Among the travels and travails this week, the Cheesegrater lifts, an on-the-go minister, van-based job ads, a ban on holiday homes and Boris Johnson riding into the sunset. Plus, HS2 blocked by hedgehogs

Hansom HT

Fastest way to the top

Following my trip to the Leadenhall Building (or the Cheesegrater, as it is colloquially known) a few weeks ago, I wanted to know whether anyone else had been suffering from the sort of shock I got after travelling in one of the lifts. I had to hang on to the handrail as we blasted up the side of the building. “Surely,” I thought, “others must have felt the same?” Turns out they have. Word reaches me that some staff with a touch of vertigo in the building have had to resort to getting to their floors via the fireman’s lift. This lift is safely ensconced by metal and has not a glass viewing panel in sight.

There and back again

The walk from the House of Commons to the RICS headquarters in Westminster takes four minutes according to Google Maps. And one of my hacks who was attending the launch of energy efficiency consultant Enhabit last week noticed that the housing minister Brandon Lewis - who was speaking at the event at RICS HQ - was the last person to arrive, despite having the shortest journey. Lewis blamed his late arrival on a Commons vote on zero-carbon homes, and after hastily rushing through his speech, dashed back across Parliament Square to vote again on the housing bill so he could, in his words, “find out what I’ll be doing on Monday”.

Sore in the saddle

One of Boris Johnson’s final acts as mayor of London was marked by a cyclist calling him a “prick”. The Conservative MP speaking to LBC Radio afterwards said he was opening the latest cycle superhighway at Blackfriars Bridge when during his piece to camera the cyclist decided to let Johnson know what he thought. “That is the job of mayor of London,” he said. “You sweat blood to deliver a project that is unbelievably politically, bureaucratically, diplomatically difficult. [Then] you get a hail of abuse from the people in the limos, the Financial Times has gone absolutely crazy about this thing, the cab drivers don’t like it, all that sort of thing. And then finally on day one, the cyclists themselves,” he added. Sadiq Khan, you’ve been warned – it’s a fickle city.

Get on the back of the van!

Bam Nuttall is trying to tackle the UK’s skills shortage and encourage diversity in the industry. The contractor is using its vans as adverts to attract new recruits, in particular women, to a career in construction. The firm’s vans currently feature a picture of Bam Nuttall trainee quantity surveyor Kat Woodall on one side and a small girl on the other playing with building bricks with the slogan “Building your future career” on their rear doors, The image of Woodall will stay on Bam Nuttall’s vans for a year. Woodall said that while it is “quite strange” she hopes it will encourage women to consider a career in construction. She is currently working on Bam Nuttall’s Manchester Smart Motorways project.

Are you local?

“Yuppies be dammed!” is the message from one of the UK’s much-desired holiday hot spots. St Ives in Cornwall - where over a quarter of residential properties are classed as second homes - has voted to ban the sale of new housing to those not planning to use it as their main residence. The new rules have yet to come into effect, but councils in the Lake District, Derbyshire Dales, north Devon and the Isle of Wight are said to be considering similar schemes, meaning your idyllic countryside retreat may soon become a thing of the past. However, ministers are believed to be about to oppose the ban over fears it could be seen as unfair discrimination against those with enough money to own two properties.


Fury of the furze-pigs

HS2 is under threat of derailment, courtesy of some small spiny mammals. Eleven hedgehogs, which live in London Zoo’s car park, have become the latest face of protest to stop HS2 from being built. Animal experts at London Zoo have joined opponents of the government’s rail project as they try to protect the only group of wild hedgehogs living in the capital’s royal parks. They have warned that the hedgehogs face extinction if their home is turned into a lorry depot during the building of the London to Birmingham section of the high speed railway line. The Zoological Society of London, which runs the zoo in Regent’s Park, is among over 820 petitioners to the House of Lords objecting to the HS2 line.

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