This week, Pokémon Go players are shown the door (again), Manchester City’s glass tunnel raises hackles, John Laing remembers the trouble with PFI, there’s a dispute about bricks and we all go to the opera

Hansom HT

Never let an opportunity go to waste

For those of a certain age, the irony will not have gone unnoticed that the operator on Costain’s troubled PFI Greater Manchester Waste contract - which last week saw it take another hit on the scheme, this time more than £11m - features a team that includes John Laing. That company pulled the plug on its contracting business back in 2000 partly because of another problem PFI job, the National Physical Laboratory in west London, which ended up costing Laing millions. What goes around comes around, as the saying goes.

Going for a song

Billionaire Carphone Warehouse co-founder David Ross is to build an opera house - in his back garden. If it gets planning approval, it will be the first one to be built in over a decade and seat 400 people, with construction to start before the end of the year so as to open for a summer festival in 2018. Ross has been hosting opera in the back garden of his 14th-century home Nevill Holt Hall in Leicestershire since 2000, but has now decided to create a permanent structure from a grade II-listed stable block. The new venue will allow the Nevill Holt Opera company to stage performances all year round.

One brick short of a load

A row over bricks has broken out after a report from the Centre of Economics & Business Research (CEBR) claimed brick shortages have contributed to rising house prices over the past decade. Andrew Eagles, CEO of the Brick Development Association, blasted the report as “lazy”, saying: “We can report with absolute authority that there is no shortage.” The CEBR reckons 1.4bn bricks - enough for 740 Big Bens, it says - are needed to fix the UK housing market. But taking aim at the CEBR’s data, from April 2015, Eagles said it was “astonishing” the CEBR could release a report that was “15 months out of date”. Brickbats all round.

Through a glass darkly

Football team Manchester City has apparently irked its Premier League rivals after beginning work on installing a glass tunnel, so fans can catch a glimpse of players in those delicate moments just before they head out onto the pitch, or on their way back. Players of both teams will have to use a spiral staircase, which will be surrounded by glass, to make their way from their dressing rooms to the pitch. Bitter rivals Manchester United have reportedly complained about the plans, with Arsenal also said to be uncomfortable with the tunnel, on the grounds that it will invade players’ privacy. Some sports commentators have claimed that the real gripe is that emotions can run high after a match and players don’t want to be caught out in displays of temper they might later regret.

Bat man

Following our story about Chelsea running into problems with pesky bats over its plans to rebuild its Stamford Bridge home, it has been pointed out to me that Chelsea recently signed a chap called Michy Batshuayi. Rather apt, don’t you think? You might remember that local planners have ordered the Blues to explain how the proposals will protect nearby Brompton cemetery before they give the go-ahead. The cemetery is known for its wildlife and is a site for bat tours. This month the Royal Parks, which manages the cemetery, will host the Brompton Bat Walk where visitors “will work with experts, using echo location to track and identify bats as night falls”. Perhaps Chelsea’s billionaire owner Roman Abramovich will be among them - working out what to do with this unlikely opponent.

Pokemon warning

More signs of the times

Shard builder Mace has become the latest firm to warn against Pokémon Go players trespassing on construction sites. A Building investigation last month revealed 50-plus instances of trespassing on sites over a one month period, and highlighted warnings issued by client Network Rail and builder Bam Nuttall. Now Mace has got in on the act, posting some quirky signs on its site hoardings bearing warnings such as “Wild Pokémon not permitted on this site”, featuring a forlorn Pikachu, and “No playing Pokémon Go beyond this point”. If you want to report an issue with the game to its developer Niantic visit

Send any juicy industry gossip to