RSPB 'ignored widow's wishes over land sale'

Reports that the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) has been accused of attempting to sell land bequeathed to it to housing developers despite a widow's wishes that the land should never be built on feature in today's newspaper round-up.

The Telegraph reports that the charity "was left 20 acres of green space in a rural area of Cheshire by environmentalist Lavinia Rhead following her death. But in spite of her dying wish that the land should never be built on, the charity is looking to sell it to housing developers". The newspaper quotes Neil Robertson, the RSPB’s director for Northern England, saying the land "is not really beneficial to wildlife and there is little potential to improve it for nature. After looking at all of the options, we have decided that the best way forward is to investigate the possibility of selling the land."

The Independent reports that the new energy secretary, Amber Rudd, has said that Britain’s new nuclear power stations and other energy infrastructure projects must be designed to look beautiful to garner public support. The newspaper quotes Rudd saying: "We’re hoping to build new nuclear plants in the UK over the next few years and I think it is a reasonable ambition to make sure that these big projects have aesthetic appeal as well to help win the public over".

The Observer reports that London mayor Boris Johnson "has controversially guaranteed that the estimated £3 million annual running costs of a garden bridge over the Thames would be met by public money if private funds were insufficient". The newspaper says that Johnson "had promised that no more public money would be used on the project, following a £30 million injection of cash by Transport for London". But it adds that he has now "decided that the capital’s taxpayers will guarantee the future maintenance of the bridge – a decision that could mean considerable extra funding in future years. Critics have accused the mayor of acting without due public scrutiny or debate".

Writing in the Observer, architect Richard Rogers says the garden bridge would be "an oasis of calm and beauty in London’s heart".

The Financial Times (subscription required) reports that "buy-to-let landlords face growing financial pressure as the government’s benefit cuts threaten rental income in some of Britain’s priciest areas". The newspaper says that "swaths of outer London and the south coast will be hit by the £23,000-a-year cap on benefit payments which the government is committed to introducing in this session of parliament".

The Guardian examines whether the resignation of Sergei Kapkov, the Russian culture minister who oversaw Moscow’s recent "urban revival", means the project is now dead. The newspaper says that Kapkov "became the unlikely champion of a new type of city that would answer the needs of the middle class".

The Independent profiles the new 5 Broadgate building in the City of London. The newspaper says that the "vast money machine will hum into life next year, supercharged with the biggest single concentration of traders in the City – 3,000 of them working for UBS, plus 2,400 management and support staff".

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