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Review Article of the Month - March / April 2013
Overview Articles of the Life of Rochford
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Mar/Apr Review: The Good, the Bad & the Ugly of Rochford
The point of these ‘Reviews’, we have often said, is to focus the eyes of our readers on particular aspects of Rochford and Ashingdon to ‘bring the community to the community’. We have, again, often noted that even though we live here we can be oblivious to what is here under our feet, so to speak.
Back on Review page 8 - “Being Aware of History’ - we had a brief glance at the history that is all around us in the form of the buildings that go to make up the town.
We’re really sorry if you live here but the block at Golden Cross wins our ‘worst in area’ prize. The left hand small elevation is the best of the three and the opposite right hand elevation is looking simply scruffy.By the Roman standard this block fails on points 1 and 3 at least. A shame because it was probably thought good when it first went up.
The block on the top of the Square must have gone up when the Planners were looking the other way or were away on holiday, while at the bottom of West Street all local builders must be looking eagerly at a building that is going to be a maintenance nightmare, while near the top of West Street the nightmare has already arrived - ugly and in serious need of maintenance. Menacing did I hear you say?
It is a truth that the outside does not reflect the inside, The characterless box (presumably designed on the back of a cigarette packet) houses what must be one of the smartest interiors of Rochford, in Mendoza’s. When the sun shines the old post office building looks fairly tolerable but on a grey day it’s a building that never quite made it. Somehow the windows over Martins drag this into our “Oooops” category and if we described the Police Station as grotesque or beyond description, we might upset someone, so we won’t!
Remember,architecture is about interest, about buildings that deserve a second look, and these three in the Square all do something that, in our opinion at least, put them into the ‘good’ category. They are all worth standing before and casting a quizzical eye over, with their differing styles.
We would rather describe the new shops and residential units of central Rochford as ‘Interesting’ rather than good. It was perhaps impossible to compete with the Square and still seems somewhat of a backwater, but with its colours and variety of design, it is certainly ‘interesting’. (Yes, good!) Whether it will still look at good in twenty years time remains to be seen. Hopefully!
Now a little while ago we happened be sitting in Rayleigh High Street and found ourselves gazing gazing up and down the road at the architecture and from where we were (sorry Rayleigh!) we couldn’t help but think, “How ghastly this particular stretch was.” But then to be fair, we pondered, “But what’s it like back home at Rochford?” and hence this article.
Now we are aware that beauty can be in the eye of the beholder but apparently the Roman architect, Vitruvius, in his treatise on architecture, De Architectura, asserted that there were three principles of good architecture: 1) Durability - It should stand up robustly and remain in good condition, 2) Utility - It should be useful and function well for the people using it, and 3) Beauty - It should delight people and raise their spirits. Well, as most of us don’t live or work in the buildings of Rochford or Ashingdon we’re mainly going to focus on the third one and that from the outside, and so all we’re going to do is pick out some of the buildings that stood out to us as we wandered around with a camera, and give a very personal opinion about what we found. Let’s start with some of the buildings that don’t make the area the interesting place it is: