Fortuna’s wheel continued to revolve this week, bringing some six-figure windfalls and ownership of the year 1856, throwing others into the law courts and leaving one firm at the mercy of newts

Too many lawyers

Of the many court disputes fought over Wembley, the final issue of contention in Multiplex’s hearing against Mott MacDonald last week must be the most bizarre. The last scrap in the two-day hearing was a 10-minute wrangle over the balance of costs. Or, to be more precise, whether all the legal representatives present were really necessary. Multiplex took exception to the presence of two Mott counsels, whereas Mott questioned Multiplex’s need for three solicitors. Unfortunately, one member of the offending Clifford Chance team held up to scrutiny turned out to be a rather red-faced trainee.

Construction in vogue

Efforts to attract women to the industry appeared to have reached new heights last week, when a crane on the Shepherd’s Bush skyline was spotted sporting an advert for ladies’ fashion chain Monsoon. It seems the advert was in honour of a new branch being built at the White City complex, but there could be an opportunity there ...

Wedding planners

Liz Hurley’s wedding venue has occasioned a trial of strength against the might of Tewkesbury borough council, it was rumoured this week. Hurley is planning to wed millionaire boyfriend Arun Nayar at Sudeley castle, owned by her friend Henry Dent-Brocklehurst. However, plans by the Dent-Brocklehursts to turn a fire-ravaged barn at the venue into a gleaming new business centre have met with disapproval by planners, who have recommended that councillors turn down the plan.

Just how long is a week?

As the late Harold Wilson once remarked, a week is a long time in politics. Ruth Kelly would probably agree with this after her seven days sweating under the national spotlight after she was outed as the minister who’d sent one of her children to a private school. I understand this was the reason that the announcement of the merger between English Partnerships and the Housing Corporation was delayed until this week. But given that the merger was first mooted a year ago, maybe a week isn’t that long after all ...

Right place, right time

Maybe I’m in the wrong game. By all accounts the partners at the Secondary Market Infrastructure Fund made a small fortune at the turn of the year after Land Securities Trillium bought it. The oldest partner is only 43, yet many were almost millionaires overnight. Any more and they’d have “all been off playing golf in the Caribbean”, according to one well placed source.

Make it your year

The Museum of London has come up with a novel way to raise money for its planned £18m redevelopment. Businesses are being offered the chance to donate £5,000 in return for a year of London’s history. Developer British Land has seized the opportunity of buying 1856 – the year when it was founded. In return the company’s name and the year 1856 will appear on a plaque in the new-look museum, designed by Wilkinson Eyre and due to open in autumn 2009.

The price of a newt home

What is the cost of 70 newts? Well if they are great crested newts and you need to rehouse them, it could set you back a cool £500,000. That’s what the Miller Group paid recently to start developing one of its sites. A licensed expert was required to help relocate 70 of the amphibians, which are protected by a European directive. Rumours that the newts also negotiated a 12-month rent holiday could not be confirmed.