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In the papers today: 30.01.08

Before we get to the architecture, time for a bit of class warfare.

Several of today’s newspapers rake over the details of Tory MP foor Old Bexley and Sidcup Derek Conway's generous stipends to his sons, courtesy of the Great British Taxpayer. The spotlight was initially focused on Frederick Conway, the younger of Mr Conways’ sons, but has now turned onto his older brother Henry.

Seemingly Henry enjoys a ‘colourful’ nightlife; one of his Chelsea shindigs in November last year was entitled the ‘F**k Off I’m Rich Party’. Who knows what his old man – who came from a Tyneside working-class labour family – would think.

The Times publishes a glowing family portrait, while the Telegraph opts for a picture of Henry Conway standing hands-on-hip, legs astride. The archetypal young Tory decked out in stripey shirt, scarf and overcoat looks wolfishly into the camera lense. Readers can make up their own mind which they find most disturbing: the fact that he annually trousered £10,000 for minimal parliamentary work or his combination of the open necked shirt, gold chain and golden-haired coiffure…

Rant over – back to the built environment. The Evening Standard reports that plans to refurbish Charlton Lido with a £4 million makeover and a new diving centre are expected to get the go-ahead by Greenwich councillors.

The Standard also writes that millions of rooms are vanishing in an open-plan home craze! And according to Halifax home insurance this rout of the nation’s rooms looks set to continue: a further 2.1 million homes are set to lose at least one room this year.

Get a hold of the Independent's Property section and you can catch Will Allsop at home. He gives Sally Howard a guided tour of his South Kensington pad. Highlights include the sofa-side tables designed to hold drinks and operate as a receptacle for flicked ash.

The Financial Times interviews Graham Cartledge, chairman of Benoy, as part of a series called Enterprising Britain’ which talks to three entrepreneurs from the creative sector. Cartledge gives the lowdown on pitching to Middle Eastern clients without giving away your most important asset – your intellectual property.

As ‘Corporate spend on culture hits £600m record high’ according to the Financial Times, the auction houses are offering us more ways to slide further into debt. Francois Mitterand’s slippers were among the 368 lots that went under the hammer in a Parisian auction house last night. The footwear was embroidered with a socialist rose and were not from a French couturier but the very British Church’s.

If presidential loungewear doesn’t take your fancy then how about a 15m-high rocket? Blackpool Council are flogging off some of their illuminations and the 8 tonne ‘Thunderbird 3’ model is up for sale. And worry not about Health and Safety concerns; according to Nicola Atanassova of Blackpool Council ‘it can withstand a force 8 gale’ and they’ll throw in a ‘Thunderbirds are Go’ sign…

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