Plus, shares in UK housebuilders take a knock and City forecasts 10% drop in house prices

Palace Views cast shadow over Victoria Development

Plans for a £2bn makeover of Victoria Station are being revised over concerns that a pair of proposed tower blocks would intrude upon the views of Buckingham Place, reports The Times.

Builders at knockdown prices

The Times reports that shares in UK housebuilding have hit a low. Barratt Development and Taylor Wimpey have been hit so hard they face expulsion from the FTSE 100 index, the paper says.

City warns of 10% slump in house prices

City traders are forecasting a drop in British house prices of more than 10 % next year, the Independent on Sunday reports. This weekend, they warned residential property values might continue to suffer up to 2012.

Planners fast-tracked Labour donor's business park scheme

David Abrahams was put on a fast-track planning scheme for his multimillion-pound industrial park only a month after he used three “proxies” to hand the Labour Party donations totalling almost £100,000, according to The Independent on Sunday.

Economic View: Homeowners aren't sitting on a goldmine any more, but they're still better placed than the Chancellor

Hamish McRae predicts further interest rates cuts through the spring to accompany falling house prices in his column in The Independent on Sunday. He forecasts an average house price decline of 5% in money terms next year and a further fall in 2009. This does not constitute “a crash”, he says, but will be a very “different climate” from the past few years. The problem is one of availability of finance rather than the price of a mortgage, he adds.

Third successive monthly fall in property values

The UK’s biggest mortgage lender, The Halifax, has reported that prices fell 1.1% in November, according to The Independent on Sunday. It is the first time in 12 years the lender has recorded three consecutive monthly falls, the paper said.

Property funds may have to delay redemptions

Britain’s £10bn retail property fund industry is balancing on the edge of a liquidity crisis that could force funs to turn away investors looking to withdraw cash, says The Sunday Telegraph. Figures to be released this week are expected to show that cash levels in funds such as Scottish Widows Investment Partnership (Swip) and Norwich Property Trust (NPT) have halved as tens of millions of pounds have been withdrawn in just one month.

Britain’s wind power revolution

Ministers will today reveal plans for Britain to embark on a wind power revolution that will produce enough electricity to power every home in the country, The Independent on Sunday reports. Secretary of state for Business, John Hutton, will announce he is opening up seas around the UK to wind farms.

Julian Knight: The complaints prove hollow but so do HIPs

Julian Knight denounces HIPs as “expensive shells that aren’t much use to anyone” in his column in The Independent on Sunday. The introduction of the packs for four bedroom homes earlier this year hasn’t produced the predicted delays in sales and public confusion, he says, but has brought no gain either.

Rail Rivals line up Chiltern

Deutsche Bahn, Germany’s national rail company and Ned Rail, its Dutch equivalent, are the two remaining companies locked in a bidding war to take over Chiltern Railways, The Observer reports. This is the train company which runs long-distance services from London’s Marylebone station. A winner will be announced before Christmas.

A Convenient £50m for green guru Al Gore

Al Gore, former US vice-president turned environmental campaigner has earned £50m in just seven years from books, speeches and investments in technology and green ventures, according to the Sunday Times. In the 2000 elections, when he lost the presidency to George W Bush, he was worth just £1m.

Carbon stand-off puts climate talks at risk

A stand-off is emerging at the UN sponsored talks in Bali which is the first stage in devising a new agreement for the cutting of green house emissions after the Kyoto protocol expires in 2012, says the Sunday Times. Europe and America disagree over carbon trading, China and India both disagree with Europe and America over making any cuts in their soaring carbon emissions and the US is flatly refusing to contemplate initiatives that could help Russia become a superpower again.

Flood Victims face new problem

There are more than 2 million homes at risk from coastal or inland flooding - 10 % of the total houses in the UK - and about 400,000 at very high risk, says The Observer.

Safety Catch

According to the latest official figures, 241 people were killed in the UK at work in 2006-2007, a figure exceeded only once in the last seven years, reports The Guardian. Agriculture and construction are the most dangerous areas of industry with the most common single cause of death being a fall from height.

Creating a Low Carbon Britain

Britain has the knowledge and expertise to become a world leader in renewable energy, but faces obstacles ranging from enraged landowners to insufficient market incentives, according to The Observer.