This morning I watched helplessly as yet another front garden disappeared to make way for yet another car parking space. Just why people do this I have no idea. Our once beautiful, well appointed, road is being turned into an urban jungle by the very people who live there. The antique red sandstone walls that have stood for over 100 years are being pulled down, the front courtyards of tiny lawns, shrubbed borders, and flower beds ripped out so that a car can be parked where once birds sang and bees and butterflies fluttered.
This morning this was a garden with a front hedge, a side hedge, lavender beds, and somewhere to sit on a summer's evening. This evening it is an unfinished car park.
How stupid, how totally unnecessary, how completely brutal.
Of course, it’s all part of the modern disease of ownership and status, driven by the paranoia of ‘strangers’ potentially parking outside people’s houses and the perceived need for residents to be able to park their precious vehicles a few feet from their own front door.
How unnecessary, how totally stupid.
During the day parking in the road can be difficult. The policy of the council to make it hard for workers to park in Altrincham at low cost and to put parking meters on nearby residential streets, has led to this problem. Add to this the ludicrous demand for residents only parking and the issues are compounded, pushing ‘residents only’ people onto ‘non-residents only’ parking roads because they don’t want to have to pay for a second permit. Altogether it’s a recipe for the destruction of the road’s character; the very reason people moved into our road in the first place.
Until recently I could sit in my front garden and look out on trees and flowers and watch other residents doing the same. Increasingly I sit on my bench looking at cars and vans, hemmed in by lumps of metal squeezed into spaces far too tight for them.
Did I mention how stupid and unnecessary this is?
There is plenty of on-road parking outside working hours even with the less than thought-through actions of the council, or at least there would be if the people who have destroyed their gardens actually parked in the spaces they vandalised their frontages for.
But of course they don’t, instead they park on the road or across those bloody sanctimonious white lines in front of their paved open-fronted houses These same white lines further reduce on-road parking by being a car and a half lengths long, and are guarded with heated blood and threats. All a bit short sighted, selfish and bullying which is why I ignore them; after all they are only advisory, not legally binding and not prosecutable if infringed upon. Some residents even put cones out to protect these spaces while they are out for the day, which is illegal so I carefully move them to their empty drives.
It seems that the tiniest bit of inconvenience, sharing space they don’t actually own on the public highway, has driven some of my neighbours mad with ‘get off my land’ fever and they will do anything to protect their pitch. I’ve seen neighbours arguing with parked non-residents as if it really was their land and not the public highway. These are the same residents who’d rather destroy what little space and land they had then steal the road space in front of their house, marking it as their own.
I can’t understand why, given our houses are around 120 years old and each is part of a matching townhouse terrace, there isn’t a need for planning permission to change the frontage. This type of uncontrolled radical change is significant; unsightly at best, vandalism at worst and I would oppose it. But of course I don’t get the chance.
I generally like my neighbours. It’s a nice community. But when I see what has happened over the last 10 years, the negative changes these very same people have made to the look, feel, and harmony of the road, I am not at all sure that I like them as much as I used to or should.