And finally… ballet-hoo

An investigation has been launched into the removal of pews from a former church owned by a prominent ballet boss amid concerns that COVID-19 is providing cover for unauthorised work.

The 192-year-old St Stephen’s church building in Edinburgh, Scotland has been owned since 2017 by Peter Schaufuss, former director of the English National Ballet.

Mr Schaufuss has declared his intent to transform the building into a world-class dance school and venue, but does not have consent to alter the grade A-listed building, The Times reports.

City of Edinburgh Council confirmed that its planning enforcement team “will carry out an appropriate investigation” following reports from members of the public.

Terry Levinthal, director of the Cockburn Association, said: “We are concerned that the COVID-19 lockdown is being used as a cover for unauthorised work. It is important that any work of this type, and particularly important in the case of buildings such as St Stephen’s, has the proper consents.”

Mr Schaufuss said: “Some of the pews have been removed to storage because we are carrying out emergency work due to water damage. They have been catalogued and they will be put back in.”

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