Bodmin, Padstow and Rock: making good food Cornwall’s bread and butter

Bodmin in Cornwall - Cornish cross on streetMy latest article on Beacon focuses on three towns in nothern Cornwall: Bodmin, Padstow and Rock. Padstow and Rock have become known for their good food and the associated tourism that brings, through restaurants such as Rick Stein’s and Nathan Outlaw’s. Now, Bodmin wants to follow suit.

I wrote about Bodmin just over a year ago for the Guardian; for Beacon I caught up with the councillor who showed me around Bodmin’s Beacon technology park (no relation) and the town’s economic progress. Cornwall Council has decided to build new offices in Bodmin, and BT may use some of the space for its joint-venture with the county’s state sector. Continue reading “Bodmin, Padstow and Rock: making good food Cornwall’s bread and butter”

2013: ANPR, Scotland’s IT, NHS whistleblowers, ID cards… and Thatcher

My big journalism project this year was co-editing ‘Ring of steel’ for MATTER, on police use of ANPR, published in August. It is now available to read for free on Medium, where you can also read further commentary by me on the subject. In ‘Ring of steel’, writer James Bridle explored the subject widely, partly through drawing on the wealth of material released by Devon and Cornwall Police in its successful defence of secrecy over the location of its 45 automatic numberplate recognition cameras. The main points had first appeared in the Guardian news article I co-wrote in August 2012, but the MATTER article allowed the evidence to be explored fully. Continue reading “2013: ANPR, Scotland’s IT, NHS whistleblowers, ID cards… and Thatcher”

Four Scottish communities purchase their neighbourhoods

Helped by grant money, three community groups have succeeded in purchasing their land collectively

All abilites path on the Little Assynt Estate near LochinverToday on the Guardian’s Social Enterprise Network I write about two decades of community land ownership in the north-west Highlands of Scotland. Assynt Crofters’ Trust bought the land on which 13 townships stand on 1 February 1993, and the majority of the huge, but very lightly populated, area around Lochinver is now owned by its community. Today sees a further step, with a government-funded community purchase (the Scottish Land Fund, via the Big Lottery Fund) of the smokehouse in Achiltibuie, a little to the south – along with three announcements elsewhere in Scotland. Continue reading “Four Scottish communities purchase their neighbourhoods”

Blackpool trams are going places. Blackpool can too

I love Blackpool, mainly because of the rides, from sedate Blackpool trams to the rides at Blackpool Pleasure Beach, culminating in the enormous Big One. There is surely no finer Blackpool experience than plummeting towards the promenade at 87mph, as the sun shines on the sea. Continue reading “Blackpool trams are going places. Blackpool can too”

Blackpool vs Scheveningen: which is the better fun, if slightly faded, seaside resort?

Both Britain’s Blackpool and the Netherlands’ Scheveningen are seaside resorts that, though they may have seen better days, are lots of fun. And they have a lot in common: trams, piers, cheap tat… but which is better?

Beaches: Blackpool has a great sandy beach, but it’s a bit hidden behind a big concrete sea wall (for understandable reasons involving winter storms and flooding). Scheveningen’s equally sandy beach is easily accessible, features posts with novelty logos and its beach cafes are really quite cool, even if high winds can end up dumping quite a lot of that beach in your drink.
Schev 1-0 BPL Continue reading “Blackpool vs Scheveningen: which is the better fun, if slightly faded, seaside resort?”