A grand effect, Otter Road

Whoever built this boundary wall was determined to make their home stand out. It features ornate metalwork with bars made from what appears to be rosewood and brick piers topped by metal or glass orbs. The houses in this street are some of the plainest in the area, probably built at speed to meet the needs of a growing population decades ago rather than as an architectural statement so embellishment wasn’t a priority at the time. That was left to the amateur gardeners who moved into them. Unfortunately gardens are disappearing as local home owners find them time consuming and increasingly expensive to maintain, thanks to the introduction of a charge to remove green waste. Walls and gates like these have replaced the privet hedges that once marked out suburbia. The concern I have about this kind of wall is that it seems to encourage what I think of as “compound culture”, a sense that anything the householder cares about ends at the boundary of their property. It seems to shut out rather than welcome in which, to me, raises concerns about what the householder thinks they are shutting out. More and more walls like this are appearing in Greenford and they are nearly always taller than the hedge or fence they replace. In my opinion it is time to make them a planning issue as they are changing the character of the area beyond recognition.

Images and text ©Albertina McNeill 2012. Please do not reproduce without permission. All rights reserved. Do not add any of these images to Pinterest or similar sites as this will be regarded as a violation of copyright.

This entry was published on October 9, 2012 at 10:29 pm. It’s filed under Places and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

4 thoughts on “A grand effect, Otter Road

  1. i knew the family that lived in this house in the 1950’s in fact i knew all the people who lived on Otter Road as well as most of the people who lived in Stanhope Road, i lived in the Cul-de-sac from the age of 11yrs, my grandparents and extended family lived in Stanhope Road before the war broke out. these houses where built in 1928 well before the outbreak of war. there should be a bylaw regarding this type of wall and ornaments. i consider it “one upmanship” and in bad taste for this are.i also agree with your comment about keeping the world out and requiring a council intervention, what next after these walls are allowed?

    • positivegreenford on said:

      Greenford residents complain that the area is changing for the worse but they don’t make the effort to complain when something like this is put up. I used to live in a place where any changes were heavily scrutinised because they had come to realise the value of the architectural heritage. That’s why their homes were so valuable. I am really worried about the rising heights of some of these boundaries because they seem to shut everyone else out. The police constantly warn residents about things that obstruct the view of their front doors from the street because they allow thieves to work on front doors without being seen. It also worries me that the loss of shrubs and lawns when we have such heavy rainfall is adding to run off.

  2. In my opinion, the designer is very creative. In my country, it would be a very great view.

    • positivegreenford on said:

      That’s the point! This kind of architectural feature doesn’t belong in British suburbia, it’s completely out of place. Apart from that, by paving over the garden and putting a wall in where a hedge used to be this homeowner has contributed to run off. We have more and heavier rainfall in the UK these days. The local authorities are spending millions of pounds repairing and installing underground pumps to draw off the rainwater and prevent floods. So one person is saving time and money by building a wall so that he doesn’t have to maintain a garden but everyone else has to pay for the consequences! If this person didn’t want to have a garden why did he buy a house like this?! These walls are also far too high, they shut out everyone else and undermine any sense of community. This wall might look great in Indonesia but it doesn’t work in West London.

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