Given, there's only two cities in Devon, Plymouth and Exeter, but Croyde is a typically local village that prides itself on avoiding the city-life traits the rest of the UK is accustom to. It thrives on small local businesses, seaside tourism jobs and family run cafes. The nearest McDonald's is a good 25-minute drive, something holiday-makers often find alarming as their Deliveroo and Uber apps prove worthless.
Channel 4 series Grand Designs arrived to the small village during Wednesday night's (October 9th) episode six as Edward and Hazel put together their plans of building an artistic white lighthouse along the scenic clifftops.
Reaction from the media has branded the design as a "disaster" while those on social media have been equally as sinister.
But from a local resident who enjoys a lounge on the beach and stroll across the cliffs with a Hockings ice cream in hand, I'm here to tell you that the lighthouse isn't all doom and gloom.
Grand Designs episode 6 causes a storm
Edward and Hazel had the ambitious plan of building a "striking" white deco lighthouse with a grand four-story centre piece.
Presenter Kevin McCloud was quick to add that building on top of an eroding sandstone clifftop was "madness" yet that did nothing to discourage Edward and his plans to kick-start the project with a 100-ton steal foundation.
Extending away from the lighthouse the plans for the build looked like the Thunderbirds secret base with a pool and cinema room.
Fast forward 18 months, when the Devon couple had anticipated the build would be complete, and quite literally nothing had happened to the project.
It wasn't until four years later, in February 2016, when Kevin rejoined the site to see some slight progress. However, the lighthouse project had dramatically changed, with the family grounded into debt due to their over ambitious plans, which included a staggering a £2.5 million loan to help them out.
Again, Kevin disappeared, and again he returned to an unfinished site. By 2019, the couple had split up, with Kevin admitting that it was more than likely due to the project.
Edward has managed to complete his 'Eye' building, the centre piece, yet it is unliveable due to health and safety hazards. His next door 'grand' design is still in a very unfinished state and that's how the episode ended.
Christ. A perfectly good home demolished, a beautiful cliff destroyed, family life in ruins, and divorce. Has there ever been a more tragic#granddesigns?— Frances Murphy (@la_sforza) October 9, 2019
Twitter reacts to the "hideous" lighthouse
Grand Designs fans took to Twitter to slam the project, with people upset about the "hideous design". Many fans on Twitter also took a swipe at Edward for ruining the local landscape.
The points are valid, with Croyde residents making the design the talk of the town over the past five years, where many have been upset over futuristic design.
One tweeter said: "This is now an immoral waste of money, time, resources and human endeavour to build a grotesque, enormous house for one over-privileged family."
And this local North Devon resident was left infuriated having had to re-watch the entire project unfold on TV:
Why Devon needs projects like these
Having seen the lighthouse first hand, it's really not that bad.
I come form an even smaller North Devon village called Bradworthy. It's a 60-minute drive to Croyde yet the quiet beach and sensational coastline means that trek is an easy weekend favourite.
For many villages in North Devon, the stereotype is that they are backwards. Old-fashioned and out of touch in culture, politics and technology. In Bradworthy, the 2005 project to erect three wind turbines and provide the area with renewable energy was met with ferocious hostility.
Think petitions, angry farmers with pitchforks and locals who, just like the Grand Designs lighthouse build, didn't want an "eyesore" on their beloved land.
Of course, Edward's lighthouse has no practical service but it does flash Croyde into the 21st century when nothing else in the village reflects that. Some like this, others hate it.
For me, the build is a statement of modern technology and extraordinary design. The village could have been invaded with franchise chains such as Starbucks and McDonalds but instead it has gained a striking design representation of what we can build in 2019.
Okay, so it's still not finished. But what are locals going to gossip about when it is?
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