From There… To Here

The social history of Wester Hailes


Mapping History 3- Planning For The Future

As urban populations have grown dramatically and towns and cities have expanded into new areas, Governments – national and local – have sought to direct and control  what gets built.

Because of this, a different type of map has been produced with increasing frequency. New buildings, new roads, whole new neighbourhoods conceived and planned in advance of a single brick being laid.

Such plans are maps of the future. What should be, what might be, as opposed to what is. And they are records of a process – from theory and concept, through outline to detailed proposals and on to the final version which the builder actually builds.

The basic shape of Wester Hailes envisaged by its initial plan was like a giant letter “C” – from Hailes Quarry in the north, heading down along the west edge of Kingsknowe golf course, south across the railway line and then bending back east below the golf course.

Through the middle of this, running like a spine from top to bottom under the railway and over and under roads, was to be an unbroken pedestrian walkway. This, as the first planning study described it, would be “the central stem curving through the site from which all the rest of the plan would grow and develop”.

Which, in reality, was very much what got built. The “C” did indeed describe the main area of the estate and the Greenway pedestrianised route is still a main feature of Wester Hailes today, running from Dumbryden to Clovenstone exactly as intended in that first plan.

The greatest deviation between original drawings and the “as built” reality was the location and type of some of the housing. Twenty one huge multi-storey blocks were constructed which greatly increased the density of development. These were either not directly linked to the pedestrian route or angled off and away from it, defeating one of the main purposes of the original concept.

The separate contracts are shown below. 

   
   
   
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Pages From The Past

A couple of weeks ago we looked at transport, in particular the buses.  As a follow up, here’s the story behind the picture of the C55 that was withdrawn from the Calders after drivers complained about the speed bumps.  You can see the full story by clicking here on Sentinel March 1996

This week we’re also featuring Sentinel pages from March 2000. The front page is devoted to a report on problems with environmental improvement works.  Other stories include

  • More bus trouble as the C5 is withdrawn by First Bus
  • Report on the launch of “Radical Teens” a magazine produced by WHEC students
  • A football tournament between local young people and the police
  • Report on a new sponsorship deal for the Westburn based team Meadow Star