Qataris plan to 'invest heavily' in HS2 hubs

Reports that the Qatari royal family wants to 'invest heavily' in regeneration projects being planned around the station hubs of the new High Speed Two (HS2) rail line feature in today's newspaper round-up.

The Financial Times (subscription required) reports that the emir of Qatar "visited the UK last month and told the Prime Minister he wanted to take advantage of new projects that have sprung up as a result of the £50 billion rail venture, which will run from London to Birmingham, then Leeds and Manchester".

The Financial Times (subscription required) also reports the man "credited with getting the UK’s proposed high-speed rail line back on track threatened to walk away in 15 months’ time if the next government failed to back his vision". The newspaper says that Sir David Higgins "made clear he would not sign a contract extension as chairman of HS2 beyond 2015 unless his demands for funding and political support were met".

The Telegraph reports that Britain’s biggest supermarket groups "must close one in five shops in order to turn around their performance, analysts at Goldman Sachs have warned". The newspaper says that in "a damning report on the grocery industry, the Goldman analysts said closing stores is the ‘only viable solution’ if the major food retailers are to grow profits again".

The Independent reports that "Medieval towns and Brazilian favelas could hold the secrets to better urban living and should be studied by architects and planners designing Britain’s new green cities, according to a leading environmental scientist". The newspaper says that the "tight-knit structure of settlements built in the Middle Ages serves as an important lesson on making modern developments compact and keeping key services easily accessible to the people using them", according to former government adviser Sir David King.

The Telegraph reports that plans to build a new skyscraper in the shape of a giant glass pyramid to help prevent the French capital from becoming a "museum city", have been dealt a severe blow after councillors rejected the project. The newspaper says the "extraordinarily bitter row over the 590ft Triangle Tower is part of a larger debate over whether Paris should seek to preserve its low-slung 19th-century skyline or copy cities like London, which have built skyscrapers in historic districts".

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