Leeds allows development despite protests
LEEDS CITY COUNCIL has approved plans for up to 100 new homes and a school near St John the Baptist, Adel, despite receiving 128 letters of objection and no letters of support, the Yorkshire Evening Post reported this week. Three were sent by Historic England, which objects to “the harm that development will likely cause to the setting and significance” of the Grade I listed church. The Liberal Democrat MP for Leeds North West, Greg Mulholland, raised the matter in Parliament, on Monday. “Disgracefully,” he said, “Labour councillors voted for [the planned housing]. Will the Secretary of State acknowledge that the planning system does not allow local communities to have enough say against unwanted developments?” The Minister for Housing, in London, Gavin Barwell, replied: “Constituents have the opportunity to make representations on planning applications and on appeals, but I am sorry that in this case it appears that the city council did not listen to their concerns.”
Next Kirk Moderator was Sunday-school reject
THE Moderator-Designate of the Church of Scotland’s General Assembly, the Revd Dr Derek Browning, in an interview in next month’s Life and Work, the Kirk’s magazine, confesses to having been removed from Sunday school in Penicuik, Midlothian, aged seven, for being “a disruptive influence because I was asking too many questions. . . Questions are always in order,” he says. He describes himself as “counter-culturally confident” about the Church’s future. “As a colleague has said, the Church is not dying. It is reforming.” He will succeed the current Moderator, the Rt Revd Dr Russell Barr, next month.
Exxon ‘back of the pack’ says Commissioners’ man
THE Church Commissioners’ head of responsible investment, Edward Mason, has insisted that their concerted action with other shareholders to force the energy giant ExxonMobil to do more to prepare for climate change is necessary. Speaking to the Financial Times, he said that Exxon was at the “back of the pack in terms of the oil super-majors and their disclosures on climate change”. The shareholder coalition has filed a resolution for next month’s annual meeting requiring an explanation of how the company will handle increasingly tight climate regulations (News, 3 March).
John Miles, former Chief Press Officer, dies
JOHN MILES, an experienced PR man who was the Church of England’s Chief Press and Public Affairs Officer during the Ramsey, Coggan, and Runcie archiepiscopates, died, aged 89, on Sunday. A former journalist, he was a publicity officer at the BBC for 13 years before moving to Thames Television. When he was appointed at Church House in 1970, under the Chief Information Officer, Major-General Adam Block, his new job also included special responsibility for the Archbishop of Canterbury’s press relations, picking up the pieces after Block’s sacking of his predecessor, the journalist Michael De-la-Noy. He retired in 1990.
Embrace appoints former adviser to Archbishops
THE charity Embrace the Middle East has appointed the current head of policy and advocacy at Oxfam, Tim Livesey, as its new chief executive. Mr Livesey previously served as Chief of Staff to the Leader of the Opposition, and was a senior adviser to Archbishop of Canterbury and the Archbishop of Westminster. He will take up his post in July.