Planning in the media

The National Trust's opposition to the government's house building drive attracted the ire of Richard Morrison in The Times, who denounced the move as protecting the "interests of the landed gentry".

He noted that while housing targets have been depicted as the "biggest danger to the Home Counties since the Luftwaffe made its energetic contribution to town and country planning", the percentage of urban land in the UK would only rise from 11 to 13 per cent even if all three million homes are built. "Green belts now cover a bigger area than all our cities, towns and villages put together. These ever-widening strips of unused land push people yet further from their work, putting yet more strain on commuter routes and family life."

Coastal villages and agricultural land will be surrendered to the sea because the government is "unwilling to spend billions of pounds on flood defences", according to The Sunday Telegraph. Parts of Norfolk and Suffolk will not be given a penny "because they have been deemed impossible to save". Slapton Sands in South Devon is one of many areas fighting encroaching seas. In 2001, a severe storm threatened the coast road and a permanent breach is feared that would destroy a thriving environment, claimed BBC1's Countryfile. The area is designated as a site of special scientific interest, a national nature reserve and a geological conservation review site. Around 100,000 starlings roost here in winter and the site is a perfect habitat for grebes, osprey and marsh harriers. But the area has a darker history as the site of a largely unknown disaster during the Second World War in which US forces practising for D-Day were ambushed in their landing craft out at sea by German E-Boats, with around 750 servicemen losing their lives.

The formal reopening of St Pancras station had Simon Jenkins spitting fire in The Guardian. "The occasion was gatecrashed by the Queen, Prince Philip, Gordon Brown, David Cameron, Ken Livingstone and other Johnny-come-latelies," he said. Jenkins noted that many had not only been absent during the battle to save the station but had peddled "claptrap" about outdated structures. "How dare the great and good sit there before the Queen and applaud the rescue of a masterpiece they either sought to destroy or stood by for 20 years as it fell to ruin? Whenever conservation pleaded its case, they caterwauled: 'You can't stand in the way of progress, you can't live in the past.'"

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