Plus, Camden market gutted by fire and Olympic terminal will not be ready in time

Number of home owners falling

The number of people who own their own home has tumbled to the lowest levels in a decade, dropping below of 70% mark, reported the Daily Telegraph on Saturday. Figures from the Department for Communities and Local Government showed the number of home owners dropped by nearly 100,000 last year to 14.5m.

Increasing home repossessions to hit 12-year high

House repossessions are expected to hit a 12-year high this year, reported the Daily Telegraph on Saturday. Figures published by the Council of Mortgage Lenders show 45,000 owners will have their homes taken away, equating to one in every 400 home owners.

Heathrow’s Olympic terminal ‘will not be ready in time’

A flagship Heathrow terminal planned to welcome millions of visitors to the London 2012 Olympics will not be ready in time for the games, reported the Daily Telegraph on Saturday. Airlines have been told that Heathrow East is unlikely to be ready until the end of 2012 at the earliest.

Camden Fire

The Independent on Sunday and Mail on Sunday reported a massive fire in Camden’s market, destroying various market stalls, historic buildings and the celebrity pub, the Hawley Arms. 100 firefighters were called to the scene, but nobody is reported to be hurt.

Battle for Biffa

On Saturday, The Independent reported on the £1.2bn takeover for waste group Biffa to be challenged by private equity groups Terra Firma and CVC Capital Partners, as well as French company Suez. Hours before Biffa’s board had accepted the takeover sum offered by Montagu Private Equity, Global Infrastructure Partners and UCIL.

EDF may join building firm in bid for Iberdrola

French state-controlled energy giant EDF has confirmed it has held exploratory talks with Spanish construction firm ACS over a possible bid for Iberdrola, the owner of Scottish Power. The Observer reports that a successful bid would see EDF taking control of the Scottish gas and electricity supplier.

‘Secret’ eco-town plans spark protest

Government plans to build 10 eco-towns have run into trouble, with regionalised protests going on across the country against the “secrecy” of the scheme. The Observer reports that local groups have complained about being kept in the dark about the proposals to create the towns.

Watchdog moves on ‘Tesco towns’

The Competition Commission is expected to clamp down on ‘Tesco towns’ where one supermarket holds a dominant position in small town shopping districts. The Observer reports that Commission chief Peter Freeman will give details of a new competition or fascia test.

Affordable homes guru slams ‘Stalinist’ Brown

Steve Nickell, chair of the National Housing and Planning Advice Unit, says Gordon Brown is imposing “Stalinist” targets on planning guidance in order to deliver 3m new homes by 2020. The Observer says that Nickell wants financial incentives for local authorities to grant planning permission, rather than unrealistic targets.