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Business News

Business Diary: Whittaker misses out for once

A rare defeat for John Whittaker, the billionaire developer whose Peel Group owns assets ranging from Liverpool airport to Pinewood film studios. Peel, which counts the North-west as its heartland, has just failed to get planning permission for 350 houses it had been hoping to build at Burgess Farm, one of the last few working farms in Salford. Although Peel's plans included provision for affordable housing and alternative arrangements for the tenant farmers currently working the land, the whole development has been vociferously opposed by locals, who have now persuaded the local council to side with them.

Bankers remain out of favour

More bad news for bankers: a poll in PRWeek suggests they have so far made little or no headway in the battle to restore public confidence. Asked which banks had the best reputation and were most trustworthy, the winner, by a country mile, was the "don't know" category, which rather suggests many people don't trust any of them. Customers are particularly unlikely to praise the banks they own themselves: Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Banking Group, where the taxpayer owns such large stakes, came bottom in the poll.

Two new sheriffs in town

Our congratulations to Alan Yarrow and Wendy Mead, who have just been elected as the new sheriffs of London. These are honorific titles but the pair have some historic powers – so best not to cross them if you don't fancy a spell in the Tower of London. The office dates back to the seventh century – which makes it more long-standing than any other post in the capital – and elections are held every Midsummer Day.

Affairs of the heart kept private

Is this the perfect business partnership? Loky is a small company specialising in applications that enhance the privacy of your mobile phone – protecting contacts' details, text messages and so on from prying eyes. Illicit Encounters, meanwhile, is the website to which married folk turn when they want to find someone else interested in a spot of infidelity. Now the pair have teamed up, with the website offering Loky's services to all its users.