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Click above for Planning Application submission (we submit, we submit!) plus Transport page.

2015-01-22

Wed 4 Feb: Now that Hammerson/Standard Life is in the Dustbin of History ("No score, retired hurt."): The New Beauty Contest for Brent Cross Cricklewood! (Free food.)



Brent Cross South Bidders:

Bidder Day Presentations

On behalf of the London Borough of Barnet, I am pleased to invite you to take part in the process to identify a preferred development partner for the Council at Brent Cross South.

The Council has been working for some time to shortlist a range of potential partners. The proposal is that the partner will work with the Council over the next 20 years to create a new town centre and around 7,500 new homes at Brent Cross.

You may be aware from press coverage that there are four parties in the final tender process:
  1. Argent with Related Companies LP
  2. Barratt with London & Quadrant Housing Trust
  3. Capital & Counties plc
  4. Far Eastern Consortium with Countryside, Notting Hill Housing and Southern Grove (the 'Gateway Barnet' [Good grief] consortium).
Each of the four parties is being invited to present their thinking around Placemaking and Project Delivery to Council Members and other key stakeholders on Wednesday 4th February at Hendon Town Hall.

We would like to invite you to be part of the audience and to hear what ideas and proposals the four bidders have. You will not be actually scoring the presentations but your feedback on each of them would be welcomed by the Council who will consider your views when forming its own assessment.

The day will start at 9am and finish at 5pm with refreshments and lunch provided.

More information on the background to the project can be found here http://brentcrosscricklewood.com/.

We do hope you will join us for the day and we look forward to hearing from you soon. If you have any special needs or dietary requirements please do not hesitate to contact [us on] 0208 359 7188.

With thanks and kind regards

Yours sincerely

Project Director, Brent Cross Cricklewood

Send by Senior Regeneration Officer
Development and Regulatory Services (DRS)
London Borough of Barnet, North London Business Park, Oakleigh Road South, London N11 1NP
Tel: 020 8359 7188

Broken Barnet: "A concept of place making, and the promotion of well being: the West Hendon Inquiry begins"


Link to web site

"The Holiday Inn Brent Cross is placed in perhaps one of the least attractive locations imaginable for any hotel: surrounded on all sides, as it is, by a stranglehold of motorways, high rise flats, an ageing, brutalist style shopping centre, a small industrial estate - and an abandoned rubbish dump.

"The River Brent, once an idyllic retreat, and the favoured subject of pre- Raphaelite Victorian artists like Maddox Brown, now runs through an ecologically barren concrete conduit, full of rusting supermarket trolleys, and plastic bags, waiting for the long promised restoration accompanying yet another 'regeneration' scheme, and serving as another psycho-geographically perfect metaphor, perhaps, for Broken Barnet, where the preservation of environment, if not of community, must accompany the profiteering of property developers.

"Yes: to the Holiday Inn, then, yesterday, for the opening day of the West Hendon Housing Inquiry, instigated by the Secretary of State for the Department of Communities and Local Government, in order to hear objections to the compulsory purchase of residents homes, in the council owned estate, next to the Welsh Harp, before demolition makes way for a development of luxury housing by Barratts."

2015-01-21

Thurs 22 Jan: Wembley Matters: "Support Our West Hendon's challenge to social cleansing by Barnet Council and Barratt Homes"


Link to web site

"The Public Inquiry into the West Hendon development has started. The Guardian has carried an article outlining the arguments that Barnet Council are engaged in the social cleansing of the estate.

There will be a meeting at the Marsh Drive Community Centre on the estate at 2pm on Thursday afternoon and then a procession to Barnet Town Hall.

"This is an update received from Barnet green party member Ben Samuel. ..."

Barnet Press: "West Hendon regeneration will create 'transient community', resident claims"


Link to web site

"RESIDENTS hit out at the controversial plans to redevelop the West Hendon estate on the opening of the public inquiry into the council's compulsory purchase orders, and claimed it would create a 'transient community' of buy-to-lets.

"Inspector Zoe Hill is considering evidence over the eight day public inquiry to decide whether Barnet council was right to issue the compulsory purchase notices for homes on the estate so it can complete the 2,000 scheme.

"The plans include a primary school and nursery and will replace the existing 680-home estate next to the Welsh Harp reservoir.

"The inquiry opened at the Holiday Inn, Brent Cross, but will move to Hendon Town Hall at The Burroughs for subsequent days."

2015-01-20

The Guardian: "Barnet council 'engaged in social cleansing' at West Hendon estate"


Link to web site

"A Conservative council has been accused of 'social cleansing' and gerrymandering over an attempt to force families to sell their homes for less than half the price of planned replacement apartments.

"The London borough of Barnet’s use of compulsory purchase powers to buy flats as part of the £520m rebuilding of the West Hendon estate by Barratt Homes is being challenged at a public inquiry by residents who say they are being forced out of the area.

"They claimed Barratt's offer of £175,000 to buy a two-bedroom flat and £115,000 for a one-bedroom flat would allow just three of the 36 owners affected in the first phase of the development to stay in an area where many had spent most of their lives. Two-bed flats in the replacement scheme by Barratt and its joint venture partner, Metropolitan Homes, are expected to sell for up to £415,000."

Barnet Times: " 'You are displacing a whole community': Public inquiry into West Hendon Estate starts"


Link to web site

"Barnet Borough Council and developers involved in the West Hendon Estate regeneration were accused of 'displacing a whole community' during a public inquiry.

"The public inquiry, into the authority’s use of compulsory purchase orders (CPOs) in the regeneration scheme, which will order people to sell their homes to make way for 2,000 new flats, started today at the Brent Cross Holiday Inn.

"Developers Barratt Metropolitan Limited and the council said that the purchase orders were necessary as it was 'unlikely' they would acquire the properties 'within a reasonable timescale' otherwise."

Inside Housing: "No social housing"


Link to web site

"In London dozens of schemes are being 'called in' by the Mayor and the amount of affordable housing is being reduced from the target set by boroughs. In one borough, Southwark, the local pressure group 35 Percent estimates that the new guidance has seen an avoidance of £265 million in off-site affordable housing payments required by the borough’s policy. Extend that across London and the loss of affordable housing is staggeringly high.

"Most local authorities simply haven’t the energy or the expertise to challenge developers. It’s like a game of who can blink first. On the one hand developers say sites will stay empty if they cannot get their way and councils don’t want sites standing empty. But developers then provide questionable figures to make their case. They under-estimate sale prices and over-estimate their costs in order to plead poverty. They won’t provide the full picture because it is 'commercially sensitive'. In the Heygate estate in Southwark Lend Lease even made a human rights argument to avoid revealing their profits.

"Apparently, developers must get their 20 percent profit or it’s not worth their while. On a £10 million scheme that is £2 million. Anecdotally, development staff will tell you that developers have one set of accounts for public consumption and another for internal use. In recent times a number of consultancies have appeared offering advice to developers on how to reduce their section 106 contributions. 'If the profit margin for your scheme is pushed to below 17.5% by Section 106 payments - you should talk to us,' says this firm."



"Are Affordable Housing, Section 106 payments
or the Community Infrastructure Levy threatening
the viability of your development project?"
(Link for solution!)

"If so, then we can help. S106 Management only works for developers and is completely free from conflicts of interest with Local Authorities.

"Every Planning Authority without exception have policies that allow the relaxation of Section 106 requirements for affordable housing and other Section 106 community benefits if those costs threaten the profitability of the underlying project.

"S106 Management can produce a Section 106 viability report to establish the profitability of your project and thereby reveal unviable Section 106 obligations. This is achieved using specialist spreadsheets such as the Housing Corporation Economic Appraisal Tool (HCEAT), the Three Dragons Development Appraisal Tool Kit, and the Greater London Authority Affordable Housing Toolkit (GLA Toolkit). The structure of these spreadsheets includes many costs that a more simplistic examination would omit and, accordingly, give a more realistic view of profitability.

"Building costs are justified by reference to BCIS Data revenues by extrapolation of Land Registry Data.

"This is not necessarily an adversarial process causing delay to your planning application. Quite the reverse, a properly presented Section 106 viability report using an accepted Toolkit is invariably looked for in adopted planning policy and should ideally be used in pre application discussions. In many cases a Section 106 viability report will be required to accompany your planning application before it will even be validated and registered.

"One of our Section 106 viability reports will be welcomed by planning officers at any stage of a planning application and will speed the planning process because the Section 106 viability information is presented in a format that is understood and accepted by Planning Officers and Affordable Housing Officers.

"This is not an all or nothing process. Our extensive experience shows that if a Section 106 viability report cannot entirely extinguish your liability to provide Section 106 affordable housing and the like – profitability can be improved through delivering Section 106 affordable housing of a type that is more valuable to you, making a commuted cash payment or identifying and prioritising those types of contribution that are most important to the Local Planning Department.

"Our Reports provide is a very robust picture of Section 106 viability, directly related to the proposed development, that will be acceptable to any LPA.

"If you already have planning permission with an existing Section 106 agreement or unilateral undertaking, the same principles apply, but the approach varies depending upon your exact situation.

"If you don’t understand any of this, have a look at our FAQ page.

"Wherever you are, pre-application discussions, making a planning application, awaiting the result of a planning application, making an appeal, or after permission has been granted we can help."

Hammerson's broken promises: (1) We are in it for the long term; (2) The Brent Cross development will not require subsidy; (3) We are a talented and competent outfit, not a bunch of clowns.








New Brent Cross Thameslink station (and for London Overground, from Old Oak Common?)
2008: Thameslink Programme (TLP) and Department for Transport (DfT) agree service pattern for station at 8tph peak, 4tph off-peak
2009: URS business case establishes positive BCR for station
2010-2012: Design integration with TLP GRIP 3 review and GRIP4
May 2012: DfT consultation on the TSGN franchise refers to the new station
June 2012: TLP review confirmed service pattern at 8tph proceed in 2011 version of the 2018 development timetable
Jan 2013: Brent Cross Cricklewood (BXC) GRIP3 report submitted to Network Rail (NR)
July 2013: NR / DfT confirm up to 8tph could stop
Sept 2013: NR confirmation BXC document in TSGN Franchise Data Room [don’t ask]
Nov 2013: NR validates URS station core cost estimate
Aug 2014: NR peer review of station design: Confirmed construction wiork feasible, subject to stage gate close out [no idea] GRIP 3; funding; risk management; access; and stakeholder management
Oct 2014: NR Investment Panel approval
Nov 2014: Stakeholder workshop to agree stakeholder requirements (input from route requirements document)
Nov 2014: Network services agreement with NR signed
Nov 2014 – Jan 2015: Initial GRIP3 review of existing GRIP3 proposals, including train services modelling, demand forecasting and business case development to identify preferred station design which meets client requirements
Feb 2015: Preferred scheme and updated cost estimate
July 2015: Complete GRIP3 AIP [?] and contracting strategy
Dec 2015: Network change
April 2016: GRIP4 detailed design
Dec 2017 – May 2021: GRIP6 – 7 Construction, testing and commissioning
May 2021: Station open (proposed opening date)
May 2021 – Dec 2022: Grip 8 Project close out (contractual close, 1 year).

2015-01-19

politics.co.uk: "Boris Johnson's road-building plans will cause gridlock on local roads"


Link to web site

"When all political parties agree on something it is usually a clear sign that serious trouble is heading our way. The current roads-mania gripping British politics is just the latest example of that trend.

"The transport select committee was yesterday discussing plans by Boris Johnson to build a series of new major roads across the Thames.

"The plans have already met significant opposition from local people who point out that pollution and traffic levels in East London are already dangerously high."

[Reposted] Barnet's Assets, Regeneration and Growth Committee: The Corrupt Brent Cross Planning Application: "The Unspeakable in Pursuit of the Unviable"









2015-01-18

The Observer: "The last thing east London needs is another seven towers (from Brent Cross's Hammerson and Ballymore)


"Boris Johnson’s support for a luxury high-rise development on Bishopsgate Goodsyard illustrates his contempt for localism"

Link to web site

"The 11.6-acre site is one of the largest left in central London, a piece of redundant Victorian railway infrastructure that is partly listed, a thick sliver running eastward from the edge of the City, through the territories of the boroughs of Hackney and Tower Hamlets, and crossed by the hipster high street of Brick Lane. The proposal, by a joint venture of Hammerson and Ballymore, is of a kind now familiar in London: a row of towers stuffed with luxury housing. At their highest they will reach the level of the Gherkin or the Walkie Talkie.

It is better than some such proposals, to the extent that it offers something more than a wasteland of Chinese granite at its base. A preserved section of brick viaduct will be converted into a shopping area, with a small park on top designed by some local architects. When it comes to placebo greenery, this is more convincing than the Walkie Talkie’s 'Sky Garden' or the urban parsley of the Garden bridge. It will, however, thanks to the proposed towers, be cast into shadow on late summer afternoons, which is when it is most likely to be in use.

"The Tech City people oppose it because it offers little of the kinds of flexible space that small- and medium-sized enterprises need, and disrupts the “cluster” effect – the benefits of having many businesses in close proximity on which they thrive. Conservationists oppose it because the towers will crash into views down Victorian and Georgian streets in neighbouring conservation areas, because the design of the new work is could-be-anywhere generic, and because the relationship of the new to the old is clumsy. Local residents oppose it because it will cast a slab of shadow hundreds of yards to the north, including on the 1890s Boundary estate. This is poignant: the estate was a world-leading pioneer of council housing, whose charming arts-and-crafts architecture was based on maximising daylight to its homes, whose light will now be reduced."

2015-01-17

Thurs 22 Jan: Transport for London Finance & Policy committee: Processing Barnet's corrupt Brent Cross planning consent




"The committee considers matters with a significant financial or policy element before they go to the Board. It also considers the draft Business Plan and Budget, approves project authority up to £100m and considers projects above that value before their submission to the Board.

"Members: Peter Anderson (Chair), Daniel Moylan (Vice Chair), Sir John Armitt, Brian Cooke, Isabel Dedring, Baroness Grey-Thompson, Angela Knight, Michael Liebreich, Eva Lindholm."











2015-01-16

Barnet Press: West Hendon, Brent Cross and Cricklewood housing and regeneration



"They're Going To Bury A Stretch Of The Corrupt Brent Cross Planning Consent North Circular Road, And Cover It In Parks" (What's that? Oh, sorry.)


Link to FastCoExist

"When the A7 highway was first built in Hamburg, Germany, it sliced the city in half. Now a few divided neighborhoods are starting to be stitched back together, as the city begins construction on three new parks that will fully cover parts of the autobahn.

"The highway is the longest in Germany and one of the busiest. As traffic keeps getting worse, the city realized that it had to find a way to keep the noise in the area low enough to meet national laws for noise pollution. Since simple walls wouldn't be enough, they decided to turn sections of the road into covered tunnels. The design can reduce noise in surrounding neighborhoods to almost nothing.

"... Of course, the project raises another question: Is it better to turn a highway into a tunnel or get rid of it completely? As other cities start to repair neighborhoods torn apart by urban highways, some are taking those highways out and building better public transportation."


The Guardian: "Rate of environmental degradation puts life on Earth at risk, say scientists"


Link to web site

"Humans are 'eating away at our own life support systems' at a rate unseen in the past 10,000 years by degrading land and freshwater systems, emitting greenhouse gases and releasing vast amounts of agricultural chemicals into the environment, new research has found.

"Two major new studies by an international team of researchers have pinpointed the key factors that ensure a livable planet for humans, with stark results.

"Of nine worldwide processes that underpin life on Earth, four have exceeded 'safe' levels – human-driven climate change, loss of biosphere integrity, land system change and the high level of phosphorus and nitrogen flowing into the oceans due to fertiliser use.

"Researchers spent five years identifying these core components of a planet suitable for human life, using the long-term average state of each measure to provide a baseline for the analysis."

2015-01-15

Planning Resource: "Government moves to hand London mayor new planning powers"



"The government has added a new clause to the Infrastructure Bill which would give London mayor Boris Johnson powers to make development orders granting planning permission for development on specified sites within the capital.

"Speaking during the bill's committee stage earlier this week, communities minister Stephen Williams said that the government had introduced the new clause to 'recognise the opportunity to plan proactively for housing and growth in London'.

"Williams said that mayoral development orders have been 'closely modelled' on existing local development orders.

"He said the process of making a mayoral development order 'would be initiated by the relevant local planning authorities, which would be any London boroughs in whose area any part of a site is located, and which would apply to the mayor to ask him to make a mayoral development order'.

" 'Thereafter, those London boroughs would have to agree before the draft order is published for consultation and the final order is brought into force,' Willliams added.

"Chancellor George Osborne announced in June 2014 that the London mayor would be able to grant new powers in housing zones, called mayoral development orders, to 'remove planning obstacles' and speed up developments.

"A prospectus, published by the mayor's office last June, invited London boroughs to submit proposals for housing zones, where housebuilding will be accelerated.

"Shadow planning minister Roberta Blackman-Woods told the committee that a 'number of questions' remain over the proposed orders.

" 'Local development orders do not have to have section 106 agreements applied to them,' she said.

" 'That has caused us and a number of organisations concern that the housing zones that the mayor of London is setting up, and to which mayoral development orders will apply, will not have any affordable housing attached to them'."

2015-01-13

BBC: "Why can't the UK build 240,000 houses a year?"


Link to web site

"In 2007 the Labour government set a target for 240,000 homes to be built a year by 2016. The UK is nowhere near that. Why?

"For decades after World War Two the UK used to build more than 300,000 new homes a year. Recently it's managed about half that.

"The country is facing up to a housebuilding crisis. A decade ago, the Barker Review of Housing Supply noted that about 250,000 homes needed to be built every year to prevent spiralling house prices and a shortage of affordable homes.

"That target has been consistently missed - the closest the UK got was in 2006-07 when 219,000 homes were built. In 2012-13, the UK hit a post-war low of 135,500 homes, much of which was due to the financial crisis. Last year the figure recovered slightly to 141,000 homes. Labour's 2007 target has been dropped by the coalition.

"In May 2014, Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of England, complained that housebuilding in the UK was half that of his native Canada, despite the UK having a population twice the size. The consequences have been rocketing prices in London, the South East and some other parts of the country."

The Guardian: "The families cheated out of their homes – for the sin of being poor"


"A Labour council that once protected its people now rides roughshod over them in a bid for gentrification"

Link to web site

"What is powerlessness? Try this for a definition: you stand to lose the home where you’ve lived for more than 20 years and raised two boys. And all your neighbours stand to lose theirs. None of you have any say in the matter. Play whatever card you like – loud protest, sound reason, an artillery of facts – you can’t change what will happen to your own lives.

"Imagine that, and you have some idea of what Sonia Mckenzie is going through. In one of the most powerful societies in human history – armed to the teeth and richer than ever before – she apparently counts for nothing. No one will listen to her, or the 230-odd neighbouring households who face being wrenched from their families and friends. All their arguments are swallowed up by silence. And the only reason I can come up with for why that might be is that they’ve committed the cardinal sin of being poor in a rich city.

"... Nor is this a choice being forced on the Labour-run council because of spending cuts and tough choices, and all that blah. By its own estimates, the project will blow about £14m of public money. Councillors admit it would be far easier and cheaper to repair and refurbish the blocks. It would also leave the borough with more social housing, and Sonia and her neighbours in peace.

"Here, then, is a scheme that is expensive, illogical and unpopular. How does a local government push it through? By cheating. A strong term, but I challenge you to follow the sequence and not use it too."

2015-01-10

It's Grim Up North London Waste Authority


Reposted from June 2011:
Private Eye/ Knife and Packer


"Councillor Davey, your new 'Move to Barnet' video is ready for release, Sir!"


Short report in Daily Telegraph

Report and tweets in 'The Drum'

"[Barnet's Peel Centre hopeful] house-builder Redrow has canned an American Psycho themed promo-video flogging luxury apartments in the deprived London borough of Tower Hamlets, after being hit by a social media backlash.

Starring a suited model the 100-second clip follows a day in the vacuous life of a city office worker before he returns to his apartment to collapse in bed accompanied by a ludicrously over-the-top voiceover.

"The narrator intones:
'Yes, they say nothing comes easy,' 
he growls.
'But if it was easy,
then it wouldn’t feel as good.

To look out at the city that
could have swallowed you whole,
and say
"I did this."

To stand,
with the world at your feet!'

"Twitter users immediately criticised the beyond-satire piece for inadvertently highlighting the detachment from reality of the rich in the capital, with the penthouse in question currently on the market for £4m."


Redrow London Luxury Development Promo from Patrick Bateman on Vimeo.




"There are even theories as to why the advert’s… ‘protagonist’ uses
an old-style Nokia, when the rest of the film seems set in 2015"
Link to The Independent



Earlier 'Move to Barnet' video
Reviewer:
"Claiming that Aerodrome Road bridge, built under
Matthew Offord, was 'ON BUDGET' was a real corker!"


(Published by Barnet Bugle on 20 Jul 2014)

2015-01-09

Inside Housing: "A public inquiry is set to investigate Barnet Council over the planned regeneration of the West Hendon estate"



"The eight-day hearing, which begins on 20 January, will examine whether the council misused compulsory purchase orders (CPO) to acquire the estate, reneging on promises made to residents.

"Adam Langleben and Dr Devra Kay, Labour councillors for West Hendon, objected to the proposed scheme because not all residents displaced from homes to be demolished will be provided with homes in the new development, as was promised in the original pledge to West Hendon residents.

"The Labour councillors said the tenants have been given little choice about where they will move to and leaseholders were offered £170,000 for a two bedroom flat, which Mr Langleben argues is way below market value in this area.

"250 units on the proposed estate will be leased at social or affordable rent levels, although there are currently 499 socially rented units on the estate, said Mr Langleben in a statement to the inspector of the enquiry. Dr Kay said:
"This is not regeneration, it is re-development. Tenants and leaseholders are being treated disgracefully as they face an uncertain future."
In Dr Kay’s submission to the inspector, she said that non-secure tenancies had been issued for the West Hendon estate ever since regeneration plans were first considered in 2002. She said that these tenants, which make up over a third of the estate, have only been offered one choice of alternative accommodation and that if they refuse it the responsibility to rehouse them will be removed.

West Hendon’s 680-home estate is to be replaced by a 2,000-home development is being carried out by the council in partnership with Barratt Metropolitan.

Richard Cornelius, Conservative leader of the council, said:
"The principal beneficiaries of this scheme are the residents. We are rebuilding the estate and we’re providing homes for people and other homes are paying for the cost of the development.
 

There is not an unlimited pot of funding for this scheme. The whole idea is that we do the right thing by the people there."





" 'The creepiest thing you will ever see': luxury London flat advert ridiculed by viewers" [No, it's not Brent Cross and Fifty Shades of Hammerson. Or Argent (Property Development) Services LLP and Related Companies LP, Barratts and London & Quadrant Housing Trust, Capital & Counties Properties PLC, or Far East Consortium International Limited with Countryside Properties PLC, Notting Hill Housing Trust and Southern Grove]


"Yes, like you, I'm seriously concerned about solving London's housing needs"
Link to Evening Standard


"A video advert promoting luxury London apartments costing up to £23million has been pulled after viewers branded it 'sexist' and likened to a soft-core porn film.

"Just hours after the promotional film’s release for One Blackfriars, critics took to Twitter slamming the advert as 'creepy', 'vile' and 'appalling'.

"Others compared it to the adaptation of erotic romance novel Fifty Shades of Grey - branding it '50 Shades of Grotesque'.

"... The development will feature 274 flats, from studios starting at £1.15m to penthouse suites expected to fetch up to £23m. St George, the developer and part of the Berkley Group, is targeting potential buyers in Russia, China and the Gulf."



"And the affordable housing people will live in this"
Link to 'The Drum'

[Reposted from Oct 2014] Politics.co.uk: "The pro-car lobby is trying to destroy London"


Vroom to the web site

"In 28 out of 32 London boroughs, motor vehicle traffic fell significantly over the past 13 years, with the biggest falls in central London.

"This shift was not an accident. It was a deliberate result of public policy.

"Under Ken Livingstone billions were spent on public transport in an attempt to get people out of their cars. Livingstone's combination of congestion charging and new transport connections was hugely successful. It was a remarkable achievement over a period when the number of people living in the capital boomed.

"The long consensus, pushed by road lobbyists and the government alike, that car use would continue to rise inexorably had been broken.

"This was a huge victory for those who wanted to make London a more liveable city. It was also a major threat to those whose financial interest lay in maintaining the status quo of putting more and more cars on the road.

"For some time it looked like the battle was being won. Sadly the current Conservative mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has decided to abandon this agenda."



The new John Lewis Brent Cross entrance!
(Just one part of Hammerson's promised
Spaghetti Junction at Brent Cross)

2015-01-08

How much of the implementation of Barnet's corrupt Brent Cross planning consent will go ahead, before the next property crash? (Just asking.)


Evening Standard:
"Peter Bill: Is the next property crash around the corner?"

"Building on around £60 billion of planned developments
in London is yet to get started"
Link to Evening Standard

"Only £40 billion of the developments [in London] have begun, leaving the $64,000 question of when the other £60 billion might get started.

"This is a good question to ask at the opening of 2015. Right now, wise folk are worried this might be the last, or possibly second last, good year for many a year to come.

This prognosis is based on a feeling that 2014 went far too well."

2015-01-07

The Guardian: "Much of world's fossil fuel reserve must stay buried to prevent climate change, study says"


"New research is first to identify which reserves must not be burned to keep global temperature rise under 2C, including over 90% of US and Australian coal and almost all Canadian tar sands"

Link to web site

"Vast amounts of oil in the Middle East, coal in the US, Australia and China and many other fossil fuel reserves will have to be left in the ground to prevent dangerous climate change, according to the first analysis to identify which existing reserves cannot be burned.

"The new work reveals the profound geopolitical and economic implications of tackling global warming for both countries and major companies that are reliant on fossil fuel wealth. It shows trillions of dollars of known and extractable coal, oil and gas, including most Canadian tar sands, all Arctic oil and gas and much potential shale gas, cannot be exploited if the global temperature rise is to be kept under the 2C safety limit agreed by the world’s nations. Currently, the world is heading for a catastrophic 5C of warming and the deadline to seal a global climate deal comes in December at a crunch UN summit in Paris.

" 'We've now got tangible figures of the quantities and locations of fossil fuels that should remain unused in trying to keep within the 2C temperature limit,' said Christophe McGlade, at University College London (UCL), and who led the new research published in the journal Nature."

London Enterprise Panel (LEP): "London 2036: An Agenda for Jobs and Growth" (That's not twenty-five to nine, by the way)




" 'London 2036: An Agenda for Jobs and Growth' is the most significant business-led consultation project undertaken to help drive jobs and growth in a UK city. The report sets out a formula for the capital to achieve world-beating income growth, greater job opportunities than rival cities, a diverse and shock-proof economy, more homes and better transportation, as well as more balanced economic growth across the UK.

"As part of that formula, it says greater control of taxes and expanding the capital’s ability to capture the uplift in property values from transport investment will be crucial to securing the long-term infrastructure investment that will help drive the city’s growth.

"The report also concludes that 'London’s fundamental strengths in research, talent, creativity and finance should make it an unparalleled location for commercial innovation'.

"The study was produced by London First on behalf of the London Enterprise Panel, with detailed analysis undertaken by McKinsey & Co. It is the result of over 12 months’ work involving over 400 stakeholders from business, London government, central government, universities and others, and highlights three core themes for successfully developing and safeguarding London's economy:
  • cementing London’s existing strengths as the world’s leading economic and business hub;
  • fuelling more diverse growth by capitalising on the city’s strengths in tech and creativity; and
  • addressing the challenges to London’s basic foundations.

"The report found that London is already the world’s business and talent hub while also being a centre for creativity and innovation, but it comes with the clear message that the strengths and assets that have got the capital to where it is now are not enough to maintain the city’s global leadership position, and swift and decisive action is needed to address the challenges the city faces today."

The London Enterprise Panel is the local enterprise partnership for London.
Chaired by Mayor of London Boris Johnson, the LEP is the body through
which the Mayoralty works with London’s boroughs, business and
Transport for London to take a strategic view of the regeneration,
employment and skills agenda for London.

2015-01-06

'The Guardian' letters: "We must protect housing from foreign investors"



"The takeover of large housing development sites by overseas buyers tells only part of the story. Flats in other large developments being built by UK-based companies, such as those we are seeing in Barnet, are marketed overseas to foreign investors, too.

"Mayor Boris Johnson’s only response has been his voluntary and unenforceable 'concordat' with developers, who agree to market in London at the same time as they offer properties for sale overseas. But this is no answer, as far too many of these prospective new flats are sold 'off plan', which discriminates dramatically against Londoners in need of a home.


"A far-eastern investor is happy to put up the cash for properties that might not be completed for a couple of years, in the confident expectation that the investment will deliver huge and secure dividends, given London house-price inflation. Most Londoners cannot afford to pay for two properties at once – having to pay for somewhere to live now while also having to put up the cash payments for an off-plan home that will not be available to occupy for years.

"We must restrict these discriminatory off-plan sales and give priority to local first-time buyers over overseas investors, who are fuelling property price inflation to the detriment of the many thousands of Londoners in desperate housing need."


Andrew Dismore
Labour parliamentary candidate for Hendon,
and Labour London assembly member for Barnet and Camden

Daily Telegraph: "World faces low inflation threat not seen since before World War 2"


"Analysts predict inflation will fall below 2pc in all of the countries that make up the G7 group of advanced nations this year"

Link to web site

"Increases in the prices of goods and services in the world’s largest economies are slowing dramatically. Analysts are predicting that inflation will fall below 2pc in all of the countries that make up the G7 group of advanced nations this year – the first time that has happened since before the Second World War.

"... The world economy [may be] at risk from the most dangerous kind of deflation. The worry is that this will lead to a dangerous downward spiral, in which consumers hold off spending as they wait for prices to fall further. The reduction in demand for goods and services would then become self-fulfilling. Companies may start reducing their capital expenditure as they try and ride out the slump in demand. This would further depress economic growth.

"Some economists are worried that the world’s largest economies are on the brink of just such a spiral."

2015-01-04

Planning Resource: "Holding jobs that will put them at the heart of change, these ten individuals will step further to the fore in 2015"

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Mick Mulhern, Head of planning, Old Oak Common and Park Royal Development Corporation
"The development of former industrial and railway land at Old Oak Common in west London is the capital's largest upcoming regeneration project. Proposals include building 24,000 homes and the creation of 55,000 jobs as part of a scheme on a scale equal to the Olympic site and the redevelopment of King's Cross.

"Previously principal regeneration officer at the Greater London Authority (GLA), where he worked on plans for Tottenham and Croydon, Mulhern has been appointed head of planning at the recently established mayoral development corporation for Old Oak Common and Park Royal.

"Both the scale of the project and Mulhern's 'significant role' mean that he will be a key figure in the coming year, according to one consultant. 'Old Oak Common is going to be important for all sorts of reasons,' adds a lawyer [from Sue, Grabbitt and Runne?], pointing to plans to make it the site of a major station for both Crossrail and High Speed Two (HS2).

"Plans to connect HS2 to London Overground [including a new service to the site of Barnet's corrupt Brent Cross planning consent] could make Old Oak Common the capital's largest transport hub, according to the GLA and mayoral agency Transport for London."

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(Potential London Overground connections)