Diary

Planning minister Nick Boles, an ever-present in the Diary column since his appointment last year, has followed his Conservative Party conference fringe session plea to be "shot" if he is still in post after the next election with an altogether more protracted and painful bid for regular "monsterings" at the hands of the press.

In a Daily Telegraph piece, Boles was reported as believing that state regulation of the press was the "most troubling thing the coalition has done". He went on to describe being "properly monstered" by that newspaper and others over planning reform, before adding that the press must feel "no constraint" about engaging in such practices.

Pleas to be put out of his misery; calls for a "monstering" charter; Diary shudders to think what Boles will be asking Father Christmas for.

Next, news that musicians have penned a haunting melody in a bid to convince Leeds City Council to spare greenfield land around the market town of Morley from housing development. In a rare example of a song inspired by a core strategy, keyboard player Carl Bridgman and vocalist Alex Pollock have posted a video of Green Fields of Home on YouTube.

The pair's song urges the council - whose core strategy examination got under way last month - to "respect all our field life" and "give this to our children".

Bridgman said: "There are brownfield sites in Morley - I don't see why there is a need to build on beautiful land." The video can be viewed at: http://bit.ly/18ejj9s

Finally, TV presenter and boogie-woogie ace Jools Holland has managed to avoid falling foul of planning enforcement officers over additions to his Kent country pile that included a Union Flag patterned raised flower bed, a wall extension and a "parvis" structure.

Holland was forced to apply to Medway Council for retrospective permission for the work at his 18th Century home, next to the ruined Grade I-listed Cooling Castle near Rochester. Officers using delegated powers granted the application last month, after English Heritage raised no objection.


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