Planning M.O.R.O.N.: Architectural award for planning errors

Chris sez, "The residents of Little Green Street are fighting against developers who trying to use one of London's very few remaining original Georgian streets as a lorry run to a site they're trying to develop just north of Kentish Town. The battle has been going on for years now with the local council, Camden, refusing permissions at every step but losing appeals.

"Now it looks like the developers may be going ahead with their plan, which will include running ten-tonne trucks up a cobbled street (which won't stay authentic Georgian for very long, then). This is a street which is so narrow even taxi drivers refuse to drive up it. Anyway, the residents (led by my good friend Nick Goodall) have launched a new category of architectural award, the MORONS (Many Obvious Reasons Overcome Nothing) to celebrate their own and others' planning stupidities.

"The whole site is well worth a read, with stupidity piled on idiocy heaped on lunacy; for example it turns out the developers don't actually own part of the site where they're planning to build; the Council themselves refused permission for the building trucks to pass through their estate at the rear of the development because it would be 'too dangerous' but the same trucks can pass up a narrower (much narrower) street lined with listed buildings; and so on."

The Planning Moron™ Awards 2009 (Thanks, Chris!)


    1. While I normally wouldn’t suggest people take this sort of thing into their own hands, in this case I agree with Chris…caltrops are exactly what’s called for.

      1. …and the ten tonne truck veers out of control due to blow out of steering tyres and kills a child that was on the sidewalk.

        1. Jeebus! You’re dense. Who, in their right mind would only use one caltrop.

          You throw a bunch of them under the tires, front and rear.

          I’m surprised I have to explain this.

    2. The trucks are allowed to drive there legally and yet you suggest an illegal (caltrops) attack in retaliation with very little thought of the consequences.
      I drive many unsurfaced country byways of Britain quite legally but some are opposed to that activity so they place such things as spiked lengths of wood into puddles and trenches in an effort to dissuade. They give little thought to the horse riders that also use the same routes and fall foul to these traps.
      If there is justification there are legal ways to impose restrictions on traffic.

      1. I’m with you – let the trucks drive it and wreck the antique roads and the antique houses. Who cares, except for a few people who want to slash their tires and throw bombs through their windshields and kill everyone. Why we want to protect a bunch of car-hating, bomb-throwing anarchists is beyond me.

      2. The trucks are allowed to drive there legally and yet you suggest an illegal (caltrops) attack in retaliation with very little thought of the consequences.

        The consequences? Flattened tires on the first truck, no way for subsequent trucks to get past it, and a huge, expensive hassle to remove the disabled truck.

        With the promise of the same thing happening to the NEXT 10 ton truck that tries to make its way down a 7 foot wide street.

        Caltrops are cheap. Steel tube, an arc welder that runs off the mains and a grinder to make the points.

        Your heartfelt concern for the rights of the developers is VERY touching.

        Your heartfelt disregard for the rights of the homeowners to not have their street and homes damaged by these huge trucks is a dead giveaway.

        You’re really nothing more than some Randroid/Libertarian, aren’t you?

        Pounds Shillings Pence Uber Alles and screw the little guy who dares to oppose the developers who don’t give a toss about the actual street or the houses that front on the street and the damage that will result from their trucks.

        1. “the little guy who dares to oppose the developers who don’t give a toss about the actual street or the houses that front on the street and the damage that will result from their trucks.”

          absolutely. not to mention damage to the property values on the street. with evil developers vs hipsters and yuppies. it’s rly a hard call.

  1. This is Briton, we don’t do common sense and we don’t have any colonies to send the bleating hearts and liberals to.

  2. Caltrops aren’t going to solve the problem.

    An Arthur Dent flash mob and a couple of phone calls to press and TV, on the other hand…

  3. Can the city sell the street to a private individual [with a proviso to sell it back after the fracas]? If nothing else, it should delay everything.

    1. Doubt it seeing it’s a public highway and hold rights of way. What may be possible is for the council right of way officer to place a temporary TRO (Traffic Regulation Order) on it if there is justification that damage may result. For instance, the TRO could limit the the max weight of vehicle allowed to use that road section. From experience of TRO’s of unsurfaced byways, a temp TRO could be placed on the road immediately while a survey is carried out to assess if they may be a problem caused by 10 tonne vehicles using the route.

      Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs) are legal documents which are created to control or restrict the movement or waiting of traffic to:

      Assist traffic flows
      Control or direct traffic
      Improve the safety of road users
      Preserve or improve the character or amenity of an area
      Prevent serious damage to roads, bridges etc.
      Reduce and manage congestion

    2. Websorcerer, that doesn’t work here. A road is usually a public right of way, and taking private ownership of them is spectacularly non-trivial (deliberately so).

  4. It looks interesting, but the user interface nightmare that is makes it annoying if you want to read the whole story. Yay Reverse Chronology.

  5. A TRO is the correct way to do it.

    The Dutch punk way to do it would be to park a scrap car in the way, let the tyres down, saw the roof off, fill it with dirt and plant flowers in it.

    Daffs would be lovely.

  6. Not being British, the following may not apply, but . . .

    Why not make the street a pedestrian only area, at least temporarily, no vehicles allowed?

  7. suggestion:
    Pave it over with a foot of asphalt…seriously. I’ll explain why.
    When I started work as an undergrad at an Archaeology Research lab one of the guys I met had a perfectly preserved Civil War era (U.S. about 1840ish) red clay brick sitting on his filing cabinet. The story goes like this. A local riverfront town wanted to change drainage for a main thoroughfare. No one knew how long the pavement had been undertaken, but the road had built up so much that the original shop entrances, etc. were at doorknob level to the street. They were gonna have to spend billions to excavate the entire darn thing.
    So they call this guy, the archaeologist, and he sinks a couple of test pits. It turns out that he finds layer after layer of asphalt and gravel and more and whatever they had, just chucked down onto the original antebellum brick, *that was still in place*. He pulled that stuff up and found evidence of plank roads below that.
    So, cover the entire street in saranwrap and then dunk it in asphalt… it’ll be there forever.

  8. Would someone please explain to me why the story of the spitting old men made me want to travel back in time to chop their bench into smithereens and yet, the thought of a truck driving down that lovely street to build, what we call here in Brooklyn, “luxury condos” makes me want to murder the driver?

  9. ugh have you seen the monstrosity the developers want to build there? (Camden one, the redbrick ‘modern on a budget’ one).

    Horrible, I’ve no major love for rich Highgate NIMBYs and luvvies like Tom Conti but really, it does seem a bit naff; and the street way too small.

    Seconded on the Caltrops, and maybe dropping nasty things on their trucks, and refusing to budge and let the trucks through in mass protest.

    And totally ostracising the people who move there if it is built and make them not part of the community and force them to move – be actually nasty to them as anyone with a Google should notice the hatred for the development…

    Just a few thoughts ;-)

  10. I like the suggestions to pave the street or put a car planter. There has to be another way to the construction site surly.

  11. How about finding something archeological that would preclude further digging in the area until the scientists were through?

  12. Stand in the road for 5 minutes….then some one else does it for 5 minutes…then another. By the time the police get there you are gone…make it too much trouble and time and they will choose another route.

      1. Did I mention they store and transport flat when disassembled? No poking holes in your hand, pocket or pack. Designed by the CIA to travel in a shoe heel until deployed on a Cuban road.

  13. We need a MORON award for the Central Subway here in San Francisco. They’re building a subway that connects to a train station — which would be great, but that train station will soon be removed. Oops!

  14. I used to walk this street almost every day as I lived in a building just off it (via a little tunnel).
    Practically every single other thing around it could do with bulldozing.
    They should leave this little street alone.

  15. My first thought on viewing the photo was ‘Aw, just leave them people alone!’. . .but with many friends in the construction fields, I must remind that ‘You Can’t Stop Progress!’ (much as you might want to with your caltrops and Claymores. . .)

    People gotta work. Trucks gotta roll. Building a Better Tomorrow Today. . .etc etc

    The council’s attitude of ‘Don’t disturb my backyard, but inconveniencing you is quite alright.’ is rather suspect however. . .

    I’d say find a better route, but what do I know? But as a San Franciscan I second Xenu’s MORON nomination for the Central Subway project. From the Caltran terminal to Chinatown. 1.7 miles. $948 million projected (needless to say hahahahaha)

    I don’t think we need it.

    But this project is actually partly due to the aftermath of the ’89 quake: before the Embarcadero freeway was torn down due to damage sustained, Chinatown merchants fought to rebuild it, as they felt losing the off ramp would affect business. It did. But I’ve heard this subway is the result of those political dealings to make the businesses in Chinatown capitulate.

  16. A caltrop that will puncture a lorry tyre can be made from a potato and 3 to 5 large, sharp ring-shank nails.

    Sharpening up 6″ steel gutter spikes with a leatherman will do the job. If you don’t sharpen them, or use the aluminium gutter spikes, they are less effective (and also safer for pedestrians and bikes) but still serve as a visible deterrent. If you put 50 lbs of potato caltrops on your street at 4:30 AM it’s considered sporting to also rope it off and put up a large sign saying “ROAD CLOSED DUE TO ANGRY TUBERS” or similar.

    A sack of potatoes and a box of gutter spikes run pretty cheap and you can make them up very quickly. You can buy the spikes somewhere out of town with cash.

    Uh, I mean, that’s what I’ve heard. Um, on chatroulette, yeah, that’s were I heard it,yeah. Some guy named “Captain Richard Swing” who seemed to have an unusually small head.

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