Families to foot bill for £2.5bn floods
The Times on Saturday reported that house insurance rates are expected to rise sharply for the first time in more than a decade due to the second wave of flash floods.
Construction boom puts pressure on Olympic building plans
The weekend FT reported that the 2012 Olympics faces cost pressures due to stiff competition for contractors, labour and raw materials as a result of the recent construction boom. David Higgins, chief executive of the Olympic Delivery Authority, said some contractors may also be scared off by the high profile nature of the scheme.
How Metronet came off the rails – and why investors lost £350m
The Observer reported on the detail of last week’s Metronet break up, saying it demonstrated the problem with public private projects.
TfL chief defends Metronet warning
The weekend FT has disclosed that according to a senior executive, Transport for London was acting in London Underground passengers’ interest when it warned Metronet Rail it may no longer guarantee any new borrowing for the troubled contractor. Metronet went into administration after being awarded only £121m of the £551m it needed in emergency funding.
TfL signals more work for Tube Lines
The Sunday Telegraph also reported that private London Underground infrastructure company Tube Lines is being tipped to take over the majority of Metronet’s work. TfL is looking to get a replacement company in as soon as possible.
Metronet black hole bodes ill for PFI
The cost of London Underground’s main contractor Metronet going into administration is likely to be picked up by the taxpayer, reports the Sunday Telegraph. The contractor’s collapse with debts of £2.6bn looks set not just to delay improvements to the underground, but to the government’s flagship £26bn private finance initiative.
Rocketing cost of Blair’s flagship city academies hits £49m record
Cost to build the city academy in Darwen, Blackburn are reported to have reached £15m, before construction work has even begun. Documents from Blackburn and Darwen Council reveal that £14.8m has already been spent on acquiring and clearing housing from the site. The estimated cost of the project is now £49m, writes the Sunday Telegraph.
Hospitals project abandoned after cost increased by £200m
The rebuilding of three new PFI hospital schemes in Leicester has been scrapped after cost rose to £921m with fears that it would go even higher, the Times on Saturday reported. The University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust said the plans were no longer value for money.
House prices start to fall
Lender Halifax reported that the average price of a home fell by 2.8% in Wales and 1.1% in the West Midlands in the three months till June, wrote The Times on Saturday.
Banks face mortgage ‘timebomb’
The Sunday Times reported that banks are expected to announce a sharp rise in people struggling with mortgages in the next two weeks.
Tenants at home in commercial buildings
Rising rents has forced a growing number of tenants to take up residence in police stations, factories and disused office blocks, reports the weekend FT.
To achieve affordable housing, we’ll fight selfish nimbyism
Housing minister Yvette Cooper called on councils to do more to identify sustainable sites for building more homes in an article in the Observer on Sunday. She also called on the house building industry to show the same commitment it has to boosting production as it has to building zero carbon homes.
Green light for Thameslink 2000
Transport ministers will give the green light to phase one of the delayed Thameslink 2000 scheme, writes the Sunday Times. The paper also reported that in a statement on rail policy expected on Tuesday ministers may propose the deregulation of saver fares leading to more expensive journeys for millions.
Stonehenge world heritage status at risk as tunnel plan is shelved
The Sunday Times reported that the government is set to reject the £500m road tunnel scheme which would have taken the A303 under the prehistoric landscape, vital for preserving the status of Stonehenge as a World heritage site. Instead a cheaper bypass scheme is being planned.
Prince’s model for ‘eco towns’
The Sunday Times reported on Price Charles’ claim that his development in Poundbury village in Dorset should to be a model for the country’s eco towns.
Armani next floor (2,000ft)
The 141st floor of the world’s highest skyscraper has been completed. A report in the Sunday Times said that the Burj Dubai tower, which is expected to be completed by next year, will be “way over 2,000ft” according to project manager
The city of God that was built on pizza
A newly established Roman Catholic enclave funded by a billionaire opened its doors yesterday, according to an article in The Times on Saturday. Visitors are meant to feel God’s presence in the design of the town of Ave Maria in Miami, built on a site in rural Florida that used to be a tomato farm, which guarantees a traditional Catholic upbringing.