Pebbledash and paintworkMr McCloud seems increasingly inconsistent in his attempts to flog his development plans to the people of Swindon. It’s only a couple of weeks since he was claiming that his Northern Road development would be ‘imaginative’.

The site already has planning permission but for a fairly unimaginative scheme. We are turning that around to provide something with the emphasis on imagination.

I’ve never regarded pebbledash, his latest idea, as imaginative.

We are deliberately drawing back to the railway cottages. They are an inspiration for us. The pebbledashed buildings of Swindon are wonderful. I am trying to persuade our architects to do that with these, but I’m not sure they are going to agree.

Either Mr McCloud is unaware of the history of pebbledashing, or he’s trying to dress-up plans for low quality housing as something special. Pebbledashing of many houses in central Swindon is not an original feature. It was added much later, to hide the mismatch in materials or poor work when later building work was done. Its most common use in Swindon’s Victorian terraces is to hide the filling-in where the original windows have been replaced by wider 20th Century ones.

This is about offering great design on a budget. People get the light, space, storage, height and glamour but on a normal budget.

Glamorous pebbledash? It’s surprising that Mr McCloud should choose to associate his HAB Housing company with something that’s a signature of poor quality building work and the urban sprawl of the 1930s.