A Developer's Dream

With hindsight it is easy to regard the Magdalen Street flyover and Anglia Square as a planning mistake. Great swathes of historic buildings and street patterns that had been some of the city’s major arteries for over a thousand years, were wiped away in the 1960s rush to modernise. 

It is worth considering the dreams that led us there: the aspiration of a post-war generation keen to remove war damage and build a new, space-age future, one characterized by hope for a better world.  

Let us find what we need in a new self-service economy, it declared, where we can freely associate in clean precincts abundant with new luxuries; accommodating, but undisturbed by, the necessity of the motor car. 

We wanted our developer to capture this spirit of determination to break with the past and the almost blind confidence that places could be built where all our needs would be met. The impulse was a good one, but the execution was unarguably insensitive, and many still live with the brutal consequences. 

So this is a song full to the brim with that spirit, and one of the highlights of the last stage in Anglia Square. Its brash and bouncing naivety serves only to emphasise the irony of failure, as well as our awareness that it may be about to happen all over again.  The hopeful 60s rhythms were enjoyed by all. Many joined in the OohSha-la-las in the chorus, building to a soaring crescendo and leading us into a future that, somehow, did not turn out quite as we thought it might …

Listen to the Stump Cross Singers sing ‘A Developer’s Dream’ (BBC Voices)

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