This week, the Treasury has its say on sustainability policy, Willmott Dixon goes to the rescue of those affected by flood damage and a business park gets assistance from a feathered friend

hansom for i pad


If you were in any doubt about who pulls the strings on green policy in government there was a rather telling revelation tucked away in one of my own columnists’ columns this week. Blogging for, Andrew Warren, director of the Association for the Conservation of Energy, said he understands “a senior Treasury official” “intervened” in the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s consultation on the government’s planned £900m cuts to its building retrofit subsidy scheme, the Energy Companies Obligation. Apparently Treasury officials were not happy with a question that raised the prospect of the scheme being revived to its current levels in 2017 and successfully got it removed from the consultation questions, even though they had already been made public.

Hero of the hour

The generosity of people and firms who have helped to clear up the damage wreaked by the dreadful floods earlier this year has rightly been a source of national pride. News reaches us that contractor Willmott Dixon has also been getting stuck in with the rebuild effort. The firm is sponsoring repairs to a number of buildings in Somerset and some of its trainee managers are volunteering to undertake weekend repair work. Homeowners Phil and Maria Maye, whose insurance was cruelly declared void after the flood, were reduced to tears when told Willmott Dixon would repair their house. Maria Maye told the local paper: “We are overwhelmed, I cannot put our thanks into words.” Meanwhile, the firm last week won a Queen’s Award for Enterprise for its work in sustainable development. Very admirable stuff and I doff my hat to all involved.

The birds and the bees

Pest control is part and parcel of facilities management and normally requires a deadly arsenal of traps and poisons to ward off rats, roaches and the like. Word reaches us from Lingfield Point business park near Darlington that they’ve found a novel way of keeping another menace, pesky seagulls, from bothering tenants, which include architecture practice FaulknerBrowns. Step forward Freya the hawk, who has been recruited to chase away the gulls. Freya’s handler Colin Hinde, who is also Lingfield Point’s beekeeper, says: “Although I enjoy looking after the bees, I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been stung. I’m not expecting any trouble out of Freya, she’s very mild-mannered.” Sounds like the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Always on my mind

Having a design language is one thing, but 3DReid’s plan for its Basing View John Lewis project (top) is coming dangerously close to appearing like a cover version of the firm’s previous work.

Project architect on the Basing View scheme Nick Strachan said the “chisel-like elevation feature” of the building would “create a significant urban presence”. But it won’t be a terribly unique one as the firm has used similar quiff-like appendages on both its Gibraltar Airport (bottom) and Glasgow Velodrome projects (middle).

I suspect that an Elvis greatest hits disc has been stuck in the 3DReid office stereo for the last five years.

3DReid Basing View John Lewis

3DReid Basing View John Lewis

3DReid Glasgow Velodrome

3DReid Glasgow Velodrome

3DReid Gibraltar Airport

3DReid Gibraltar Airport

Send any juicy industry gossip to