There’s plenty of moving about this week - rumours abound that the Science Museum is searching for new digs, while celeb haunt The Ivy spreads its tendrils to Tower Bridge. Heathrow, though, isn’t going anywhere
Watch this space
London’s premier cultural attractions can’t get out of central London quick enough, it seems. First it was the V&A signing up to an outpost in Stratford’s Olympicopolis, then the National Ballet committed to a move to Docklands. Now the Science Museum has its eye on a major new building in the hitherto unfancied locale of Old Oak Common in the north-west of the capital. The Evening Standard was first with the news last week. But the Science Museum is stressing to anyone who’ll listen, including its staff and my journalist, that talks are at a “preliminary stage” and it has other options lined up. In an email to staff, the Science Museum said to take the reports “with bags of salt”.
Rumour has it the hold-up over EDF’s £18bn Hinkley Point C nuclear power station in Somerset is primarily about satisfying the legions of lawyers attached to the deal. No wonder, given the apparent size of documents for sister scheme Sizewell C in Essex. One market source tells us that when stacked on a table, the legal documents for the contracts on Sizewell C reach 7ft high! A source familiar with the nuclear sector also gave his view on Hinkley’s cost. While reported at £18bn, he believes the project is “actually £16bn”, but will increase to £18bn “with contingency measures”, and could even top £24bn “if it all goes wrong”.
Say “aviation”, “airports”, “runways” or “Davies Commission” to a construction boss these days and the air is likely to turn blue. The industry is royally fed up with the interminable saga of whether there will be a new runway at Heathrow or Gatwick. The conventional wisdom is that the Tories are dragging their heels until the summer to give their man Zac Goldsmith - a committed Heathrow-phobe - the best chance of winning the London mayoral race. But one informed Whitehall watcher tells me this is something of a red herring and the chief obstacle to favourite Heathrow remains David Cameron and his paranoia at doing a U-turn and getting the Clegg treatment for his rash “no ifs, no buts” rejection of Heathrow expansion before the 2010 election. I can only despair.
I’ll drink to that
To hell with dry January - Building saw out the month-from-hell in the only sensible way, by drinking. Thanks, then, to the hospitality of Arcadis, Perkins+Will and networking group Chicks with Bricks for supplying the booze last week at various drinks dos. Enjoyable evenings all round. One of biggest laughs at the well-attended Chicks with Bricks event came when Sarah Christie, development director at developer
The Collective, joked that while she pursued a career in construction, her sister was chasing OIL – “that is, old, ill and loaded”.
The industry mourned the loss of family-run contractor Seddon’s chairman Christopher Seddon last August. Now Seddon employees have paid tribute with a touching online video featuring a poem by Mancunian poet, Mike Garry. In the video staff recite the poem about the history of the 119-year-old firm, which was founded by Christopher’s grandfather George Seddon. Among the participants are his children Jonathan, Jamie and Nicola, who are all directors at the firm. The closing lines are “industry, quality, dignity, truth, charity, partnership, family, youth; and like a stick of rock, it runs right through”. Watch the video on YouTube by searching for “Seddon staff”.
Celebrity and oligarch favourite The Ivy is
opening a brasserie at Berkeley’s One Tower Bridge luxury residential development (pictured) on the south side of the Thames next to City Hall. The scheme - which has already lured the London Theatre Company, run by former National Theatre bosses Nicholas Hytner and Nick Starr – will now boast an Ivy “equal in calibre to the Ivy Chelsea Garden”, according to the publicity material. So the next mayor of London, while contemplating which towers he will be approving that week, will be able to enjoy a slap-up meal watching the evolving City skyline.
Send any juicy industry gossip to email@example.com