Dead in the water

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country -

The en­vi­ron­ment Agency should be stripped of its pow­ers, say MPS, who ad­vo­cate ‘a com­plete over­haul’ of the flood-risk-man­age­ment sys­tem, with the ap­point­ment of a Na­tional Floods Com­mis­sioner for eng­land and the cre­ation of a new eng­land Rivers and Coastal Author­ity.

At the be­gin­ning of this year, the quango’s chair­man re­signed un­der crit­i­cism for hol­i­day­ing in Bar­ba­dos while north­ern eng­land bat­tled se­vere flood­ing. Fur­ther crit­i­cism is lev­elled at the agency for its ‘frag­mented, in­ef­fi­cient and in­ef­fec­tive’ ar­range­ments.

Forc­ing hous­ing de­vel­op­ers who ig­nore reg­u­la­tions to pick up the bill for flood dam­age and giv­ing farm­ers in­cen­tives to flood fields are among the so­lu­tions of­fered by the com­mit­tee.

‘In re­cent years, floods have wrecked prop­er­ties and de­stroyed liveli­hoods from Som­er­set to North York­shire,’ said Neil Par­ish, chair­man of the cross­party panel, who points out that five mil­lion peo­ple in eng­land alone live in at-risk ar­eas. Last win­ter saw a record amount of rain­fall and Storm Des­mond, which hit over Christ­mas, is es­ti­mated to have cost £5 bil­lion. ‘Our pro­pos­als will de­liver a far more holis­tic ap­proach to flood­ing and wa­ter­sup­ply man­age­ment,’ he con­cludes. grine Bryant, whose restora­tion of James Wyatt’s en­filade of rooms at Crichel house in­volved un­cov­er­ing a dome and re­in­stat­ing a Vene­tian win­dow.

ex­am­ples such as the Wim­pole Gothic Tower re­mind us, says John Goodall, Coun­try Life Ar­chi­tec­tural edi­tor and judge, that Ge­or­gian ar­chi­tec­ture is not lim­ited to res­i­den­tial prop­erty. ‘And just as all com­posers want to write a Mass, all ar­chi­tects want to de­sign a church,’ he adds.

In­deed, in Berk­shire, ar­chi­tect Craig hamil­ton’s Catholic chapel is proof of the outer reaches of Ge­or­gian de­sign. Mr hamil­ton wanted his chapel to be a ‘tem­ple in the land­scape’. ev­ery de­tail, from light fit­tings and pews to can­dles and door han­dles, is har­mo­nious, which ‘helps to im­bue the build­ing with a unity of pur­pose’. A piece of mu­sic by Sir James Macmil­lan, the clas­si­cal com­poser and con­duc­tor, was com­mis­sioned for the chapel’s con­se­cra­tion. Eleanor Doughty

Scot­land’s iconic Monarch of the Glen (1851) by Land­seer—on loan to Na­tional Mu­se­ums Scot­land for the past 17 years and for­merly the trade­mark for De­war’s and Glen­fid­dich whiskies—will go un­der the ham­mer for the first time in a cen­tury, at Christie’s on De­cem­ber 8. There is con­cern that this ‘ro­man­tic em­blem of the High­lands’ could go to an over­seas bid­der

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