Business Diary: Flat-pack answer to housing crisis?

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The Independent Online

With just a year to go to the start of the Olympics, news reaches the Diary that Ikea has bid to build a 30-acre development of housing, offices and shops next to the Olympic Park in east London. Nightmares about puzzling, flat-packed, self-assembly 10-storey apartment blocks which always have one or two vital screws missing are far off the mark. A load of meatballs, if you like. Ikea is, in fact, an established housebuilder in Europe via its LandProp business. And the rumour that when you go into the homes they build you can only walk in one direction? Hopefully there's no truth to it.

Impossible to call Coogan's bluff

Michael Coogan, outgoing director general of the Council of Mortgage Lenders, remains tight-lipped about his plans after he leaves the organisation tomorrow. The 51-year-old has been at the CML for 22 years, the last 14 as DG, and says he wants new challenges. You'd think he could do with a rest after steering lenders through the last few traumatic years. "It has been a roller-coaster at times," the former barrister admitted.

Lucas loses latest stormtrooper fight

Expect to see a tide of Star Wars stormtroopers stomping through the nation after the force was with prop designer Andrew Ainsworth – the original builder of the outfits used in the movies – at his court battle against George Lucas yesterday. The 62-year-old Twickenham man won the UK copyright case on the basis that the helmets were functional works rather than artistic ones. But the Diary's plan to snap up one of the outfits for an upcoming fancy dress party have been scuppered by the price – Ainsworth's frankly scary replicas cost up to £1,500.

Businesses set to be hit by hacking

Has the phone-hacking scandal spread from journalism to the corporate world? Bosses tempted to listen to employees' voicemail messages could be breaking the law, according to a warning that the legal firm Shakespeares just put out. If you plan to eavesdrop on voicemails and stay within the law you'll have to prove that a worker may be doing something they shouldn't. That means criminal activity. The fact they may be looking for another job is not a good enough reason.