UK's first floating village set for London

London’s Royal Victoria Dock is all set to become the location of Britain’s first floating village.

Having previously unveiled plans for the ambitious project back in February 2013, Mayor of London Boris Johnson has now given developer Carillion Igloo Genesis the go-ahead to design the village.

Although it will only cover 15 acres, the floating village is expected to have a big impact on London’s waterways, bringing new jobs, homes and commercial space for bars and restaurants to the area, reports Other facilities proposed in the plans include an ice rink and a floating lido.

Carillion Igloo Genesis was selected for the project’s design after beating stiff competition from other developers. The project has been compared to similar schemes across Europe including Ijburg near Amsterdam and Hafen City in Hamburg.

Johnson told “This site has the potential to become one of the most sought after addresses in the capital while breathing new life back into London’s waterways. Carillion Igloo Genesis’ scheme will create a unique mixed use development providing a range of commercial activities within a high quality water environment for Londoners and visitors, creating jobs and raising the profile of London’s Royal Docks.”

The scheme is not expected to gain planning permission before Spring 2015.

Global business travel spend to increase by almost seven per cent

This year, global business travel spend will rise by seven per cent compared to the previous year’s figure, a new report from the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) claims.

Overall, spending will surge to $1.18 trillion in 2014. Originally, the GBTA predicted that spend would only rise by 6.5 per cent. This shows the global business travel market is doing better than expected and that spend is growing at a greater pace than it did in 2013. Spend increased by just 4.5 per cent in 2013 compared to 2012.

This boost is mostly aided by the seven per cent spending growth seen in China, where the business travel market reached $225 billion in 2013 – up from 2000’s total of just $32 billion, reports It’s estimated by the GBTA that China will top the business travel market by 2016, thus over-taking the United States, which currently ranked the sector’s best market.

The GBTA’s list of the 15 markets which spent the most in terms of business travel in 2013 reveals that the UK ranked fifth. Total spend last year was $41 billion, an annual growth of 1.9 per cent, reports

In its report, the GBTA notes: “Emerging markets have been tested by a weaker external environment, debt imbalances, rising inflation and capital flight. Meanwhile, the US economy has slowly gathered strength, Europe has emerged from recession, and other advanced economies are gradually accelerating.”

Heathrow expansion needed to attract emerging market airlines

Heathrow Airport needs to expand in order to attract airlines from emerging markets, chief executive John Holland-Kaye states.

Mr Holland-Kaye claims that airlines are flying to Paris instead of London because there is no room for them at Heathrow Airport. He also says that Heathrow’s third runway plans have recently been improved to ensure that noise and disruption are reduced, reports

Although Heathrow’s passenger traffic is on the rise, significant growth can only be achieved if expansion goes ahead, Mr Holland-Kaye warns. During the first six months of the year, some 35 million passengers passed through the airport, a small increase of 1.9 per cent on the previous year’s figures. The opening of Terminal 2 in June largely influenced this rise, reports Operating profits also increased to £380 million, up from the £373 million generated in 2013.

Mr Holland-Kaye says the airport has seen record passenger satisfaction scores for the past two quarters too.

“My vision is to build on that record of continuous improvement, driving Heathrow to win the case for expansion and become one of the best airports in the world – an ambition which will give the UK a great springboard to continue to compete successfully in the global economy,” he states.

Almost half of residents living near airports support expansion

Some 47 per cent of people living near airports would support an expansion of the facility should one be proposed, a new government study reveals.

This means that over the past four years, neighbourly support for airport expansion has risen. In 2010, only 41 per cent of residents would have been happy for an airport expansion to go ahead. The survey covered people living near Heathrow, Gatwick, London City, Luton and Stansted, reports

More than half (55 per cent) of people think that additional runways and terminals should be constructed to boost the economy – only 44 per cent said the same four years back.

Just four years ago, 61 per cent of people believed that airport expansion should be kept to a minimum in order to protect the nearby environment – this percentage has since declined to 46 per cent. Moreover, only 42 per cent of people now say that expansion should be limited so that it doesn’t have a big impact on climate change, whereas four years ago 57 per cent believed this.

John Holland-Kaye, CEO of Heathrow, says that there is growing support for airport expansion. He was quoted by as saying: “More people understand the benefits of a third runway to local communities including the creation of 50,000 more jobs, improved public transports and thriving local businesses.”

London 2012 Olympic cauldron goes on display at Museum of London

As part of London 2012’s opening ceremony, the Olympic cauldron surprised everyone when it began to rise into the air burning brightly. Now, the cauldron has gone on display for the first time at the Museum of London. 

Designed by Thomas Heatherwick, the work of art consisted of 204 long steel stems with copper ‘petals’, one for each of the nations participating, seven of which were then lit by the torches carried by young athletes. The flames spread around all 204 petals like a row of dominos falling before being raised up to create to create a fire pit in the air. 

Now Londoners and visitors can see the structure, which was codenamed ‘Betty’, close-up in the City of London, reports. Although not identical to the cauldron used at the opening ceremony – as many original petals were given to the competing nations – some 97 petals have been combined with test models to create two new versions. 

Footage of the opening ceremony, and more specifically the moment the cauldron was lit and raised, plays as visitors to the museum admire the structure’s beauty and ambition. 

Heatherwick told “It’s the moment that the cauldron is lit that is the memorable thing. It was challenging logistically, but that made it I hope more compelling. 

Excited, the exhibition’s curator Georgina Young said: “To see [the cauldron] pulled off so seamlessly was a spine tingling moment – it was witnessed by billions and the impression it gave was that London was positive, exciting and working properly.” 

Brides spend six times longer than grooms organising their wedding

Brides-to-be spend an average of 36 days planning their wedding, with one fifth even taking the total beyond 60 days. 

According to new figures from jewellers, brides spend 36 full working days planning their wedding, with some of this taking place even before they’ve met the future Mr Right. Conversely, grooms rack up just six days of planning. It should come as no surprise, then, that only three per cent of weddings that take place in the UK have been predominantly organised by the groom.

Even the mother of the bride spends more time planning than the groom – an average of 18 days, notes. This might not have been particularly welcome, though, as 21 per cent of brides said they wished their mothers hadn’t played such a large role in their day.

Of those things planned before even meeting their future husband, dresses and engagement rings were among the most popular. Some 32 per cent of brides-to-be chose their dress as single women, whilst 24 per cent did the same for their engagement ring.

The venue was identified as one of the biggest considerations, with it taking up more time to decide upon than anything else. Close behind was the food, dress, guest list, honeymoon and ring.

Commenting on the results, CEO Vashi Dominguez told “What this survey shows is that a couple’s wedding day is still the biggest event of their lives.

“What else does a woman spend 36 days planning? That is why it’s so important to get it right.”

Withdrawn flights between London City and Aberdeen to continue with Flybe

After British Airways called time on their flight service between London City and Aberdeen, Flybe has announced it will take over the route from October.

As of October 27 2014, the regional airline will run twice-daily flights between the cities using 78-seat Bombardier Q400 aircrafts. On Monday to Saturday, flights will depart from Aberdeen at 06:30am and arrive in the England’s capital at 08:30am, while flights from London City will set off at 09:00am, landing back in Aberdeen at 10:50am, reports.

A second Monday to Friday/Sunday service will take off from Aberdeen at 16:00pm, arriving at 18:00pm, with an early evening flight from London City leaving at 18:30pm (getting passengers back to Aberdeen at 20:20pm).

Saad Hammad, Flybe’s chief executive, said: “We are delighted to step in to continue offering a twice daily service between these two economic powerhouses.”

Flybe have introduced the route as part of their winter schedule, which will be in operation until March 28 2015.

Managing director of Aberdeen Airport Carol Benzie told “Conversations started in earnest behind the scenes when we heard that the London City route could be lost.

“At that time, the team immediately began to have dialogue and whilst we were unable to discuss these in the public domain, I am pleased that they came to fruition with this announcement.”

Waterloo Station's Old Vic Tunnels to become experiential House of Vans

Footwear and clothing brand Vans will open a 30,000 square-foot venue underneath Waterloo Station on August 9, said to be a “unique and participative” space.

The House of Vans will be situated within the Old Vic Tunnels, previously used as an underground arts venue and performance space before closing in 2013. The new development includes a music venue with a capacity of 850 people, as well as a 100-seat cinema.

The underground tunnels have been decorated in a 1960s Americana style, paying homage to Vans’ heritage and creative culture, notes.

House of Vans also includes an art gallery, incubator spaces for artists, a café, bars and a skate and BMX park. The company has previously opened House of Vans venues in New York and Berlin before setting its sights on London.

Jeremy de Maillard, VP of marketing at Vans, said: “The House of Vans London is the physical manifestation of the cultures and creativity at the heart of the Vans brand. London is the perfect city to expand this original concept first established in Brooklyn and it’s an honour to take over this iconic venue from the Old Vic.”

According to, the venue will be free to the public Monday to Friday, and will host major live events at the weekends.

TfL commissions 60 bus sculptures to be displayed across London

Sculptures of London’s New Routemaster buses will be displayed across the capital from September as part of Transport for London’s ‘Year of the Bus 2014 sculpture trail project’, it has been announced.

Some 60 unique designs have been commissioned by TfL for the project, which aims to give Londoners and visitors the chance to “discover” the sculptures via five public art trails, three of which will be set up in central London, with the remaining two on the city’s outskirts, reports.

The bus sculptures – which are 2.5 metres long, one metre high and half a metre wide – are to be painted by a mix of established and up-and-coming artists to showcase the rich history of London’s buses and their impact on the economy and city as a whole.

At the end of the year, all bus sculptures will be auctioned off with the proceeds benefiting international transport charity Transaid, among others. The sculpture trails are just part of ‘Year of the Bus 2014’, notes, which also celebrates the 100th anniversary of London buses being sent to the Western Front during WW1 and marks 75 years since the introduction of the RT-Type bus.

Leon Daniels, TfL’s managing director for surface transport, said: “The project also seeks to remind everyone of the key role that London’s buses play in the lives of so many millions of people in this city. The New Routemaster is already famed for its asymmetrical geometry, curves and flowing lines – I’m delighted that this sculpture trail will see the iconic London bus transformed into multiple works of art across the city.”

The sculpture trails run from Monday September 22 for seven weeks.

Events now make up 7.8 per cent of marketing budgets

Business events are now allocated 7.8 per cent of marketing budgets, according to the Q2 2014 IPA Bellwether report released yesterday (July 17). 

Research carried out by the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) found that, during Q2 2014, events budgets enjoyed a “modest” rise. In fact, some 19 per cent of those surveyed reported an increase in the amount they are setting aside for business events, reports

Only 11 per cent said that their events budget was lower than it was in Q1. On average, the overall amount of marketing budgets designated to events rose from 6.2 percent to 7.8 per cent between Q1 and Q2, a figure that’s continued to grow for an impressive seven consecutive quarters.

Paul Simonet, creative strategy director of experiential agency Imagination, said: “The continuing growth of the events and experiences sector is encouraging. Even more encouraging is the degree to which events and experiences are increasingly at the very heart of brands’ social, digital and content strategy.”

The Bellwether report gathers data from some 300 UK marketing professionals. Internet marketing spend saw the largest increase this quarter (up to 14.7 per cent), while SEO now takes up 12.9 per cent of the total marketing mix, notes.

Chris Williamson, an author of the Bellwether Report, said: “Marketing spend is surging higher as companies remain upbeat about the future. The extent to which business confidence has shown continual improvements over the past year is remarkable, generating a major inflow of investment in marketing.”