Barton Farm, on Winchester's northern boundary will soon no longer yield to the plough. It will bend instead to the bulldozer as 2000 new homes are built over its rolling fields. Such large scale development will always be controversial, and one cannot but feel sad for the loss of more open space especially when it is on one's doorstep. Progress or profiteering? Let's hope it’s the former.
If there is one thing a photographer has to do it is to record; people, places and things, because they and their context will change will change. Last summer I rode up to the farm to photograph what I thought would be the last fields full of corn and barley. But I had left it too late, only to find neat rows of stubble, corn dust in the air and the combine harvester cutting its way through the last few rows of corn. I felt quite bereft at having missed the opportunity. Most of us locals believed that the construction work would start early this year. For whatever reason, the Farm was given a reprise, or a stay of execution, for another year and the fields have had corn in them again this summer. The wheat is already in, but the fields I wanted to photograph have barley which is still standing for a few more days.
Over the past week I have cycled over to the farm to take pictures, and get enough material to create a new joiner. I have yet to build that joiner, but at least I have a record of how Barton Farm looked before its last harvest.