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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.

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine