Planning in the Media

Plans to relieve congestion at Heathrow by building a sister airport in the Thames Estuary have moved a step closer, according to The Sunday Times.

The £40 billion travel hub would be built on artificial islands north of the Isle of Sheppey. London mayor Boris Johnson has appointed former government chief scientist Sir David King to conduct a detailed study of the plan as part of a wider review of airports in the South East, the paper added. But transport secretary Lord Adonis dismissed the proposal. Speaking on BBC1's Politics Show, he said: "The idea that you could have permission to start advancing this as a serious proposal next year is clearly for the birds. We do not regard it as in any way credible. Where is the £40 billion going to come from? Has Boris got any idea where he is going to magic up that sum?"

Plans by Tesco for a new town next to the 2012 London Olympics site in east London comprising a hypermarket, 460 homes, a high street and a budget hotel have appalled Janet Street-Porter, editor at large of The Independent on Sunday: "It is plain that what Tesco calls urban regeneration, I call a commercial monopoly. Put simply, when Tesco owns land and wants to redevelop it, it is not going to create anything like the towns and villages we have all grown up with and which are part of our cultural heritage." She also accused superstores of sucking "all the life out of our high streets". However, Tesco chief executive Sir Terry defended the dominance of his brand in an interview with The Times. "Around the world people choose the same things. The iPhone is chosen in Brazil, Japan and North America because it is better. It's a democratic choice, but the price is that you don't get cultural variety."

First-time buyers in London need to earn more than £93,000 a year to purchase an average priced property, according to the Evening Standard. Citing National Housing Federation research, the paper reported that the average house price in the capital is £362,810 and calculated the salary on the basis of buyers taking a 90 per cent mortgage set at three-and-a-half times their income. The average in the capital is £26,156. The situation is almost twice as bad as in England as a whole, where the average house price is £220,310, requiring an income of £56,651 compared with an average of £20,571.

Lord Rogers may have won this year's Stirling Prize but the award's organisers have been accused of harbouring a bias against traditional design. All six shortlisted entries were based on contemporary designs, The Guardian noted, at the same time as a YouGov survey showed that more than three-quarters of the public prefer traditional buildings. Prominent traditional architect Robert Adam accused the RIBA, which organised the prize, of ignoring popular opinion. "The profession is so biased against traditional buildings that when architects give awards to architects they praise modernism, which is what most of them produce," he told the paper.


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