Carola Godman Irvine. Farmer, Campaigner & Columnist. 07-04-21

  • Written by Carola Godman Irvine
  • Posted on Apr 07, 2021
  • Articles

Spring appears to have arrived in a hurry. The beautiful warm sunny days certainly cheered everyone up. The countryside looks stunning as buds gently burst into a variety of greens, interspersed with cheerful clusters of yellow daffodils.

The cold nights have discouraged the grass but no doubt it will soon put on a spurt. As livestock farmers we are all desperate to turn our cattle out into the fields before we run out of hay and straw completely.

I have made a mental ‘note to self’, to ensure we make plenty of hay this summer to refill the barns. Hopefully the cereal crops will also produce plenty of straw, unlike last year when the early oncome of the wettest of winters, followed by a summer of excessive drought, caused mayhem with yields.

How very reassuring to see the result of a poll carried out by Deltapoll, that the British public “overwhelmingly” prefers traditional architecture over ‘brutalism’. What a perfect word to describe some the more ghastly modern buildings which offend the eye. Planners have granted permission for some of these more notable buildings on the assumption we must assume, their architects are brilliant 21 Century pioneers. The reality being questionable.

This survey found that most people like public buildings built in 19th century style through to the early 20th century best. I am surprised it has taken a poll to establish this fact.

Prince Charles, who has campaigned for decades to protect towns, cities and the countryside from ‘carbuncles’, for which he was derided, has been proved to be spot on. Let us hope that this latest revelation seeps through to current and future architects and planners. This matter includes not only public buildings but corporate, housing developments and one off private builds.

Throughout Sussex the number of hideous buildings, both private and commercial are growing. There are in particular a number of houses which have sprung up on small sites which are extraordinarily ghastly. They sit alien to their surroundings, and are an insult to the neighbours who have to look at them.

Surely organisations such as the Campaign for Rural England could step up and encourage planners to require builders to design homes which complement their surroundings, rather than fight against it?

Research in Scotland has described a paradox in the UK planning system as it tries to encourage tradition and vernacular architecture in the rural built environment. There lies an argument that hinges around the true nature of vernacular built forms in relation to changing, culturally driven and contemporary tradition, in the minds of many planners.

Our ancestors clearly had a better eye for working with and complimenting nature, and the countryside in particular. They also designed and created beautifully elegant buildings in the urban settings of towns and cities.

The Prince of Wales has been both criticised and praised for his genuine interest regarding this subject. He hit the jackpot, and the egos of many members of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) when in 1984 he compared the proposed facade for the National Gallery, to a municipal fire station. Following his comments the project was scrapped and London saved from what clearly would have been this beautiful building being defaced.

There is news that the latest victim of automation is the scarecrow. Farmers are turning to technology to protect their crops with lasers. If anyone is throwing out their Worzel Gummidges, please let me know. We could do with an army of scarecrows to scare off hundreds of ducks and geese which are decimating the winter wheat crop. To date all efforts have resulted in them rising up momentarily only to circle round and return to carry on eating!

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