Fawley Tower

The view has changed from my bedroom window, I watched it change through the rain, my window open so I could hear the change happen.  7am 31st October 2021.  

So what was the change and why am I feeling so sad?

Today the Fawley power station chimney came down.  198 metres or 650ft of chimney who’s building was completed in 1969 (same year as I was born) and commissioned as part of  the oil fired power station in 1971. It has been a landmark ever since, the lights that shone from the top showed the way home, if you were lost – you just found the tower and you knew you could get home. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fawley_Power_Station#cite_note-24

Falcons have been nesting there for many years.  I heard them scream this morning as they flew away.

Video credit Paula Cripps

So why do I feel so sad? After all we need clean energy, oil power needs to be a thing of the past,  the power station hasn’t been used since 2013, apart from lots of media projects like star wars using the control room as sets.  You would think I would be pleased to see a relic of co2 producing power gone….. 

But the power station is being replaced by a huge development  – here is a quote from the website 

The Masterplan

Our ambition is to build one of the most beautiful small towns in England. A place with solid economic purpose, that has been very deliberately designed to mix jobs, homes and services.

Fawley Waterside will be a place that is attractive to both people and commerce. This new sustainable community will be home to around 4,000 people with a significant proportion working close by. It will be defined by the beauty of its buildings and places, countryside and coast.

You can read the rest of it on the companies website http://future.fawleywaterside.co.uk/the-masterplan/

You will note they want to build a small town, not just on the site of the power station but over a larger footprint.  To be fair to the people behind the plans, this could be anywhere in the UK. My sadness is not just for this area and is not just about what they are doing, we are doing this all over the UK, as well as the rest of the world, and it is damaging to everything that calls this planet its home. 

Let’s look at why – There seems to be a belief that we need new housing – in the same way we have been building square boxes, with high prices, for years. .  Do we need new housing or do we need more homes? There is a huge difference. 

There is a belief that new jobs will be created,  new shops and other community resources will be built and improvements to the surrounding roads will happen as part of the development. Please call me skeptical but I will believe it when I see it.  Of course the question is, do we need them or are they the sweeteners used to make us approve of the plans. Will they get built or like the planned use of the tower as a tourist attraction get swept by the by as too costly, too difficult or what other excuse was made at the time – after planning permission was given to the building of a town between two very small villages. 

Now if we are insisting we need more housing, could it be done in a way that does less harm? A way  does not replace the untouched wild land – a place rich in biodiversity, with a managed ‘space for nature’?  Can we build using more natural materials that are truly renewable and fit within the circles of the world, adding more by their use than we take?  

I doubt it, there is one major driving factor behind this and all other developments in the UK, and most of the world. That factor has always been greed. 

If we plan our actions with care towards the biosphere, everyones and every species home,  care for people follows naturally. When we act with care before greed, everyone benefits not just the few.  Care does not stop profit – it spreads it more evenly. 

If you see this happening where you live and you think it is not right, please take action, make your voice heard, find others in your community and act before it is too late. I wish we had.

Update – the day before the tower came down my son Robbie and his friend went to see the tower one last time. The weather was very different, and the Ahoy Shipmate team were filming, and asked for their thoughts.

You can now watch that video on Youtube https://youtu.be/mswPaepDZfw

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