Do you remember Blue Velvet? The film about the horrible unterleben in smalltown America? Schoolboy on path finds human ear? Dennis Hoppper at his most terrifying – where are you, friend – I’m in the cupboard, sorry, please don’t kill me… I’m trying to recall if there were any bikes in it, but the grotesque scenes are so dominant that I can’t remember anything else.
So. Alsager’s dark underbelly exposed. Would you want to go for an afternoon walk down this path?
Rust, weeds, graffiti. This is the path that leads from Alsager Station to Edwards Way, running between two factories: The Chicken Factory up the end of Fields Road and Twyfords the Toilet Factory. A curse on both their houses!
Instead of embracing the opportunity to enhance the town in which they make their profits, by providing a pleasant and cared-for path, they leave us with this:
If ever there was a powerful metaphor for the decline of the public sphere in the face of private wealth, this is it. Except that it’s not a metaphor! This really is the decline of public space in the face of private profit. How did it come to this, that citizens of Alsager pass like criminals between high fences on a narrow and seedy little weed-infested footpath!
Just think what this could be like: There is unused space behind both these fences. There could be a wide verge with trees and benches…. and ducks…. children feeding ducks… cyclists riding by on their way to get a train somewhere….
I think the Twyfords site is going to be redeveloped, probably into some sort of giant shopping temple. Would it be too much to hope that the planners insist on this path being upgraded to something worthy of the town?