficial effect on our mood and feeling of wellbeing. Too little constructed of late can be described as good architecture: too much an outlet for the architect’s ego.

The desecration of the approach to our beautiful and historic town along Ullswater Road is shameful and an unwelcoming sight for the visitor and ourselves, the residents. Don’t forget we have to live with these eyesores and they will be with us for probably another 50 years.

For anyone approaching from the west and especially from the north, the pizza factory’s corrugated iron box beside the M6, jammed so close to the motorway fence that any screening is impossible, is a taste of things to come.

We pass the Environment Agency’s pink palace, built where one would like to see a historic ruin, supported by the pink concrete block boxes on the business park, followed by a huge clutter of parked cars and tin sheds before passing the more thoughtfully designed Cranstons building. But from here on it just gets worse.

The flat-roofed monstrosities in Castle Way Retail Park, so reminiscent of the style of the post-war prefab housing, are either an expression of the architect’s ego or a sign of his laziness. We pass the numbingly awful appearance of Home Bargains, a building better suited to the back of Eden Business Park, and then comes the piece de resistance, the station two-storey car park.

For the council to allow a structure which has all the aesthetic appeal of a cheese grater, constructed from galvanised iron, to be erected directly opposite Richard III’s red sandstone castle is a gross dereliction of duty. My blood boils every time I pass it.

We desperately need someone, a body to act as guardians and care for our town’s rich architectural and historic heritage now we no longer have Penrith Civic Society. The need has never been greater. Yours etc,