Balls backs brownfield first

Reports that shadow chancellor Ed Balls has said that developers should be 'forced to build on redundant land in town centres before greenfield sites' feature in today's newspaper round-up.

The Telegraph reports that, speaking at the Confederation of British Industry annual conference, Balls said: "I think it is a real problem that we moved away from ‘brownfield first’. I am not saying we should not build any homes, big homes, on the edges of towns but at the moment that is not where the need is". The newspaper says that "Balls’s intervention in the debate on planning reforms suggests Labour could try to exploit discontent among Tory voters at the 2015 election, while also appealing to its core support in towns and cities".

The Financial Times (subscription) reports that construction companies have called for a "sanity check" over the extent of the recovery in the building industry "despite enjoying their fastest pick-up in business since before the financial crisis".  The newspaper quotes Noble Francis, economics director at the Construction Products Association, saying: "After five years of falling output, two quarters of growth is good. But it’s far too early to get excited about a golden age".

The Times (subscription) reports that senior Tories will warn chancellor George Osborne today that council services are at "breaking point" as they urge him reverse central government cuts. According to the newspaper, Sir Merrick Cockell, Tory chairman of the Local Government Association, which represents 373 councils, says councils’ central grants are being cut by 43 per cent by 2015/16, "putting services at risk". John Hart, the Tory leader at Devon County Council, has written to communities secretary Eric Pickles complaining of "devastating" cuts, the newspaper says.

The Guardian reports that the final resident of London’s Heygate estate at Elephant and Castle is to be evicted today to make way for the redevelopment of the area. According to the newspaper, the resident "represents the last hurdle in a 15-year project which will see more than 1,200 primarily social-rented homes replaced with more than 2,300 flats and houses, the majority sold for prices currently reaching £380,000 for a one-bedroom flat".

The Guardian also runs
an obituary for property developer Paul Reichmann. The newspaper says Reichmann was the "driving force behind the creation of the Canary Wharf office complex in London's docklands". "Look east along the river Thames from central London and the legacy of Paul Reichmann, the property developer who has died aged 83, rears up in full view. As the driving force behind the Canary Wharf complex that rose on what were once desolate docklands, Reichmann left an indelible mark on the capital", the newspaper says.

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