Thursday, 31 January 2013

The Ongoing Story of Hanway Place

I saw one. I saw an anonymous white HGV (heavy goods vehicle) drive into Hanway Street and attempt to turn up Hanway Place. It had already obliterated half the paving stones on the right-hand side on the way in. The driver had a consignment to deliver to a goods entrance in Hanway Street. I didn’t take a photograph. It wasn’t the chap at the wheel’s fault. HGV drivers are trained to within an inch of their lives. They have what amounts to a degree in driving. Nor was it the fault of the medieval street layout at this precious corner of the metropolis (please see previous posts). The fault of the shop? The fault of the shop’s customers? Who can we blame for this dismal state of affairs, where the precious infrastructure is being damaged and where the constant threat is that the precious infrastructure will be ‘developed’ to accommodate oversized HGVs.

Well, I went round the front of the goods entrance (it belongs to the lovely new Oxford Street Primark by the way). Yummy shop, we all shop there, don’t we? I took a picture of the shop entrance.

It seems plenty big enough for goods deliveries providing they were made at a sensible time. Oxford Street is plenty big enough to accommodate large HGVs – and in addition, its road surface is appropriate to bear the weight of HGVs. Would it not be wonderful if shops such as Primark took a lead in such matters? Showed what can be done to ensure a win-win-win for retailers, customers and London.

Can I just mention that in my extensive travels in the Low Countries and Northern France, there is never, ever a delivery lorry on city roads during daylight hours. Less noise, less pollution, less panicky time-driven driving - and with daylight hours where it is a pleasure to be in a city - whether you live there, work or study there, or are visiting.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Goods Supply for the Retailers of Oxford Street

This is what I'm looking for, the back of the building that houses Primark Oxford Street. Pleasingly robust red brick with nice art deco touches.

And here's the loading bay at ground level. Shops need to get their goods, so what to do if the back entrances encroach on the precious  heritage of medieval pathways such as Hanway Place?

Monday, 28 January 2013

Hanway Place from its Tottenham Court Road Entrance

You just know it's going to be something gorgeous down there, a set of little streets that have remained virtually unchanged for centuries.

Earlier on this blog I did a photographic survey of the glorious gables in the section of Oxford Street that runs from the Circus to Tottenham Court Road. I then did a photographic survey of the late-medieval pathway (Hanway Place) that runs from Oxford Street diagonally across to the Tottenham Court Road. Now it’s the turn of Hanway Street and Hanway Place seen from the Tottenham Court Road end. This corner of medieval London in the middle of the West End is completely magical, especially since both Westminster and Camden Councils (who share the site) have made it a conservation area. Be prepared for hyperbole.