High Court staff were bowled over when Mrs Justice Beverley Lang, presiding over a planning dispute involving a cricket club, admitted that she did not know the rules. Lang blocked a residential extension to former blacksmith's workshop the Forge by a pitch in East Meon, Hampshire. When lawyer Robert Fookes said the property is vulnerable to the "sixes and fours" scored next door, Land asked him to explain. "I don't play cricket," she said.
Also on a sporting theme, Diary readers may remember footballer Wayne Rooney's wife Coleen and her impressive grasp of green belt policies as she battled plans for 15 homes near her mansion in Prestbury, Cheshire.
It seems her knowledge has paid off, as Cheshire East Council has refused the application. In her formal objection, Coleen wrote that the scheme would be "in direct conflict with" national green belt policy and there was "no evidence of very special circumstances required to override the harm". Members of the council's northern planning committee echoed Coleen's concerns after officers recommended it be refused, deeming it "inappropriate in the green belt".
More pitch battles, this time in Scotland. An application for a multi-million pound sports centre on green belt near Dunblane is to be decided soon by Stirling Council. Plans for 12 tennis courts, a six-hole golf course and a 4 or 5-star hotel, are backed by celebs such as Judy Murray, mother of Wimbledon champion Andy, and top golfer Colin Montgomerie. But the council has flagged up concerns from a consultation.
Council archaeologist Murray Cook fears that the plans "will have a negative impact on a known archaeological remains" from one of Scotland's most famous uprisings, the Jacobite Rebellion, crushed by the British government in 1746. No doubt Judy and Colin hope that the council refrains from similarly drastic action.