London mayor 'urges council to save Earl's Court estates from demolition'

News of the London mayor's intervention in long-running and controversial plans to regenerate a west London estate features in today's newspaper round-up.

The Evening Standard says that London Mayor Sadiq Khan has "waded into the row over the future of the £12 billion regeneration plan for Earl’s Court with a demand that two housing estates scheduled for demolition should be spared and 'handed back entirely' to the local council". The mayor said he had long held ­"serious concerns" about the 77-acre scheme, the newspaper said, which won planning permission in 2013 and is one of the biggest redevelopment projects in London. It is due to create 7,500 new homes, of which 6,000 will be luxury apartments for private sale and 1,500, or 20 per cent, classed as affordable. But just over half of those will be new replacement homes for the 2,000 residents of the West Kensington and Gibbs Green estates, the article says. The estates were sold to the scheme’s developer Capital & Counties (Capco) for £110 million in 2012 by the then Conservative-run Hammersmith & Fulham council and are due to be knocked down, it adds. 

The Guardian reports that retail sales fell in October, "adding to the gloom on the British high street, as official figures showed that shoppers kept a tight rein on spending amid growing Brexit uncertainty". It says that sales volumes dropped by 0.5 per cent from September and follow "more bad news"  in retail, "with Debenhams posting poor figures and House of Fraser announcing the closure of four more stores".

The Times  reports on new figures published by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) yesterday on net additions to England's housing stock in 2017/18. It says the number of new homes built in the past year "hit a decade high as the government edged closer to its goal of delivering 300,000 annually in England". A total of 222,190 net additional dwellings were created in the year to March, a two per cent increase on 2016-17 and "the most delivered in a year since 2007-08". Planning's report on the figures can be found here.

The Guardian reports that a "hotel sunk into a disused quarry in China opened its doors yesterday to deep-pocketed clientele". The 336-room InterContinental Shanghai Wonderland "hugs" one side of and 88-metre-deep pit, "with a waterfall cascading down the opposite face". The subterranean 17-floor hotel is about an hour from Shanghai, thew newspaper says, with rooms costing the equivalent of £385 a night.

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