.

.
Click above for what became the consented plan, plus Transport page.

2015-08-30

[Reposted and expanded] Barnet gives planning permission for 5-storey building for this site, on the same planning application as a new John Lewis at Brent Cross, a MILE away! (The Banality of Corruption)


Link to 'Wembley Matters' web site





Agreement dated 30th January 1987 between Mayor of Barnet, Mayor of Brent, Charterhall Properties (Cricklewood) Ltd, and Erith Plc states:
The description of development refers to provision of 'new public conveniences, public footpaths, and area of public open space'.

Public Open Space is defined as 'the creation of a public open space on that part of the site show coloured yellow on the Plan, such open space to make substantial provision for tree and shrub planting within it and to be attractively landscaped and laid out to the satisfaction of the Council'.

Paragraph 4 b(iv) refers to the Council adopting the public open space after a defects period of 12 months, 'and thereupon the Public Open Space shall become a public open space maintainable at the public expense'.

Paragraphs 4 (d) and (e) refer to not building on the land with the sewer and accepting the strips of land with public footpaths respectively."

(2014: Next to the road has since been improved -
the rest of the land is still under threat)
Pic: Theo Simpson

Saving Cricklewood's Green Space (against the corruption of the London Borough of Barnet)


(2013 poster)

FINCHLEY & GOLDERS GREEN RESIDENTS FORUM
Crown Moran Hotel (Sala Room),
142 - 152 Cricklewood Broadway,
Cricklewood, London NW2 3ED

WEDNESDAY, 15 JANUARY 2014 at 6.30pm
Chairman: Councillor Graham Old
Vice-Chairman: Councillor John Marshall

ISSUE RAISED:
"Cricklewood Lane green space (adjacent to B&Q) This green space is a valuable community space in a densely built over environment. Recent ground works to establish what services are located where under the turf seem to indicate that Barnet is going to go ahead and build over this space. Rumours are that the Rosa Friedman Centre will be relocated here as a stage of the Brent Cross Development plan and together with other buildings, not specified, could mean this space being crowded out with buildings up to 5 storeys high. 

"This is outrageous. This land was ceded to the residents of Cricklewood as part of a section 106 planning gain when the B&Q building was constructed. How can Barnet now take this back to help them solve issues arising from the Brent Cross Development plan?"

RESPONSE:
"A number of local residents have commented on the Brent Cross Cricklewood Section 73 planning application objecting to the inclusion in the outline planning application of the space adjacent to the B&Q building on Cricklewood Lane. This area totals some 0.2 ha.

"The proposals in the Section 73 application currently under consideration remain unchanged for the uses and for the maximum and minimum heights for this site from the scheme permitted in 2010.

"However, it has been proposed to move this site from Phase 2 to Phase 1 as it is a site where the early provision of housing accommodation could potentially be achieved.

"This space is not designated within the Local Plan or approved planning application as open space although (as explained below) it was provided for use as public open space as part of the planning process leading to approval of the adjoining retail development and was transferred to the Council for that purpose.

"In the 2010 [corrupt] Permission, this site (Plot 58) was granted outline consent for retail or health uses on the ground floor and residential uses on the on the upper floors. It was programmed for delivery in Phase 2 of the development.

"This site had historically been subject to anti-social behaviour and a building was approved in this location under the outline consent as it was felt that there were urban design reasons for continuing the built frontage to this side of Cricklewood Lane. The building approved in outline under the 2010 Permission would provide a continuous active frontage to an area dominated at present by the blank side of the B & Q building.

"This area was provided as open space at the time of the construction of the present store (now B & Q) under the terms of a S52 agreement dated 30 January 1987 and was acquired from the Crown Commissioners by the Council in September 2004 with a restrictive covenant requiring it to be used as open space.

"Both of these restrictions are not unusual situations when comprehensively developing sites in existing urban areas such as town centres. Statutory powers under Section 237 of the Town and Country Planning Act would be used to override these restrictions at the implementation stage, if appropriate, in order to allow this part of the BXC development to be delivered.

"Since 2010 a number of community events have been held on this site, and there is now substantial local support to retain this area as open space. In response to this, proposals are also advanced to widen the paved area and plant trees in this location funded by the Mayor of London through the Outer London Fund (OLF). These recent OLF proposals are potentially compatible with the BXC proposals.

"Although it is noted that this space provides a level of local amenity space it should be noted that the qualitative and quantitative improvement to local open spaces provided early in the wider BXC scheme delivery programme will mitigate the loss of this space. In addition, it is likely that some increased area of public realm will be provided and retained as part of the Outer London Fund proposals.

"The Section 73 application will be considered by the Planning and Environment Committee and local residents’ comments will be reported for Members' consideration."

Mon 7 Sept: Attempted sell-off of Cricklewood Lane Green Space by LB of Barnet


(pics: Thomas Ball Photos)











2015-08-28

[Reposted] Wembley Matters: "Dinosaur and developer join protest against loss of Cricklewood green space"


Link to web site

"Demonstrators protesting against the possible loss of the green space outside B&Q in Cricklewood Lane in a deal between Barnet Council and the Brent Cross developers, coped quite well when they were joined by a dinosaur."








[Reposted from Nov 2014] "Developers aim high with Brent Cross plan" (Tower blocks of maximum-profit height are okay with Barnet Council, then)


"We knew the world would not be the same.
A few people laughed, a few people cried.
Most people were silent.
I remembered the line from the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad-Gita;
Vishnu is trying to persuade the Prince that he should do his duty,
and to impress him, takes on his multi-armed form and says,
'Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.'
I suppose we all thought that, one way or another."

"THE owners of North London’s Brent Cross shopping centre have abandoned plans to extend the scheme in favour of a more ambitious 1 million sq ft development to include homes and leisure facilities, as well as retail space.

"Hammerson, the property developer, and Standard Life, the insurer, which jointly own the centre, propose to submit the new plans to Barnet Council within the next six months.

"The change of strategy comes after a four-year battle to win approval for the project. The proposal to extend the centre was initially rejected by planning inspectors in April 2000, but the Government has still to give its final verdict on whether the extension can go ahead.

"However, John Richards, chief executive of Hammerson, yesterday said that regardless of the Government’s decision, Hammerson would submit the new proposal to the regulators. He said:
"Development fashions have changed. The Government is set against the creation of another stand-alone shopping centre like Bluewater, and as far as they are concerned, a straightforward extension of Brent Cross would be in that fashion."
"The extension was initially rejected by the local authorities because the owners failed to establish a 'need' for the proposed new shops, a requirement for shopping schemes located outside of town centres.

"The Government has created a virtual blanket ban on shopping centre developments located outside of town centres, particularly those that rely on heavy car use, because it believes that this sort of development harms trading at neighbouring town centres.

"However, far from giving up on building new shops at Brent Cross, under the revised scheme, Hammerson and Standard Life propose to add about 290,000 sq ft of shopping space, an amount similar to the original proposal.

"Mr Richards said that it would be easier to show the 'need' for more shops at Brent Cross if the centre were bolstered by a much more comprehensive development, including homes and offices.

"Under the revised plan, the total amount of new development on land next to Brent Cross will almost quadruple. The new scheme will include a mix of affordable and luxury homes, hotels, offices, bars, restaurants and shops.

"Hammerson has been at the forefront of the Government’s city centre regeneration initiatives. Working closely with local authorities and communities, the developer is currently working on new projects to rebuild the Bull Ring in Birmingham, as well as schemes to create new city centre shopping developments in Bristol and Sheffield.

"Mr Richards said:
"From a property developer’s perspective, the benefits of mixed-use schemes are enormous. If we have homes, offices and hotels next door to Brent Cross, we will have even more loyal local residents. People will not drive to Bluewater or Central London if they have the facilities they need on their doorstep."
"Although Hammerson and Standard Life will build the commercial aspects of the new development, they are likely to form a joint venture with a housebuilder to develop the homes. Brent Cross shopping centre opened in 1976 and became the first US style air-conditioned two-tier shopping mall in the UK. At the time of its opening, there was much scepticism about whether the scheme would ever be a success and whether shoppers could be persuaded to travel to shop there rather than relying on their local high street.

"Rents at the centre have increased tenfold since then, to about £400 per sq ft.

"Ironically, the Government is now being forced to try to wean consumers off shopping at large malls — which protect them from the vagaries of the weather and allow them to take their shopping home by car — back on to high streets."

'The Times': 3 January, 2003.
(Image is of Hammerson's Jonathan Joseph,
Barnet Planning Committee, January 2014)


(Barnet Times, Nov 2009)

[Reposted from Aug 2012] Paul Winter & Co.


Paul Winter & Co - Specialist Planning Lawyers

"Whether you are looking for a standalone planning lawyer to work on a project or a specialist expert planning lawyer to bolt into your wider project team (including other lawyers), we have a track record for success in major and complex developments and we promise to add value to your project."


Brent Cross and Cricklewood Regeneration

[What were we up to?] 
"Advising and acting for the London Borough of Barnet, in relation to the determination of what was probably the largest single planning application in north-west London, and certainly the largest in Barnet."
"The site involves the regeneration and redevelopment of a 218 hectare site which straddles the A407 North Circular Road [sic] and includes the southern junction of the M1 Motorway at Staples Corner. The development includes a large-scale extension of Brent Cross Shopping Centre as well as approximately 7500 dwellings, 4 million square feet of offices, major transport improvements (including new railway and bus stations) and a Combined Heating and Cooling Plant producing on-site renewable energy based on refuse derived fuel or other renewable technologies.

Work has included complex Environmental Impact Assessment and Transport Assessment issues to ensure that the planning permission was robust and the development could evolve over the 20-25 years anticipated development period.

Planning permission was granted in October 2010 on the basis of a very large and complex section 106 agreement containing some innovative solutions. The Mayor and the Secretary of State declined to exercise their statutory powers of direction and/or call-in in relation to this application and work on detailed design and delivery the project continues.

The importance of the BXC project merited a special strategic policy in the Core Strategy and I have also advised on that policy and the related monitoring and review criteria. I also appeared alongside officers of the Council at the Core Strategy Examination Hearing."

Martin Cowie, Assistant Director of Planning and Development Management at the London Borough of Barnet:
"Paul has successfully supported the planning department on a number of high profile and complex cases, demonstrating an ability to resolve issues quickly and collaboratively. As a first rate planning lawyer, he is an asset to any project team.

Always a safe pair of hands, but Paul also brings with him a clear focus and ability to drive solutions forward. [sic] As a skilled negotiator, he is relentless in his pursuit to deliver, and his advice is consistently reliable, timely and robust.

Without a doubt, one of the most effective operators in his field."

[Reposted from Sept 2010] F.O.R.A.B. critique of whole Brent Cross planning application

Federation of Residents Associations in Barnet

19th September 2010

Open letter to all councillors on Barnet Planning and Environment Committee

Dear Councillor,

Brent Cross and Cricklewood Application number C/17559/08

You have been given one more chance at the Planning and Environment Committee on Monday night for sanity to prevail, and to prevent the council incurring large sums in defending an expensive Judicial Review, then paying out costs to the winning plaintiff.

[Reposted. Again.] Hammerson: "Cripes! How do we get out of this mess?"


Glossary of Terms Attached to BXC Outline Planning Permission 

"Phase 1" [of the Brent Cross Cricklewood scheme] shall have the precisely same meaning as the Primary Development Package and PDP (and for the avoidance of doubt, any reference to 'Phase 1' in this Agreement shall include the whole of Phase 1, including Phases 1A, 1B and 1C, unless stated otherwise).

Rarely-seen Hammerson board meeting

2015-08-26

The Guardian: "The quiet revolution in British housing"


"Architects are fighting back. After their cause was hampered by the ill-conceived high-rises of the 60s and 70s, followed by the dire 'traditional' building of the Thatcher era, imaginative and sustainable housing is in the ascendant"

Link to web site

"Once upon a time new housing in Britain was terrible. Engendered by the fearful coupling of utopian architectural fanatics and of bureaucratic automata in local authorities, it was soulless, alienating, malfunctioning and often damp. Such at least is the conventional narrative which, if it overlooks many beautiful and conscientious works now being rediscovered, still contains a portion of truth.

"This was in the time loosely known as the 60s and 70s, an era of state-led homebuilding that would be terminated by Margaret Thatcher, such that another kind of housing could flourish, terrible in a different way: Noddy houses, faux-traditional executive homes, could-be-anywhere progeny of developers’ calculations and planners’ vague strictures on being “in keeping”, brick boxes packed with miniature bedrooms and bathrooms that would look better in estate agents’ particulars than in real life. This story might be oversimplified too, although I can’t immediately see in what way.

"Now, if you look carefully and avert your gaze from large quantities of obvious junk, it is possible to see that some new housing is, finally, not terrible."



"Architect Walter Segal had a long and influential career. In his later years he focused on a series of self-built council housing developments which made use of innovative organising principles. 

"This is the story of Walter’s Way, a little-known street of two-storey houses in Lewisham, which may hold part of the solution to London's housing crisis."


2015-08-21

"We are Brent Citizens Against the Planning Corruption of the London Borough of Barnet! We have been charged with a holy quest!"





Briefing on New Rail Services in Brent


This briefing gives details of:

  • the proposed "Crossrail-to-the-West-Coast-Main-Line" service through Wembley Central station
  • a new London Overground service across Brent to Hendon Thameslink station
  • possible light-rail / tram services.

When rail services are proposed, they have to be paid for. Brent has the Wembley Opportunity Area, but the main sources of possible subsidy come from:

  • Brent Cross Cricklewood (in Barnet) and
  • Old Oak Common (now controlled by the "Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation").

BRENT CROSS CRICKLEWOOD


This is a £4.5-billion development, with a very long border with Brent, along the A5 Edgware Road.

There was a 1996 car-based scheme to expand the out-of-town shopping centre: HERE

John Prescott and the High Court both rejected this, and in 2002 Barnet instructed the shopping centre developers, including Hammerson, to devise a bigger "Brent Cross Cricklewood Masterplan".

This was just "top-down planning", and Barnet has never bothered with anything more democratic.


In 2005 Barnet produced "Supplementary Planning Guidance" for the London Plan, but it merely confirmed what was in the masterplan.

It predicted over 29,000 extra cars per day in the Brent Cross area!


Comments were submitted to reopen the Dudding Hill Freight Line that runs across Brent (from Acton, via Harlesden, Neasden and Gladstone Park). But these attempts were thrown out, because "the railway wasn't in Barnet".


A Brent Cross Cricklewood planning application was submitted in 2008.

Campaigners proposed a "North and West London Light Railway" with phase one at Brent Cross, instead of all the extra cars: Three pages in PDF file HERE (be patient for it to download)


LB of Brent also produced a map of possible light-rail across Brent and to Wembley, Green dashed lines HERE


Hammerson wrote to the transport campaigners that it would only "investigate light-rail" if they signed an undertaking not to oppose the planning application! This was refused.


Barnet passed the application through committee in November 2009, although only after a Barnet officer lied that Brent did not object to the plan. (A robust exchange of letters followed.)

Barnet announced there would be an "A5 Corridor Study" - of various transport studies across Barnet, Brent and Camden - to placate opposition. This seems to have been downgraded by Barnet, into a minor planning condition, by a year later when formal consent was given.


The Brent Cross plan was "refreshed" in 2014, dropping most of the Section 106 promises.

Note that it still includes a 300,000 tonne-per-year waste incinerator next to Dollis Hill, and a 5-storey building on the only green space in Cricklewood's town centre, next to B&Q.

Only the chief whip of Barnet Tories spoke at the 2014 meeting. He said Brent Cross shopping centre was looking "tired". Everything else was still in the same planning application, including Cricklewood Lane over a mile away.



Brent Cross continues as a car-based development, just as in 1996.


LB of Brent is objecting to the latest version of the "A5 Corridor Study".

LB of Barnet only models Brent's road junctions if they are "not quite at saturation level" (that is, below 90%). Above that, the extra congestion - at already clogged junctions - is apparently not Barnet's concern, even though the junctions will get Brent Cross traffic.


OLD OAK COMMON


The High Speed Two and Crossrail station at Old Oak Common is a game-changer.

It is very near the route of the original light-rail proposal, but offers two new rail services across Brent - a branch of Crossrail to the West Coast Main Line (stopping at Wembley Central and Harrow & Wealdstone) and a new London Overground service on the Dudding Hill Line (to Brent Cross and Hendon or Mill Hill Broadway).


Transport for London plans are shown HERE and HERE


A "Harlesden Town Team" map of the area (take plenty of time to study it!) is shown HERE


CROSSRAIL TO THE WEST COAST MAIN LINE


There are various routes across Park Royal that this might take.

One possibility (the cheapest) is to follow the Dudding Hill Line as far as Harlesden, probably with extra parallel tracks, and then turn towards Wembley.

Other possibilities allow an extra Crossrail station within Park Royal, maybe near Central Middlesex Hospital.



There could be as many as eight Crossrail trains an hour stopping at Wembley Central,

In fact any smaller number and possibly NO trains would stop. This is because the platforms there are very narrow, and it is not feasible for staff to open the platform each time a fast through-train has gone by.

For safety, either all stop or none stop.


This plan has been downgraded recently, because Euston station will now be redeveloped in three phases, and there is less need to divert trains a different way. However, the benefits of Crossrail to Brent are clear - and need lobbying!


LONDON OVERGROUND ACROSS BRENT

Of course, the North London Line already runs across Brent, but the new service would be further out, and act as a "North Circular Road bypass".

Trains might run from Hounslow, on another new service.

They would stop at Old Oak Common at a new station, to interchange with the North London Line, HS2 and Crossrail, then use the Dudding Hill Line towards Hendon Thameslink station.



This is likely to be a four-trains-per-hour service.

The studies so far show a good economic case for this new Brent route. The line would need to be electrified, and freight trains would also benefit. Again, lobbying will help!


POSSIBLE LIGHT-RAIL / TRAMS IN BRENT

To be realistic, the above schemes - Crossrail and London Overground - are the main targets to aim for.

Nevertheless, car-based Brent Cross (and Colindale) still needs a tram system, and a separate system has been suggested at Old Oak Common, towards Kensal Canalside and Westbourne Park.


There is also the possibility of personal rapid transit pods, as in use at Heathrow Airport, shown HERE

However, no-one has introduced such a system across a wide area, and it might cost general users too much - perhaps like Boris's ill-fated dangleway across the Thames in east London.


So then:
  • Lobby for Brent's new Crossrail and London Overground services.
  • Despise the Brent Cross congestion (by opposing LB of Barnet's scheme).
  • Hope for better planning at Old Oak Common.

2015-08-20

Wembley Matters: "Monster emerges through the trees at Welsh Harp Reservoir (West Hendon)"


Link to web site

"Readers will remember that there was a broad-based campaign opposing the Barratt Home development on the banks of the Welsh Harp Reservoir at West Hendon. Mainly low-rise social housing was to be replaced by luxury private tower blocks close to a nature reserve and SSSI.

"Unfortunately the campaign did not succeed and Barnet Council went ahead with the scheme. West Hendon Estate residents through their Our West Hendon campaign are fighting what they see as social cleansing of a community and working with Sweets Way residents to challenge Barnet Council.

"Walking the Kingsbury side of the Welsh Harp on Sunday it became clear what an intrusive eyesore these blocks will be. Sold on the basis of the wonderful green view of the Kingsbury bank that the new residents will see, on our side we will see tower blocks the tallest of which is 24 storeys."

2015-08-19

London Housing Crisis: "Nine Elms 'sky pool': Luxury London flat owners will be able to swim while literally looking down on everyone else"


Link to The Independent

"The Nine Elms development on the south bank of the Thames has become a symbol for the growing divide in the London housing market.

"And the huge project, which Boris Johnson pledged would help regenerate the area, looks set to get even more divisive after architects added a glass pool suspended 10 storeys above street level for the exclusive use of the block's residents.

"Prices at Ballymore's 2,000-home complex Embassy Gardens are far above the reach of ordinary Londoners - the tiniest flats come with a price tag of more than £600,000."

2015-08-18

CityMetric: "Naked streets, floating bus stops – and how cycling infrastructure can endanger the blind"


Link to web site

"This week one of the 3,500 blind and partially sighted people who live around Whitechapel High Street in London will step outside and attempt to reach their bus stop. To get there, they’ll find that they have to cross a lane of fast moving cyclists, over whom they have no formal priority and whose silent approach they are unable to detect. According to Transport for London’s (TfL) own research, only 15 per cent of cyclists will stop for them.

"For these people, the disappearance of some plastic roadworks-barriers and the sudden, permanent separation of bus stop from pavement, will be the first indication that any such change had been mooted, discussed, planned, designed, or consulted on.

"According to TfL, the government body responsible for the changes, 'consultation' had indeed taken place for a month in late 2014. Obviously the blind and partially sighted people who are actually affected by the scheme were not asked directly: indeed, scheme designs were never even converted into a form they could access."

The Independent: "Bovis, doing exactly as it should, shows why we have a housing crisis"


"Outlook: The paradox highlights one of the many problems of leaving the housing demands of a growing and varied population to the cold logic of the free market"

Link to web site

"If ever we needed telling, Bovis has confirmed it in black and white: Britain doesn’t have a hope of hitting the Government’s 200,000 annual housebuilding target. Ever.

"The reasons are legion. We don’t have enough brickies and plumbers, planning permission is hard to get, and the more we build, the more prohibitively pricey the materials become.

"Tutting and shaking its head like all good builders, Bovis cited all these usual factors. But it also raised another: the lack of available finance for its smaller peers to get new homes started.

"While the City is funding the likes of Bovis and Persimmon, banks, and even the government-funded schemes, are still demanding high rates of interest and onerous terms for the smaller independent players. And without them, we’ll never build the homes we need."

2015-08-17

House of Lords Select Committee: Perhaps someone can explain LB of Barnet's corrupt Brent Cross Cricklewood planning consent to their lordships...


Link to web site

"The House of Lords Select Committee on National Policy for the Built Environment has published its Call for Evidence. Interested parties are invited to submit written evidence to the Committee by 6 October 2015."

"The new House of Lords Committee on National Policy for the Built Environment has today issued its call for written evidence, setting out the scope of its inquiry and asking for evidence submissions.

"Issues around housing and the built environment are a pressing concern in England with parts of the country facing acute housing shortages and an affordability crisis, while the legacy of poorly planned and designed developments can blight communities.

"The Committee will seek to establish what steps can be taken to ensure better planning and design and whether we have the right balance between national policy and local accountability for planning decisions. It will also examine the pressing national need for appropriate homes for a changing population, bearing in mind that decisions taken today will have continuing effects in the years to come.




Chairman's comment

"Commenting Baroness O’Cathain, Chairman of the Committee, said:
"We live, travel and work in the built environment and it affects us all in numerous ways, from our health and happiness to the strength of our communities and the prevalence of crime and anti-social behaviour. It is increasingly clear that the design and quality of our places, and therefore our lives, could be improved.

"We need to plan our built environment to meet future demographic, environmental, economic and social challenges. Design and architecture, public and green spaces, the sustainability and resilience of buildings and the provision of vital infrastructure are all essential parts of this process. To achieve this, we need the right priorities, policies and incentives from national Government and the sufficient skills and resources for local government to deliver on an ambitious vision for the future. In this country we have a wonderful heritage of excellent housing in lovely settings; we must ensure that future generations can be proud of the legacy resulting from the decisions and actions of this generation.

"The supply of housing is a long-standing problem; delivery has neither kept up with public need nor politicians' targets. We need to look at new ways of tackling the obstacles that have prevented progress being made and we need an appropriate planning regime to ensure a balance between giving local residents a voice and meeting our urgent needs.

"Improving our built environment is likely to be a key area for Government policy over the next decade and our inquiry gives people the chance to make their voice heard. When it comes to the built environment, all of us have views on the places we live, and I would therefore encourage as many people as possible to send us written evidence before our deadline on 6 October."
"The call for written evidence contains thirteen questions that the Committee wish to receive responses to."





2015-08-16

Fighting back against Barnet's corrupt Brent Cross Cricklewood planning consent: Whitefields Estate on Facebook


Link to Facebook

"We, the COMMUNITY at Whitefield Estate are not willing to give up OUR HOMES for a Living Bridge. Brent Cross Cricklewood GENTRIFICATION IS NOT something we are asking for!!! We live in a safe area surrounded by green spaces, playing field and many trees...This no longer is going to be the case - the regeneration scheme vision is NOT to link communities; it is rather breaking UP communities and ties.

"HANDS OFF OUR HOMES AND OUR COMMUNITY!"

2015-08-07

Barnet Bugle: "West Hendon Estate Regeneration debated on BBC Radio Two"


"Deputy Leader of Barnet Council, Cllr Dan Thomas, puts forward his usual reasoned statesmanlike defence of the West Hendon scheme but then is forced to endure a full-on enslaught from Jasmin Parsons with a series of allegations.

"Paddy O'Connell is sitting in for Jeremy Vine 6 August 2015."

 







2015-08-06

The Guardian: "Why Generation Rent doesn’t care about your precious green belt"


"Just concrete over it. We’d rather have the chance to get off the renting treadmill than the chance to occasionally eat a blackberry"

Link to web site

"Young people – those vile young people, with their club nights and their enthusiasm, with their tight jeans and their wickedness – young people are significantly less likely to care about England's green belt than the over-55s, a survey from the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) found this week.

You have to wonder, with no little pity, what Ipsos Mori surveyors do when faced with such a crashingly obvious question. 'Do you, a young person, care about the countryside?' The answer is no. 'Do you, an over-55, care about the countryside?' The answer is yes. Only a thousand more doors to knock on before the survey is done and you can drive home. Only a few hundred more days before death.

Anyway, the CPRE poll found that 53% of over-55s were very pro-retention of the green belt, whereas only 31% of 35- to 44-year-olds were certain it was worth keeping. Private renters were a third less likely than homeowners to feel strongly about saving the nice ring of fields around seven of the UK's major cities."

2015-08-04

Thameslink Programme: "A glimpse of the commuting future as new Thameslink train arrives"



"The UK is now home to the first new Siemens-built Class 700 Desiro City train, which is set to transform passenger experience on the Thameslink rail routes when it rolls into action next year.

"Designed to provide much-needed extra capacity on the South East’s busy commuter routes, the train arrived at the newly constructed Three Bridges train care facility near Crawley, West Sussex in the early hours of 31 July 2015.

"Train manufacturer Siemens and operator Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) will now be undertaking an exhaustive testing programme. Passenger services will begin in spring 2016 on the Thameslink network between Bedford and Brighton and later on routes to and from Cambridge and Peterborough, as well as to other destinations in Kent and Sussex.

"The trains feature intelligent air conditioning, wide doors and open through-carriages that contribute to a more accessible and comfortable passenger experience. They will also bring the following benefits to commuters in 2018 in the morning three-hour peak:
  • Over double the number of carriages, providing 80% more peak seats across central London (between Blackfriars and St Pancras)
  • 60% increase in carriages and over 50% more seats from St Albans to London
  • Additional trains from Gatwick Airport with over 50% more running across central London between Blackfriars and St Pancras, with four trains an hour continuing to Peterborough and Cambridge
  • 1,000 extra seats from Brighton
  • 15% more seats from stations along the line from Peterborough and Cambridge.
Rail Minister Claire Perry['s PR chief] said:
"We are investing record amounts building a world-class railway that provides more capacity, more services and better journeys. The Class 700 trains will transform rail travel for customers and provide a massive jobs boost for Britain and a significant boost to our economy.

The arrival of this first train is a huge step forward for the government-sponsored Thameslink [2000] Programme, which is creating thousands of jobs across the country and is a vital part of our long-term economic plan. I am looking forward to these spacious new trains being introduced across London and the South East on schedule from Spring next year providing quicker, more reliable and more comfortable journeys for millions of customers."

2015-08-03

The Guardian: "Barnet's Sweets Way shows London what regeneration should look like"


"While new luxury developments force out established communities, former residents of the boarded-up estate have refurbished a home for only £300"

Link to web site

"On the penultimate stop of the Northern Line on the London Underground, behind drooping sycamores and down a quiet path, lie 142 boarded-up homes – formerly known as the Sweets Way estate. Every home has its own drive and little garden, and running past each one is a narrow road overlooked by streetlamps. There is a strange quietude to the place now, as though its former residents have simply vanished into thin air and left the estate perfectly preserved behind them.

"Following an agreement with Barnet council, all 142 homes will soon be demolished to make way for 229 new houses and flats, including 59 'affordable' homes. In practice, 'affordable' means the homes will be sold at 80% of the market rate, which in this area of London can be anywhere between £300,000 and £700,000 – prohibitively expensive for any of the former residents.

"Sweets Way estate will become Sweets Way Park, and developers Annington boast they can 'bring new life to local communities through new developments and by enhancing surrounding environments'. Annington's utopian vision of Sweets Way Park, symbolised by the image on its website of a crisp, gleaming family skipping hand-in-hand through the development, belies the reality of events at Sweets Way.

"According to some residents, though it's not clear who was responsible for the evictions, they involved people being dragged screaming out of their homes in February and then offered alternative accommodation as far away as Essex and Luton."

2015-07-27

Drapers: Hammerson drops profits and turfs people out of homes



"Property firm Hammerson has reported a 9.2% drop in profit before tax to £329.4m as it experienced a drop in relation to property revaluation gains.

"For the six months to June 30 the business’s revenue from its joint venture projects fell from £183m to £121.1m.

"However stripping out valuation changes adjusted earnings per share increased 13.3% to 13.6p.

"However its portfolio experienced 2.1% like-for-like growth in net rental income, which was up to £159.5m from £146.9m for the same period in 2014.

"Sales across Hammerson's UK shopping centres increased by 2% as footfall grew by 1.2%. The firm said its UK shopping centres’ estimated rental value rose by 3.3% on a rolling 12-month basis to the end of June.

"During the six months Hammerson opened new restaurants at Silverburn shopping centre in Glasgow. It is also on track to open a centre in Beauvais in France, and retail parks in Merthyr Tydfil in Wales and Rugby this year.

"In London the compulsory purchase order inquiry process for its joint venture with Westfield at Croydon has been completed. The compulsory purchase order process has been initiated at Brent Cross for the proposed extension and planning amendments have been submitted for The Goodsyard development in Bishopsgate.

"Hammerson's portfolio is valued at £7.9bn spanning 12 European countries and comprising investments in 22 shopping centres, 21 convenient retail parks and 15 premium outlet villages.

"David Atkins, Hammerson’s chief executive, said:
"The business has performed very well in the first half, underpinned by robust consumer confidence and an active asset management strategy resulting in sector-beating earnings growth of 13%. Our prime assets continue to attract retailer demand from some of the most sought after brands, lifting ERV growth across the portfolio.

Looking ahead, the business is well positioned to benefit from continuing momentum across our key markets and to deliver attractive and sustainable returns for shareholders."

2015-07-15

More progress on the back of Barnet's corrupt Brent Cross planning consent! "Outer London boroughs outperform central areas for first time in 10 years"


Link to "South China Morning Post"

"As land and development opportunities become fewer in prime central London, it really is no surprise that the outer boroughs are showing greater investment potential. With more developers taking on major regeneration schemes and government investment in infrastructure projects, whole districts of London are being transformed and are offering exciting and lucrative opportunities for those willing to look further afield.

"While there is no disputing that London remains the world's capital when it comes to property investment, savvy investors should be considering new, previously overlooked pockets of London in order to maximise their returns.

"... Boroughs like Barnet and Redbridge are still growing, and so can offer bigger rewards long term. Experiencing an annual growth of 14.5 and 15.4 per cent respectively, both boroughs have been invigorated with investment for various new housing projects that will enhance the existing communities and appeal to the growing number of Londoners moving out to zones 4 and 5 to get more for their money.

"With plans to deliver 28,000 new homes over the next 10 years [not to mention the LAST ten years], the fourth largest housing target in London, Barnet is offering plenty of options for investors. Where many buyers will be guided towards Brent Cross where there is £4.5 billion (HK$54 billion) worth of redevelopment happening [happening?], Edgware, just four more stops along at the end of the Northern line, is better value with prices as much as 17 per cent lower."