Alan Sugar and Ray O’Rourke prepare to square up, Slough and a slag heap in Wales are voted areas of outstanding natural beauty and an energy quiz with a strong bias in favour of nuclear power

Hot seat heads south

Murray Coleman, the new Bovis chief executive, is apparently resisting the move made by his predecessor Jason Millett to base himself in the firm’s Manchester office. Coleman, who flew into London from his native Australia two weeks ago, is expected to base himself closer to the coalface in the firm’s Harrow office when he takes over in September. Millett, meanwhile, is already being linked to a number of industry jobs, notably the construction managing director post at Amec left vacant by Steve Bowcott.

Ask the audience

Forget the energy review: those cunning chaps at Schneider Electric have come up with a far more interesting method of determining the future of the UK’s power supply. At a conference hosted by the company last week, delegates were invited to participate in an energy-themed version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire, with questions designed to reveal the most likely future sources of power. Reports that the mention of nuclear was met with loud coughing from those with government connections are, of course, entirely unfounded.

Preserve our rubbish

Preserve our rubbish

News from South Wales suggests that the heritage lobby has taken the preservation agenda to new heights. Cadw, the Welsh answer to English Heritage, wants to stop a housing development in Merthyr Tydfil in order to protect a slag heap. Apparently, said enormous pile of waste matter represents “part of the distinctive heritage of the Welsh valleys”. Note to Cadw: being distinctive isn’t necessarily a good thing …

Illustration by Scott Garrett

Sugar/Ray showdown

I wouldn’t dare speculate as to who would come out on top in a mano-e-mano business encounter between Ray O’Rourke and Sir Alan Sugar, but I hear the prospect of a meeting is becoming ever closer. Following last week’s news that a team from Laing O’Rourke had met Sugar’s IT firm Viglen about the possibility of partnering on Building Schools for the Future contracts, it transpires that Sugar’s right-hand man, Nick Hewer from the hit TV show The Apprentice, was present at the last meeting. Staff at Laing O’Rourke say they are now wondering how long will it be before the straight-talking Amstrad boss becomes personally involved.

Hold the bombs

Bleary-eyed guests at last Thursday’s crack-of-dawn Movers and Shakers breakfast were treated to an audacious if ultimately doomed attempt to alter their perceptions by Slough Estates chief executive, Ian Coull. Slough Trading Estate, best known as the grim backdrop to the BBC’s The Office, is apparently not a dreary, depressing carbuncle in eminently bombable Slough, it’s “an icon to be really proud of”. Yeah, right …

Racy event

Some employees of building surveyor CNP were left a little uneasy at the hospitality laid on at its race event at Sandown Park last Friday. The company’s clients were greeted by women from a promotions company dressed in a barely-there combination of white hotpants and cropped rugby shirts. “Last year, they were a bit more covered up – they all came dressed as jockeys in jodhpurs and stuff,” said one. Hmmm, not sure that sounds much better …