Diary: Alligators to snap up Old Kent Road home?

Every aspirational housing development needs a USP - and so it is that developer Avanton has revealed its intention to create London's first alligator park.

Alligators: new home on Old Kent Road? (pic: Greg Goebel, Flickr)
Alligators: new home on Old Kent Road? (pic: Greg Goebel, Flickr)

The attraction will form part of Avanton’s plans to redevelop a listed gasholder on the Old Kent Road in south London into a residential-led mixed-use scheme. According to Avanton, the alligators will be housed in a conservatory in the gasholder with a series of water features; sliding glass panels will be used to help maintain a "Florida-like" habitat in south London. If this sounds far-fetched, Avanton says it won’t make any snappy decisions, promising "further consultation with reptile and environmental experts" – presumably to ensure the proposed park meets the required alligator space standards.

Knights all over the country will be keeping a close eye on proceedings at Warwick’s planning committee in the coming weeks, when councillors will be weighing the merits of plans for a jousting arena to be created in the grounds of Warwick Castle. Merlin Attractions wants to install the structure for six weeks over the summer for the next two years and has argued that the arena will help Warwick Castle "remain a market leading visitor attraction". However, landscape charity the Gardens Trust has called on Warwick District Council to "halt the relentless commercialisation" of the castle site. Diary assumes Merlin will make its case at future round table discussions should the application go to appeal.

For 30 years, Kingston has been home to a much-loved sculpture by artist David Mach, comprising 12 red telephone boxes falling into one another like dominoes. But residents were alarmed when planning application notices appeared in the town centre last month indicating the sculpture was to be removed. But on closer reading the notices advised that the sculpture was to be "replaced with a gigantic bean stalk" and invited comments to be submitted to Kingston Council’s "director of growth, Jack Spriggins". A spokesman for the local authority confirmed that the hoax notices had "not been produced by Kingston Council" and had "been removed".


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