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ROUNDUP OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT STORIES FROM SATURDAY'S NATIONAL PRESS

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FOOT AND MOUTH DECLINES BUT FEAR FOR FOOTPATH SAFETY REMAINS ...
FOOT AND MOUTH DECLINES BUT FEAR FOR FOOTPATH SAFETY REMAINS
Local authorities are struggling with fear and bureaucracy as they plan the
reopening of countryside footpaths in advance of next weekend's public
holiday and amid continuing worry about foot and mouth disease.
The Financial Times (May 19, p5) quoted the Countryside Agency as saying: 'It's easier to close the footpaths than reopen them but we have been giving financial assistance to help with risk assessment. There is a perceptible quickening of reopening.'
The paper reported that the Cumbria Tourist Board said that many businesses
dependent on tourism were facing severe financial difficulties.
Also see LGCnet'MAFF to get control of 'Right to Roam'.'
LABOUR PLANS TO EXTEND COUNCIL HOUSE RIGHT TO BUY POLICY
The Daily Telegraph(May 19, p9) reported that Labour plans to introduce
legislation to give people living in social housing the right to acquire a
stake in their home.
When council tenants moved house they would be able to sell their share back
to the local authority or housing association and get a sum of money which
could be used, for example, as a deposit on a house in the private sector.
Nick Raynsford, housing minister, told the paper: 'We want to break down the
division between people living in social housing and home owners.'
COUNCILS REJECT PLANNING PERMISSION FOR POLICE PHONE MASTS
A safety expert has warned that thousands of phone masts to be erected all
over the country could pose a hazard to health, reported the Daily Mail (May
19, p43).
The masts are part of a£2.5bn national police radio system, but
planning permission for a number of the masts has already been rejected
because of health concerns.
CONVERSION OF KNOWLE AND OTHER VICTORIAN HOSPITALS FOR RESIDENTIAL USE
Many Victorian hospitals - some built for mental patients or as isolation hospitals for patients with infectious diseases - have been demobilised before undergoing brownfield conversion to residential use.
One example is Knowle Village on the site of the old Knowle Hospital in Hampshire, which will be launched by developers Berkeley Homes next weekend.
Under agreements with Winchester City Council - searching for similar brownfield sites in the area - Berkeley Homes has already improved access, provided various community facilities, open spaces and social housing, and contributed to education in Winchester, reports the Financial Times.
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