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Consortium Testrad say the design could be built within seven years

Development quango sent staff to pottery classes

Former staff of a development quango were sent for patchwork, pottery and jewellery-making lessons at taxpayers’ expense, an investigation has found.

Light trails on Blackwall Tunnel Approach

Drivers will be charged to use Blackwall Tunnel

Motorists face toll charges of more than £2 to use the Blackwall Tunnel, to fund a new road crossing under the Thames at Silvertown.

Campaigners stage protest to save Coryton refinery in Essex

Campaigners trying to save jobs at an oil refinery have staged a protest amid warnings that its closure could see more than £100 million drained from the economy.

EasyJet's new London airport – in Southend

Southend-on-Sea's tourist board boasts of the town's seven "glorious" miles of seafront, the world's longest pleasure pier and "so much more". But visitors from next year may have the beaches of Ibiza and the Algarve more on their mind, after easyJet said it was to fly to popular tourist destinations from its airport.

Visitors find the only way is the Other Essex

The white-stilettoed stars of ITV2's reality show have boosted interest in the county's more natural attractions

Q&A: Tony Hall, Chief Executive of the Royal Opera House

Tony Hall, 59, has been chief executive of the Royal Opera House (ROH), Covent Garden, since 2001. He is the highest paid arts organisation chief in Britain, and is also chair of the Cultural Olympiad, the series of cultural events being organised to coincide with the 2012 London Olympics.

Eric de Maré's RIBA show reveals raw substance of an industrial age

They are stark and gaunt, often radiating an aura of carbonised dampness that suggests ruin and redemption. In our age of urban regeneration, the photographs of Eric de Maré, on show at the Royal Institute of British Architects, are ironic palimpsests of the government's grands projets on the Olympic site and Thames Gateway. But is Britain really on the march again, in the way that De Maré thought it was in the 50s and 60s? Half a century later, do we give a damn, as he did, about ordinary older buildings and settings?

Tories accused of hypocrisy over conference events

Conservatives have been accused of "rank hypocrisy" for taking cash from public bodies to sponsor events at their party conference.

Taxpayers' cash spent on hotels and massages

Civil servants spent thousands of pounds of taxpayers' money on luxury hotels, M&S lunches, away days and staff massages last year, newly-released figures show.

Station to station: the new power generation

The architecture of Britain's latest wave of energy plants is the finest since Bankside in the 1940s

Home Swede home: A new 'village' on the 2012 Olympics site is to be designed by Ikea

Brand overload, asks Oliver Bennett, or a brilliant place to live?

Editor-At-Large: Tesco calls its big sites 'towns'. I call them monopolies

Brave new world or corporate toytown? Residents of east London have watched as large swathes of the area have been torn down to accommodate the 2012 Olympics. While the prospect of new, world-class sporting facilities in a run-down and under-developed part of the city is an exciting one, we ought to be concerned about other aspects of this huge chunk of urban regeneration. Local people have lost their cherished allotments, small shops have been closed, and a whole range of family-run businesses forced to relocate. Run-down Georgian and Victorian property (which could have been restored to add a blend of architectural styles to the urban landscape) has been compulsorily purchased as developers rip down existing buildings to replace them with brand new housing. The things that residents want – independent shopkeepers, markets, libraries, theatres and playgrounds – are taking second place.

Observations: Jarvis is centre stage as Metal gurus find new creative outlet

Jarvis Cocker, that most uncommonly mordant celebrator of common people, was feeling frisky when he officially opened Metal, the new centre for art and ideas, in Southend. "I like the notion of a building that emits creative ideas," he told several hundred worthies, artists, and liggers that had packed into the marquee next to the Grade II-listed Chalkwell Hall, a former manor house.

Bellway forecasts drop in property sales

Three of Britain's biggest property companies have warned investors of worsening trading conditions as the slowdown in the housing market continued to bite.

Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Sport
The Pipes and Drums of The Scottish Regiments perform during the Opening Ceremony for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park on July 23, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland.
Commonwealth GamesThe actor encouraged the one billion viewers of the event to donate to the children's charity
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
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Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
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Very tasty: Vladimir Putin dining alone, perhaps sensibly
newsJohn Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
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The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
Arts and Entertainment
The nomination of 'The Wake' by Paul Kingsnorth has caused a stir
books
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Joining forces: young British men feature in an Isis video in which they urge Islamists in the West to join them in Iraq and Syria
newsWill the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?
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Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
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Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?

Some couples are allowed emergency hospital weddings, others are denied the right. Kate Hilpern reports on the growing case for a compassionate cutting of the red tape
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit