Tag Archives: Planning

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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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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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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My old snapshot from 1991 shows how the London skyline has changed utterly – and how it has stayed the same

Sorting through some old photos in my cellar a few months ago I came across a snapshot of the London skyline I took, as a callow 17-year-old, in the autumn of 1991. Out of curiosity, in late 2014 I went back … Continue reading

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The supporters of new roads across the Thames are stuck in the past. Without rail links they’d be a disaster for east London

The new road link would, the experts say, create a “corridor of opportunity”. It would “relieve congestion”, “improve accessibility” and “be of inestimable benefit to the capital”. It will, one supporter argues, “take longer-distance traffic off the existing main roads… … Continue reading

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A Garden Bridge? No thank you, Joanna Lumley: London is ‘Bosky’ enough already

What’s not to like about the proposed Garden Bridge across the Thames? It’s designed by Thomas Heatherwick, a walk-on-water design superstar who came up with the Olympic Cauldron as well as the new Routemaster bus. It would, we are told, … Continue reading

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