Planners recommend refusal for Britain's 'most expensive flat'

Reports that Westminster planners have recommended that councillors refuse a planning application to 'create the country's most expensive flat' feature in today's newspaper round-up.

The Guardian reports that the multi-millionaire owner of Classic FM, Ashley Tabor, had hoped "to knock together two properties at the top of the luxury Knightsbridge Apartments complex to create a £200 million penthouse flat" with 10 bedrooms, a cinema, "butler’s pantry" and "service kitchen". But the newspaper says that "Westminster’s director of planning on Wednesday recommended that Tabor’s plan should be rejected because of the council’s policy against merging homes". The council’s planning committee will consider the application on 17 October.

The Guardian reports that figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) have revealed that it now "costs nearly £19,500 to buy enough residential floorspace for a decent-sized coffee table in London’s priciest borough – but only £777 to accommodate the same small piece of furniture in a living room in south Wales". The newspaper says that the figures showed that the highest average cost of one square metre of residential floor space across the country was in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (£19,500), while "the cheapest area was the Welsh county borough of Blaenau Gwent, which includes the town of Ebbw Vale, where a buyer would pay £777 per square metre".

The Telegraph reports that the "next wave of [government] renewable energy funding has been set for eighteen months time in a bid to build on the dramatic fall in technology costs seen in the latest round of auctions". The newspaper says that renewable developers "will compete for a slice of £557 million to support new energy technologies such as offshore wind where costs have halved in recent years".

The Times (subscription required) reports that the fresh wave of funding could see "hundreds of onshore wind turbines" built on remote Scottish islands. The newspaper says that "most onshore wind farms will not be eligible to compete for the contracts but projects in the Shetland, Orkney and Western Isles will be allowed to take part".

The Times reports that petrol and diesel vehicles will be banned from the centre of Oxford under plans to create Britain’s first "zero-emission zone". The newspaper says that starting from 2020 "only electric vehicles will be permitted on a steadily growing number of streets in the city".

The Financial Times (subscription required) reports that a marshland nature reserve in south Wales which has been "a resounding success for conservationists" is under threat from a road development. The paper says that starting next year, the Welsh government "intends to rip through" the Gwent Levels with a "16-mile, six-lane extension of the M4 motorway from London to bypass the city of Newport. Some 125 hectares are to disappear under tarmacadam and concrete".

An article in the FT says that there is growing public interest in architecture. The piece says that the growing popularity of architectural talks and exhibitions suggests that "there is an appetite for public engagement that is only just beginning to be addressed. If more can be done to satisfy it, that might eventually be very good for our cities."

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