Tag Archives: Architecture

Northampton, a town that needs to grow up and become a city

There are few pleasures like exploring an unfamiliar town on foot for the first time. A new series of posts on this website, In Praise of Ordinary Places, looks at Middle England towns that are overlooked by tourists (Oxford, Bath and Stratford-upon-Avon … Continue reading

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Somewhere in England: Bedford, a quiet success

There are few pleasures like exploring an unfamiliar town on foot for the first time. A new series of posts on this website, In Praise of Ordinary Places, will look at Middle England towns that are overlooked by tourists (Oxford, Bath … Continue reading

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One place where the Trump presidency may do no harm? Cuba

I’ll leave aside – for now – his misogyny, racial prejudice, egotism, and contempt for democracy and the rule of law. I will even cast my eye away from Michael Gove’s fawning interview in the Times at the beginning of … Continue reading

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Think out-of-town shopping centres are a thing of the past? Take a look at Rushden Lakes and despair

The river Nene – the slowest-flowing river in England, and its tenth-longest – meanders through Northamptonshire past water meadows and dozens of former gravel pits, long ago flooded and now a nationally important habitat for wetland birds. Northamptonshire’s an underrated … Continue reading

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Politicians should get out of Westminster for its restoration – and stay out

News that the Palace of Westminster will be out of bounds for six years for the £4bn mother of all restorations has provoked a stream of predictable responses. A strange coalition of metropolitan Guardianistas like John Harris, nationalists and devolutionists … Continue reading

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Of all the places: in praise of Northamptonshire, the middle of everywhere

German has a good word – unheimlich – for this eerie feeling: when something mysterious or unfamiliar somehow makes uncanny sense. Over the last year I’ve felt it in the most unlikely of places: Northamptonshire. Let me explain why. Nearly … Continue reading

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Inside the planning committee: it’s not enough to say it’s all fair and impartial. You have to show it is, too

What goes on at Town hall planning committees these days? In theory it works like this. A committee of about a dozen councillors, politically balanced to match the composition of the council as a whole, assesses planning applications based on … Continue reading

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