Diary

Who says architects have no sense of humour?

When the six developers investing £1 billion in a new five-star business district in Leeds enlisted John Thorp to draw up the design, little did they realise he would be creating a fashion statement.

When Thorp noticed that the development was shaped like a kipper tie on the map, he did what any decent architect would do - he made up a real kipper tie. Diary hopes that he is not providing any input for the scheme's interior decor.

Billionaire Donald Trump is used to getting his own way. But he may have met his match in the form of Scottish farmer and fisherman Michael Forbes, who is single-handedly standing in the way of Trump's plans for an 800ha golf course development in Aberdeenshire.

Forbes's family farm is right in the middle of the proposed site and so far he is refusing to budge, despite a substantial cash offer. This has drawn Trump into a slanging match. In an interview with the local Daily News, he described the farm as "a compound with rusting tractors that look like they have not been started for years".

But Forbes has attracted messages of support from around the world for his desire to stay on land that his family has farmed for 40 years. "We are delightfully proud of Mr Forbes and the pride he has in his land and legacy. You are already rich with something more valuable than money. We celebrate you, Mr Forbes!" wrote an admiring Jill Lackie from Michigan on Times Online.

Trump has said he will build around the farm if Forbes refuses to move out. But if this fails to resolve the problem, it will be less a case of "Donald, where's yer troosers?" and more a situation of "Donald, where's yer golf course?"

Perhaps Michael Forbes could unleash a flock of ducks to disrupt the golf course development. Oakley and Deane Parish Council in Hampshire has been forced to ban residents from feeding ducks at the village's 400-year-old pond because of a sudden increase in population.

The extra numbers are adding to the pollution caused by the birds in the pond and surrounding area. To compound the problem, additives in the bread are giving the birds tummy trouble, causing them to produce more droppings.

Residents are nonplussed by the ban. They deny that people have been lobbing loaves of bread into the pond, as the council claims. It says the ban is necessary because the droppings could pass diseases on to children. The ducks probably think everyone has gone totally quackers.

For years, areas of England have been broadly defined by their geographical location - the south, the north and the Midlands. But analysis by Danny Dorling from the University of Sheffield has redrawn the UK's cultural, social and economic map.

Dorling proposes to get rid of the Midlands and incorporate all areas on one side of a line running from Gloucester to Grimsby into the south and everywhere else into the north. Taking into account such factors as house prices, cultural differences and life expectancy, his team has divided Midlanders into either a bunch of southern shandy-sipping softies or a load of flat-cap-wearing whippet owners.


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