Government's 'beautiful buildings' chief 'under fire for contentious past comments'

Reports that the chair of the government's new built environment design commission is 'under fire' for past comments that critics have accused of being anti-Semitic, Islamophobic and homophobic feature in today's newspaper round-up.

The philosopher Sir Roger Scruton was appointed last week as chairman of the Building Better, Building Beautiful commission. Today’s Times (subscription) reports that he is facing "calls to quit after his contentious views about Islamophobia and homosexuality were unearthed". Scruton has issued a statement on Twitter denying the claims.

Writing in The Times, the mayors of Greater Manchester and the West Midlands, Andy Burnham and Andy Street respectively, call for more powers from central government. They write: "Greater Manchester and the West Midlands need to have the powers and long term funding to develop and implement our plans for integrated transport, employment and housing to support further growth."

The Guardian reports that a "trailblazing energy project has started drilling the UK’s deepest ever borehole in Cornwall in a bid to use heat from hot rocks as a zero-carbon source of electricity". The paper says that the "project near Redruth involves two deep holes being drilled over a course of around six months".

Scots believe "their most beautiful landscapes deserve much greater protection", The Times reports. The paper says that "a survey by the country’s largest conservation charity has revealed ‘overwheming support’ for stronger measures to protect scenic areas. The National Trust for Scotland research reveals that 92 per cent of Scots want restrictions on large-scale industrial development in National Scenic Areas".

An article in The Guardian says that the city of Ramallah "the de-facto capital of Palestine – situated an hour north of Jerusalem – is experiencing a construction boom bigger than in any other city in the West Bank". But it says that the city "is busily razing older buildings in favour of new apartments and malls" and asks whether it risks "losing more than it gains".

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