Diary

There was a time when people with ambition were urged to go west, but now it seems that the land of opportunity lies in the opposite direction.

WSP Group has secured a deal to help IKEA expand its shopping centres in Russia, China and Poland. Working out of its UK and Swedish offices, the firm will advise on transport masterplans, external access, highway layouts and car park design, initially working on 20 stores in Russia and Ukraine.

The mixed-use developments are massive, ranging from 14ha to 24ha in size. They comprise malls anchored by an IKEA store together with associated retail parks, office parks, hotels and homes. The deal shows that a bear market is not always in decline.

A seaside shelter in Margate in which TS Eliot is believed to have written some of his most famous lines of poetry has been grade II listed on English Heritage advice.

The Nayland Rock promenade shelter, which overlooks Margate Sands, has been identified as the place where Eliot composed part of his best-known poem The Waste Land. The poet stayed in Margate for three weeks in the autumn of 1921. He was taking a rest cure at the Albemarle Hotel after having suffered a mental breakdown.

The resort is mentioned in part III, which includes the lines:

"On Margate Sands.
I can connect
Nothing with nothing.
The broken fingernails of
dirty hands.
My people humble people who
expect
Nothing."

Many of us spent many a long summer hour as children making sandcastles on the nearest holiday beach.

The lucky ones had parents who rented beach huts that became cosy dens when the weather turned bad. But now the industry is taking on a whole different aspect. Developer Beach Hut Resorts plans to invest more than £35 million building luxury seaside facilities across the UK.

The five-star huts will be created in places dedicated to connoisseurs of the traditional British holiday. Each will sleep six and have its own kitchen, bathroom, lounge and even concierge facilities. The hire costs will run from £300 to £400 a week.

The first hut resort is set to be developed in Whitley Bay in North Tyneside, where outline planning approval has been granted. Another 20 will follow at other sites along the coastline. Diary's only worry is whether there will be somewhere to keep your bucket and spade.

Before you catch up on some welcome shut-eye tonight, spare a thought for those poor unfortunates who do not get enough time under the covers.

Teachers, civil servants, doctors and nurses have come out top of a poll of people who suffer the most sleep deprivation. According to research carried out by hotel chain Travelodge, professional staff in these sectors manage on average fewer than six-and-a-quarter hours sleep each night.

Bankers were third on the list 12 months ago but have now fallen out of the top ten. Perhaps those government bail-outs have helped them to lie in for a little bit longer.

- Should you find any stories that might interest Diary, please email planning@haymarket.com


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