Posted in Highbridge on Tuesday 9th October 2007 at 10:44pm

Not strictly a Highbridge related tale, but a cautionary pointer from a plastic seabird in a near neighbour!

Recently, new signage was erected all over Weston-super-Mare in an effort to make the town 'legible' to visitors. The new signage was plagued with errors, omissions and the inclusion of strange details which were unlikely to interest even the most avid fan of the slowly decaying resort. Tonight, as I made my way home via the railway station, I noted the allegedly humourous comedy seagull which sits atop the sign had apparently tired of his vigil over the hordes who pour out of town to jobs in Bristol each day. Or, more possibly perhaps, locals had brought the country into town with a good old fashioned duck hunt?

Gull Power?
Gull Power?

The gull seems to point to a potential future for the town. At a time when Weston struggles to redefine it's purpose and to attract serious business to an area which couples commuter-belt affluence with some of the most deprived wards in the country, a nosedive seems worryingly close. The parallels with the reinvention of Highbridge as a low-income dormitory outwith Burnham's walls are troubling,

Movebook Link


Posted in Highbridge on Monday 8th October 2007 at 11:33pm

In a casual conversation with a work contact last week, we got to discussing Highbridge. He'd recently flown his Microlite Aircraft over the town, and had taken some photographs for colleagues concerned about changes to the road layout. When I mentioned that the development site was on my doorstep, he offered to share some of the images with me. The southern part of Highbridge from the air appears surprisingly green and spacious. Comparing the image below with the same site on Google Maps highlights the absence of the industrial units and bus garage which defined this part of town.

The ASDA Highbridge Site (picture by Chris Rubery)
The ASDA Highbridge Site

I notice too the intrusion of Newtown Lake into the top left of the picture. It's interesting that this represents a bit of Highbridge I rarely think of or see, which is shockingly close by when viewed from the air. What is even more striking is the size of the new development, and how it will dominate the town once opened in November.

A larger image is here.

Movebook Link

Posted in Highbridge on Sunday 9th September 2007 at 10:30pm

Highbridge has had it's new roundabout for a week or so now. The contractors could be seen last week working well into the evenings to finish the road markings and segregated cycle facilities. Finally, only a little over a month late, the new road alignment opened to traffic. Almost immediately it caused problems. The long straggling queue of holiday traffic refused to acknowledge it, and ploughed endlessly forward. These people are habitual holidaymakers who perform this exodus to the southwest every year. They cannot countenance a change in the layout and drive ahead regardless. A few mount the kerb of the circle, or scrape the barriers in their attempt to retread the same ground as last summer.

The roundabout doesn't work - the volume of traffic on the north-south axis won't allow it to function as designed. Maybe in a few weeks time when the holidaymakers have gone home traffic will flow gracefully around the network again, but it's clear that for whole months of the year we will experience delays just like before. Once again a major developer is allowed to butcher the fragile infrastructure of Highbridge in the pursuit of profit, with no thought for how the town can continue to work.

Meanwhile, work on the superstore continues apace. The great white hulk is barely visible from the road, behind the houses and tucked in next to the waste transfer station. From the railway however, a low brick wall forms the boundary of the site and the extent of the building can be seen more clearly. For now at least, Springfield Road has disappeared. A strip of tarmac, now a contractors' car park, exits oddly onto the throat of the new roundabout. The area is a no-mans-land for pedestrians, and an appearance with a camera is now greeted with outright hostility.


Posted in Highbridge on Sunday 20th May 2007 at 4:21pm

Once again I've spent the weekend at home. Whilst the dust settles on work troubles of career-shattering proportions, it's been good to have some security and stability - not to mention being within walking distance of a couple of fine public houses. This weekend my uncle visited. Like me, he walks almost everywhere and can't drive a car, and I've always seen him as something of a kindred spirit in that he seems to experience places very directly and differently to others. He would scoff at the idea of analysing his walks of course, and would find the idea of theorising place or walking quite ridiculous. Nevertheless, his observations and comments are always welcome.

Over the course of the weekend we made a couple of excursions locally. Usually our walks occur as brief detours on an otherwise purposeful outing, but on Saturday I proposed a wander to the site of the new ASDA supermarket on Springfield Road. There is really very little left to see here. The vast plot of land taken is now bare, and the skeleton of the new store has risen in the southeastern corner of the site. The waste transfer station, the owner holding out for a council ransom, still obscures much of the store. There is no sign of development of the shopping mall and offices which were promised, but work seems to continue apace on the seemingly enormous car park.

Slicing through the centre of the site, Springfield Road survives - just. Its western end is now a parking area for site officers and security staff, who made a huge scene when I appeared with a camera last week. As the lane progresses towards the railway, it regains its quiet and overgrown origins as it passes the waste transfer site, where ASDA have no interest in the road any longer. The iron gate to the railway tracks still creakily swings in the wind. Quite what will become of the Public Right of Way once ASDA control the approach is beyond me. Turning back, the open views from Bristol Bridge to Grange Avenue are both surprising and rather shocking. Like a huge strip of the town has been swept clean and flattened. The presence of the site staff make this once tranquil spot quite menacing and unwelcoming. We head back to civilisation, with no police involvement this time.



I've had a home on the web for more years than I care to remember, and a few kind souls persuade me it's worth persisting with keeping it updated. This current incarnation of the site is centred around the blog posts which began back in 1999 as 'the daylog' and continued through my travels and tribulations during the following years.

I don't get out and about nearly as much these days, but I do try to record significant events and trips for posterity. You may also have arrived here by following the trail to my former music blog Songs Heard On Fast Trains. That content is preserved here too.

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