There’s a healthy glow over construction this week, from red-flag-waving anti-monarchists, creatively priced vino and the coy blushes of Chinese officials. Oh, and some football team or other
Richard Steer, senior partner at Gleeds, is well known for his proficiency in the publicity game, which perhaps explains why he invited the Candy brothers to attend Prince Charles’ speech at the RIBA last week, an event that Gleeds sponsored. Steer could not have been hoping to engineer a public confrontation between the Candys and the man who has so taken against their Chelsea Barracks scheme, could he? Fortunately, the boys politely declined the invitation and sent director Tim Simpson in their place. And before you ask, no it wasn’t him who shouted “Down with the monarchy!” as the prince left the room.
Steve Morgan, the founder of Redrow, has wasted no time stamping his mark on the company since returning after a boardroom coup earlier this year. Although the move was rather cruelly likened by one City analyst to a “dog returning to its vomit”, the latest trading update sets out his vision to return the company to its “historic position of a premium brand”. Maybe he should now turn his attention to the company slogan – which can be seen on hoardings across the country. It reads: “We only build one home. Yours.” An ambiguous claim in this economic climate.
On special offer
The growing backlash against Tesco and its treatment of suppliers has apparently spread to some unusual spots. We hear that Jojo’s, a popular BYOB tapas bar in Whitstable, Kent, is staging its very own protest against the supermarket giant. Rob Smith, a regular patron and senior partner of Davis Langdon, reports that while standard corkage in the restaurant is £2, customers wishing to drink a bottle bought from Tesco must pay £4 for the privilege. Talk about sour grapes.
No sex please, we’re Chinese
British MPs embarrassed by the expenses scandal should spare a thought for their Chinese counterparts. Red-faced officials in Chongqing this week demanded the rapid demolition of a raunchy new attraction. Love Land was to be China’s first sex theme park, including displays of giant genitalia and rotating statues of nearly-naked women. Quite a design brief, we imagine. But the blushing bureaucrats branded the park “vulgar and ill-minded”, and sent in the wrecking balls before it had even opened. Suddenly Abu Dhabi’s Ferrari World seems rather tame.
They’ve started, so they should finish
Tough questions were asked in the House of Lords last week. Nothing to do with whether it’s immoral to put a bag of Maltesers on expenses, but at a product launch of eco-friendly cement. In the hot seat was John Watt, boss of RockTron. He came in for intense questioning by former Newsnight journo Margaret Gilmore in an amusing recreation of TV show Mastermind. Maybe the fees office should follow suit …
The price isn’t right
In last week’s Hansom we noted the high calibre of architects bidding for a leisure centre in Worthing with – so we said – a price tag of £1.5m. We have been informed that while the fee would be around £1.5m, the project will have an overall value of £20m to £25m. So that explains it. Apologies to all concerned!
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