The latest chatter around the industry

Hansom new 2008

Gove o’clock

I hear the team behind the redevelopment of ITV Studios on London’s South Bank, also known as 72 Upper Ground, found out it was being given the green light by communities secretary Michael Gove at one minute past five on the day they were due to be told. Given the decision has been held up for nearly two years and Gove had already put off making it three times, I think this could be called stretching things out and cutting it fine. Who says the planning system needs quickening up?

Combat rock

One of the 72 Upper Ground development team, CO-RE, is led by Clash fan Bradley Baker. A mischievous colleague wondered if he could sum up his mood ahead of the decision in a song by west London’s finest, what would it be? Was it a case of London Calling or Train In Vain? Turns out ‘We fought the Gove and the CO-RE won’ was more appropriate.

The HS2 team have to stop work from time to time to allow a herd of cows to cross the line from their fields on one side of the railway to the farmhouse on the other at milking time

Getting about

My hack found himself in Buckinghamshire recently to admire progress on a major viaduct on the HS2 railway. Discussing the rural location of the bridge in question over the usual site visit fare of Danishes and bad instant coffee, one HS2 press officer noted that an upcoming visit much further north to Curzon Street in Birmingham would “actually be easier to get to than here”. He did not seem amused when one journalist noted that “that’s because there is already a fast train to there”.

Could have been a contender

Workers on the job seemed particularly enthused by the appearance of ITV journalists on site. “Are we going to be in a movie,” shouted one to a cameraman passing through the workers’ canteen. Sadly for the would-be starlet, the ITV team had to let him down gently.

Herd the one about…?

Seems like meddling politicians aren’t the only things HS2 has to cope with. The Buckinghamshire team have to stop work from time to time to allow a herd of cows cross the line from their fields on one side of the railway to the farmhouse on the other at milking time. A case of more HS2 hold-ups.

Name that company

Well-known Liverpool fan Steve Morgan – he tried to buy the club several times – has given his blessing to the decision to sell Redrow to Barratt. I had assumed it was called Redrow in honour of his beloved Reds. Turns out, it got its name from his Redwood Drive address in 1974, the year he set it up with a £5,000 loan, and his former address, Harrow Drive. Certainly better than Woodhar.

Comfort zone

I see the Chartered Institute of Housing’s annual presidential dinner dispensed with its traditional black tie dress code at last week’s bash in London. Attendees, who included Labour leader Kier Starmer, were invited to wear “whatever you feel comfortable in”. What, like beachwear?

From the top

We love a good metaphor but Keir Starmer took things to new heights in his speech at the CIH dinner last week. The Labour leader, upon hearing that CIH president Jill Murray was hiking Scafell Pike for charity, decided to pepper his short address with mountaineering references. He talked about having his own “mountain to climb” in election year, using housing as a “base camp” of aspiration to reach the “summit”. It was an admirable effort but there was summit about the speech that failed to peak our correspondents’ interest.

Street cred

andy street CMYK

There is no doubt about it: West Midlands mayor Andy Street is big fan of HS2. A vocal champion of the project, he was on hand to mark last month’s start of work at Curzon Street station in Birmingham by climbing into a digger. I think if Street could build the whole thing himself, he would give it a go.

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