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ROUNDUP OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT STORIES IN TODAY'S NEWSPAPERS

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COUNCILLORS BACK RAMBLERS AGAINST TV STAR...
COUNCILLORS BACK RAMBLERS AGAINST TV STAR

Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson has become embroiled in a planning dispute with ramblers on the Isle of Man, the Independent reports (p14).

The Pandora column says the TV star enraged hikers by erecting a barbed wire fence across a coastal path running through his property. Local councillors have supported the ramblers in lodging 127 affidavits with the Manx attorney general. The Clarksons claim the path was never designated formally as a right of way.

SCHOOL MEALS SPURNED BY PARENTS AND PUPILS

Negative publicity generated by Jamie Oliver's campaign has driven pupils away from school meals despite rising standards, the Daily Telegraph reports (p11).

The School Food Trust found that in the year following the documentary series, take-up fell by 5.8% in primary schools and 4.9% in secondary schools.

KENT CALLS FOR FRESH LOOK AT NURSERY FUNDING REFORMS

Kent CC has suspended implementation of the government's new rules on pre-school private nursery funding, the Daily Telegraph reports (p12).

The issues in dispute are the extension of free nursery places from 33 to 38 weeks, and new funding rules that mean parents no longer top up the difference between nursery charges and government money. Nurseries have said they will lose up to£36,000 a year.

Kent cabinet member for education John Simmonds said: 'We have 720 private nurseries helping to provide places for 20,000 three and four-year-olds, and we want officials to understand their concern.'

KELLY ADDS STRINGS TO KEN'S BOW

The Mayor of London will win most strategic planning powers from the capital's 32 boroughs as part of DCLG reforms, the Guardian reports (p12).

The reform will allow him to rescue projects refused permission by local authorities. Communities and local government secretary said the changes, which will also give Mr Livingstone and his successors new powers over skills, public health, environment and housing, were in line with 'the theme of devolution to our cities, towns and neighbourhoods'. That theme will be developed further in the autumn white paper.

BROWN IMPOSES CAP ON PUBLIC SECTOR PAY

The Daily Mail reports (p23) that public sector pay rises will be capped at two per cent a year for the next five years.

Chancellor Gordon Brown said in parliament yesterday that wage discipline was necessary because of continuing inflation rises.

Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said the caps would 'undo much of the good work that has been done in the past few years in raising pay to improve recruitment and retention'.

SWEET FINE LEAVES BITTER TASTE

Council wardens in Pontefract, west Yorkshire, fined a father£50 after his two-year-old son threw a sweet on the floor, the Daily Mail reports (p37).

Wakefield Council said the fine was correctly handed out and claimed the father, who said he was prepared to fight the case in the courts, was seen dropping the litter himself.

WEST COUNTRY PITS RANKED WITH TAJ MAHAL

Pre-Roman deep mining sites in Cornwall and West Devon have been ranked as world heritage sites, the Times reports (p37).

Unesco's decision covers ten areas where tin, copper and arsenic mines once prospered and provided raw materials for industrialisation of the world.

Stephen Gill, spokesman for West Devon Council, said: 'Along with bringing a sense of pride to the community, the economic benefits will be huge.'

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