The rising tide of blandness:
Many English country towns are at risk of becoming identikit ‘generica’ clones, says the CPRE. This trend potentially has an enormous knock-on effect on one of our biggest and most vital industries; tourism. And suggests that the first town to do something radical (like compulsory purchasing all its empty shops and then creating a town centre which is effectively a large semi-fixed “farmer’s market”) could be raking in the cash.

Fish by post:
It’s blindlingly obvious when you think about it, and with implications for many smaller-scale ‘high-value local food’ producers; deliver specialist raw & semi-prepared foods – even fish – by post (Times, registration required). Or it is until you start thinking about how bad the postal service is becoming, and how poorly couriers manage to deliver to residential addresses.

Perhaps my idea (above) about making the centres of market towns into semi-fixed “farmer’s markets” wasn’t such a good idea. For the first few visits you do want to see the produce & producer. But do busy people then want to keep treking to a monthly outdoor market, when they could order from a producer’s web-site and have it delivered? Or schools could raise money by offering a “pick up service” to busy parents who might be out when delivery vans call; you’d pick up the speciality food for the weekend along with the kids.