Just a couple of examples of my published writing to give a little flavour. More to follow.

The Times, 1 August 2014

Barnsley Council has announced exciting proposals for a future-proof, new look town centre.

Following the announcement of the £41 million investment in January, the plans show the following improvements that will attract investment into the town:

New town square – Expected October 2016

A new landscaped public square where routes into the town centre meet. The square will be large enough for market stalls and public events, and will look into the refurbished indoor market.

Revamped metropolitan centre and market hall – Expected early 2017

Bright, open and inspiring, this newly refurbished space will create flow between outdoor and indoor shopping, and easier to get to for shoppers and businesses.

New shopping boulevard – Expected 2017

By extending Lambra Road there’ll be a new route behind the redeveloped indoor markets with new shopping and leisure opportunities.

New central library – Expected early 2017

Proposed for location on Mayday Green, this state of the art building will be a hub for community activity.

New car parking – Expected November 2015

High quality, safe, bright, and easy to access open-air car parking, with plenty of spaces.

Pictured: Sir Cllr Stephen Houghton CBE, Leader of Barnsley Council and Diana Terris

Sir Cllr Stephen Houghton CBE, Leader of Barnsley Council, said he was keen to make sure that people were supportive of the plans. He said:  We’ve asked hundreds of people, and held several working groups. People were clear about what they wanted. Among other things, we were told loud and clear that Barnsley needs to keep its markets, to create quality open spaces that feel safe, and to make sure business servicing and parking needs are met.

“We hope these proposals will give confidence to local people and businesses, showing we’re serious about delivering these improvements. The next three years are going to be exciting, creating jobs and opportunities for people in Barnsley”

Diana Terris, Chief Executive, talking about the benefits of this to the local economy, added: “Our vision for the new town centre includes a range of retail and leisure activities and events, as well as civic amenities like the new library. Barnsley will support the next generation of retailing, bringing together physical shops with online purchases, and providing interactive business and community hubs.

“The new town square, shopping boulevard and training and enterprise centre (TEC) building offer opportunities for businesses to invest, by developing new buildings, pavement cafes, or new leisure and retail sites.”

Progress has started already on the new state of the art sixth form college, public realm improvements, and preparation for the move of the outdoor market.

Funding for the scheme is being provided by the council from monies raised through capital receipts in recent asset and land sales, as well as existing borrowing and approvals. The money spent on the scheme will have no impact on the council’s revenue budget or ability to maintain its essential services.

The new prospectus, along with images and video footage, is available at www.Barnsley.gov.uk/betterBarnsley.


Good Housekeeping magazine, July 2013

I never imagined what a nuclear power plant would look like. Arriving on the minibus our chaperone says ‘there it is’. I see a big building, a bit like a warehouse, and I see the sea. I think he must be pointing out the seaside, because that building is way too small to be a power station, surely? In fact, was the plant, and as we approached, we saw the armed police on the gates. We went through rigorous security checks before they let us inside.

Taking a glimpse behind the scenes really opened my eyes. We fired lots of questions at the staff, and gained a real insight into what nuclear fuel is, how it’s generated, and why we need to find new ways of supplying the country’s energy from a range of sources. I realised that renewable energy is a big part of the future of energy, but that they can never provide all the energy we need in a reliable way. We need to achieve a balance of energy from renewables, fossil fuels, and nuclear power, and need to be thinking decades ahead about where the energy is going to come from.

The message is still about saving energy, because of course we need to use as little as we can. But our need for energy isn’t going to go away, and we need to act on this fact. Demand is steadily growing, not reducing, and we need be able to openly discuss this elephant in the corner, to make sure there’s a supply there when we need it. We need sustainable energy, from secure sources, and we need to address the energy gap that would occur if we didn’t start to take action by creating new ways to generate power.

Seeing young people inspired to pursue a career in engineering and science was reassuring. At the newly built nuclear skills centre, seeing the state of the art labs, there was a spark of prospects, of people excited about what the future will bring, and inspired to work hard and succeed. Here in Somerset, the community cohesion and the investment in opportunities for our children is what makes the future of energy exciting.


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