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


"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)

Barnet Times: "West Hendon tenants appear in court"

Link to web site

"Tenants who face eviction from their homes as part of a regeneration scheme appeared in court on Tuesday.

"A total of three non-secure tenants from the West Hendon Estate appeared in Willesden County Court today, as part of the process for Barnet Borough Council to seek eviction notices against them.

"They are being moved out of their homes in Franklin House, Tyrell Way, and Marriotts Close on the estate next year, to make way for 2,000 new flats which are being built.

"... There was an issue relating to what Mike Freer, who was leader of the council at the time, had said in January 2009 to a meeting of tenants. He said Mr Freer had assured tenants that the council had agreed to turn temporary tenancies into secure tenancies."

Thurs 20 Nov: "Leader of Camden Council to speak at Barnet Labour Housing Commission launch"

Link to web site

"Leader of Camden Council, Cllr Sarah Hayward, will be guest speaker at the launch of the Barnet Labour Group Housing Commission this Thursday 20 November at 7pm, The Crown Moran Hotel, Cricklewood Broadway.

"The Barnet Labour Group Housing Commission has been established to investigate solutions to the housing crisis, in particular how we can increase the supply of affordable homes for rent and home ownership in the Borough, and how we can improve standards in the private rented sector.

"The Commission is being launched at a public meeting at 7pm on Thursday 20 November, at the Crown Moran Hotel, Cricklewood Broadway – all members of the public are welcome.

"The Commission will run for eight months, with at least six meetings - all open to the public - and will take evidence from independent housing experts, other London Boroughs and the local community. Anyone can submit written evidence to the Commission by emailing office@labour4barnet.com."

Fri 21 Nov: Barnet Green Party: "Green candidates to protest against Brent Cross unsustainability"

Link to web site

"The three Green Party candidates in Barnet, 
  • AM Poppy for Chipping Barnet
  • Adele Ward for Finchley & Golders Green
  • Ben Samuel for Hendon
will lead a demonstration against the unsustainable current plans for Brent Cross on Friday 21 November.

"Do come along and join in our protest.

"At midday we plan to drape a banner objecting to the plans, from Tempelhof Way bridge over the North Circular Road at Brent Cross.

"The Green Party leads the call for regeneration that is sustainable: that reduces air pollution and global warming; that creates resilient communities; and that provides decent housing for local people."

"Hammerson uses automated mechanical model to showcase Christmas gifts" (Allied with London Communications, Hammerson has behaved mechanically at Brent Cross for years)

"Hammerson, the retail property developer, has used a 13-feet automated mechanical model to showcase the wide variety of the Christmas gifts available at its shopping centres"

Link to 'Campaign'

"The 30-second spot, called 'colliderscope' and created by Isobel, shows a scarf 'pouring' out of a china teapot, baubles scattering onto a raised umbrella and a smartphone rising out of a blue leather handbag.

The camera then pans out to reveal the complete model and the brand’s 'there are many sides to...' strapline.

"... The campaign will run on TV, radio, outdoor, press, advertorials, digital, in-store and video-on-demand."


Chris Naylor (Barnet's Mr Micawber): "Brent Cross income twenty pounds, Brent Cross expenditure twenty pounds nought and six, result misery."

"The Society of London Treasurers consists of the 33 Section 151 officers of the London boroughs and the City of London, together with representatives of the functional bodies of the GLA family. [Ah, nice.]

"The Society advocates on technical financial matters effecting [sic] London and its residents. The view represented by the Society reflects the professional views of its members and not the political views of any or all of their employing authorities.

"This report has been written by Chris Naylor, chief operating officer and director of finance at the London Borough of Barnet, with support from member colleagues of SLT."

Saint Jude:
'Patron saint of lost causes and desperate cases'

"RE (Regional Enterprise) Ltd, or Re, is the new joint venture between London Borough of Barnet and Capita plc [cobbled together at the last minute, by the way]. Re provides a range of development and regulatory services to residents in Barnet and the south east of England. 

"The following services are provided by Re:
[We've added those last two items.]

"Brent Cross and a new Thames Link [sic] Station"

"The London Borough of Barnet is currently working with the GLA and HM treasury to conclude a TIF type arrangement [Gawd help us] to ensure that the area surrounding Brent Cross shopping centre in the south west corner of the borough benefits from the forthcoming redevelopment of the retail site.

Land to the south of the current shopping centre, in Barnet, but on the border with the London Borough of Camden, has capacity for at least 7,000 new homes. However, due to poor transport links it is currently economically unviable to develop. Less than a mile away is the Thames Link railway line. [Less than a mile away from what?]

"A new station on this line, on a site in Barnet, but this time on the border with the London Borough of Brent' would provide sufficient additional transport capacity to increase local land values, unlocking the development potential and enabling the rapid building of thousands of much needed new homes.

In this example, the London Borough of Barnet is proposing to carry the financial risk, by borrowing the money to fund the new station and agreeing with government the retention of all new additional business from Brent Cross to fund and repay the loan. In this way the borough has governance oversight of both the debt and the income. [We're doomed.]

Imagine for a moment if, by quirk of history, the borough boundaries of Barnet, Camden and Brent were moved north and east respectively, such that the economically sub-viable land was in Camden, the location of the new station was in Brent, and the shopping centre was in Barnet. In this scenario the borrowing, funding, benefits and risk proposition would become instantly more complex [although to be fair, there could actually be some community based consultation, and sustainable development planning, avoiding your authority's corrupt Brent Cross planning consent, currently being cherry-picked by Hammerson. Just saying, Chris. Still, this is supposed to be your paragraph, so carry on wittering ...] unless the three boroughs in question were able to somehow pool and share risk through some form of shared financial governance. As with Nine Elms, currently the only realistic option in such situations would be for the GLA to step in to both borrow the money and service the debt. [Can we stop imagining now? Is it all a bad dream?]

Barnet Times: Fairview's Hendon Football Club site in Cricklewood and Hammerson's Brent Cross

Yorkshire Post: "Yorkshire blazes the retail trail" (Consume, Consume! At least it's economic activity, though.)

Link to web site

"Yorkshire is bucking national shopping centre development figures as the region’s cities creep up the retail rankings with the construction of new schemes, according to property experts.

"... Andrew Milton, director of retail asset services in CBRE’s Leeds office, said:
"Hammerson’s Victoria Gate which will see John Lewis coming to the city for the first time, Westfield’s long awaited Broadway development in Bradford and the recently opened Vangarde Retail Park in York all demonstrate that retailing within the Yorkshire region continues to be strong in those important key locations.

Although London and the south east remains dominant in terms of development and retailer preferences, strong retailing locations within the UK will always do well [winning the 'Meaningless Phrase of the Day Award'; should go far, this Andy] including good quality market towns."

South Wales Evening Post: "Council Leader says: Hammerson are doing 'Sod All'!" (Ah, if only Barnet Council would say that, instead of being posterior-licking sycophants)

Link to web site

"THE future of Swansea's tired Parc Tawe is still uncertain — three months after planning permission was granted for a £10 million overhaul.

A scheme to revamp the area around the Plantasia attraction and Odeon cinema was approved by councillors in August — but subject to a long list of conditions, some of which the owner and developer, Hammerson, said were 'unacceptable'.

"The approval came with comments from the then Swansea Council leader, David Philips, who accused Hammerson of doing [tee-hee!] 'sod all'..."


Evening Standard: "New housing blocks risk repeating errors of the Sixties, Prince Charles warns"

Link to web site

"Prince Charles has warned that the wave of regeneration across London’s run-down areas is in danger of repeating the catastrophic errors of the Sixties and Seventies.

A report published today by a charity set up by the heir to the throne said that ugly, crime-ridden concrete estates are in some cases being replaced by modern housing in 'enormous blocks' that are equally intimidating.

"... The report, from The Prince’s Foundation for Building Community, said the so-called 'right to remain' had to be 'an absolutely crucial element of estate regeneration'. [Barnet prefers to force many of the poor out the borough.]

"The research criticised schemes that failed to 'replace social housing one-for-one', which fuelled suspicions that some were developer 'land grabs'." [Hammerson's certainly is at Brent Cross!]


Hammerson plc: Interim Management Statement for the period from 1 July to 9 November 2014 (where a small part of success depends on Barnet's corrupt Brent Cross planning consent)

David Atkins,
Hammerson chief executive,

and his development pipeline

"At Victoria Gate in Leeds construction continues on our aspirational development adjacent to Victoria Quarter, Leeds' leading luxury retail destination. The £150 million development is now over a third let and we are encouraged by the interest from premium brands that have identified Victoria Gate as a key retail destination within their future store portfolio.
"Construction at our 23,800m2 French development Jeu de Paume in Beauvais is progressing well. The development north of Paris is currently 54% let by income with Swarovski announcing they will be opening a new store within the Carrefour and H&M anchored scheme.
"In Croydon, we have received confirmation on the timing of the CPO Inquiry for February 2015. Detailed designs for the 200,000m2 centre will evolve, while the land assembly process continues next year.
"At Brent Cross Cricklewood, we have a secure planning consent following the successful expiry of the Judicial Review challenge period. Consultation on the detailed designs for the first phase [which strangely didn't mention the shopping centre!] has been completed and a detailed application [based on Barnet's corrupt planning consent] will be submitted later this year, with the first phase of works starting in 2016. ['Can't wait to demolish 205 homes and only replace a third of them, before getting out. Who'd have though we could've gotten away with that little scam, eh? But it's only Barnet Council we're negotiating with, so 'nough said!']"

[The red bits are not in the Hammerson report. Shame, really.]


Financial Times: "Hammerson counts on Côte d'Azur for French lift" (and demolishing 205 homes at Brent Cross)

"Hammerson is counting on the spending of affluent consumers on the Côte d'Azur to boost its stake in French shopping.

"In a trading update on its July 1 to November 9 period, the retail-focused Real Estate Investment Trust (Reit) reported that consumer and occupier market conditions are "improving in prime UK retail whilst remaining subdued but stable in France".

"UK shopping centre sales were up 2.6 per cent, with France down 2.8 per cent year-to-date.

"But new developments in Nice and Marseille look promising, it said:
"At Les Terrasses du Port [in Marseille], retailer performance has been strong during the initial trading period with a number of well-known brands including The Kooples, Princesse tam-tam and Michael Kors reporting that their new Marseille store is already one of their best performing from a sales perspective, within their French portfolios."
"The FTSE 100 company reported substantial year-on-year growth in total rent from new group lettings (+37 per cent) and total area of lettings (+21 per cent).

David Atkins, Hammerson chief executive, said:
"Earlier in the year we saw signs of improvement in the UK retail market and since then we have experienced further growth in retailer sales, tenant demand and rental values in our winning retail locations.

In France, there is continued appetite from both consumers and retailers for outstanding retail destinations despite a more muted consumer backdrop. The outperformance of our Les Terrasses du Port development in Marseille since opening and the acquisition of a stake in the prime Nice Etoile shopping centre, underlines our commitment to vibrant retail locations in France."

"High Court judge dismisses Whitgift Trust's objections over [Hammerson's] £1bn Croydon redevelopment plan"

Link to Croydon Guardian

"The group fighting against Westfield and Hammerson's £1bn redevelopment of Croydon town centre has lost its High Court battle, after a judge dismissed its objections to the scheme.

Whitgift Trust, which manages and part owns the Whitgift Centre, has been arguing at the court over Croydon Council’s approval of the plans.

The Trust, controlled by the Anglo Irish Bank and unconnected to the Whitgift Foundation charity, objected to the consent granted to Westfield and Hammerson's proposed retail development by a planning committee last November."

#"Sticky Drink Lorry is Coming, Sticky Drink Lorry is Coming,..."# (though thankfully not to Brent Cross this year)

Visit Hammerson's Bullring Centre, B'ham
for the sticky drink lorry
(link to The Independent)

"Coke's Christmas truck, which announced that ‘holidays are coming’ for so many of us before we grew up and became cynical about advertising, is usually depicted on a snow-flecked road that winds its way through tall fir trees.

"Between 28 November and 23 December however it will visit such festive sites as Asda Milton Keynes and Back Lane Car Park, Newton.

"The violently red truck will park up and blast Christmas tracks across England and Wales, also stopping in at a factory outlet in Clacton and an Intu shopping centre in Norwich.

"You can catch a glimpse of it, if just to watch people stoically walk past and complain about Christmas in November, at the following places..."

Old Oak Common - Avoiding the Corruption of Brent Cross's Planning Consent

GUA Conference Programme (Final)-13


Mon 10 Nov: Housing Barnet

Mon 10 Nov: Meeting: "Public Housing in Barnet?"

"This meeting is jointly organised by Barnet Housing Action Group, Our West Hendon campaign, and Barnet Alliance for Public Services, on Monday 10 November 2014 from 7pm, at the Crown Moran Hotel, Cricklewood.

"The shortage of social and affordable housing is one of the most pressing problems facing our communities. Is council housing the answer to the crisis? What can councils do to tackle the housing shortage? What should Londoners expect? What’s the solution: housing associations? housing co-ops? mutuals? self-builds? Must regeneration be gentrification?

"Come to this open forum to discuss with other members of the housing community – councillors, tenants and campaigners – possible solutions to the current housing situation and what actions can be taken next. Working in groups, this is an opportunity for you to give your views of what needs to be done and by whom."

Joining us for the discussion will be:
Nicky Gavron,
Chair of Planning Committee, London Assembly
Cllr Achilleas Georgiou,
Deputy Leader, Enfield Council
Cllr Ahmet Oykener,
Cabinet Member for Housing, Enfield Council
Cllr James Murray,
Executive Member for Housing and Development, Islington Council
Cllr Philip Cohen,
Assets, Regeneration & Growth Committee, Barnet Council
Cllr Gabriel Rozenberg,
Assets, Regeneration & Growth Committee, Barnet Council
Cllr Adam Langleben,
Housing Committee, Barnet Council
Izzi & Sarah Counihan-Sanchez,
The Counihan-Sanchez Family Housing Campaign, Brent
Jazmin Stone & Sam Middleton,
Focus E-15 Mums, Newham
Pilgrim Tucker,
Unite Communities organiser
Daisy-May Hudson,
homeless, VICE News reporter
Jasmin Parsons,
resident homeowner and ex-council tenant, Our West Hendon campaign

Barnet Alliance for Public Services is a coalition of residents, community and campaign groups, and trade unions who want to protect our quality of life, our public services, and our local democracy. We believe we should participate in and contribute to the place in which we live.
Tel: 07534407703 #OurBarnet @BarnetAlliance Web: BarnetAlliance.org

Barnet Housing Action Group works with tenants, homeowners and the homeless, victims of housing benefit cuts and the bedroom tax to fight for housing as a public service run for all who need it. We are opposed to the selling off of our council housing and the gentrification of our council estates and communities. We believe in  'Homes Before Profit'.
Tel: 07913 999 255 Facebook: facebook.com/pages/barnet-housing-action-group/462079237237388 Twitter: BarnetHaction 

Our West Hendon is a campaign group of residents on the West Hendon Estate that is striving to get a redevelopment that is for the local community, not at the expense of it. Our main aim is to ensure that all those residents who choose to remain on the redeveloped estate should have the right to do so. Our community, Our homes.


Daily Telegraph: "Is social mobility really going into reverse?"

"A new report shows that Britain as much cause for pride as worry"

Get one's butler to click on the web site

"Social mobility is one of the biggest problems facing Britain. Article after article has been written (not least by me) bemoaning the fact that the rich are getting richer, the poor and getting poorer, and the middle class are trapped in the middle. We’ve even set up an official commission devoted to suggesting ways that disadvantaged children can finally have a better chance in life.

"But a fascinating new survey from academics at Oxford University and the LSE suggests that actually, social mobility's not much of a problem at all. Or rather, that it's a problem that's mostly been fixed.

"... [However], as the researchers say, if there is a ‘mobility problem in present-day Britain, it is not that mobility overall has fallen. It is, rather, that the balance of upward and downward mobility ... is moving in an unfavourable direction. Perhaps it is this that has been sensed by politicians in their concern with mobility'.

"This potential problem does, as they also say, carry 'potentially far-reaching political and wider social implications'. If we're moving towards a situation in which there are fewer people at the top, and more at the bottom, and people are more likely to have worse jobs than their parents, we should clearly be concerned."

Barnet Press (x3: "Protest by those 'priced out' of new-look West Hendon estate"; Brent Cross & Chris Naylor, Barnet's Head of Finance; and Hendon FC) and Ham & High (Hendon FC at Cricklewood)

Link to web site

"PROTESTERS staged a sit-in at an exhibition put on by housing developer Barratt Homes and Barnet Council to showcase plans for the new West Hendon estate on Saturday.

"The design of the new estate, dubbed Hendon Riverside by the developer, went on show at Marsh Drive community centre, where dozens of residents and housing campaigners demonstrated.

"Leaseholders are angry about the deal the council has made with Barratt to demolish the existing homes and build a new estate, as well as a primary school and nursery, because they fear they will not be able to afford to buy a home in the new development."


Cyclists in the City: "I am completely humbled by this: We can't keep up with the number of employers and other organisations pouring in to support the Cycle Super Highway plans"

Link to web site

"For several weeks I have been slowly drip-feeding updates about the fact that organisations across London are waking up to cycling.

"What's happening now is that the support is turning into a flood.

"It started a couple of months ago. I first got a whiff that some organisations were trying very hard to undermine the Mayor's plans to build two cycle super highways in central London.


"The consultations run until Sunday this week. If you haven't already, please add your voice. Either as an individual or on behalf of an organisation. Here's what you can do to help."


[Reposted from Nov 2009] "[Hammerson is promoting] an arrogant, selfish, money-centred scheme!" Evening Standard: "Brent Cross to charge shoppers to park, to deter car travel"

Link to Evening Standard

"David Howard, chairman of the 'Federation of Residents’ Associations of Barnet', said one residential tower block would be almost as high as Wembley stadium’s arch, while the 140-metre chimney of a new waste incinerator would be higher. He said the development included:
"hutches for hobbits, not proper homes for families with gardens."
"As an occasional user of the shopping centre, my ears pricked up at the revelation that car parking charges will be imposed to ration the 7,600 spaces.

"Brent Cross is a miserable place, full of sad faces and stale air. It is overdue redevelopment - and its residents deserve all the help they can get, in living alongside the North Circular Road."

Community participation at another multi-billion-pound scheme! - the GLA promises "We will not allow a single planning application", so hopefully without corrupt planning consent like at Brent Cross


[Reposted] 4 Nov and 9 Nov: Finchley Society: Greenways to Osidge

The Guardian: "The cold war, Catholicism and modern capitalism"

"The financial crisis and its aftermath have revealed the dark side of the post-cold war model, but Catholic social teaching proposes correcting the way market forces work so that they serve the public interest"

Link to web site

"...There is something a bit odd about the pope leading the charge against fundamentalism of any sort. But the insistence by the Vatican that markets must be underpinned by morality is not a new one.

"What has changed is the scope of the market economy. Modern capitalism can be dated back to the Reformation of the early 16th century, and for five centuries it was organised within the confines of increasingly powerful nation states. Politicians did not need priests to tell them how to put constraints on capitalism; they were capable of doing so themselves.

"The rules of the game have changed since markets went global at the end of the cold war. What the world needed more was a vigorous opposition to neoliberalism and the misguided notion of the end of history. What it got was the collapse not just of communism but also of social democracy, which is why there has been so little fundamental change since the global financial crisis. An ideological vacuum was created when the Berlin Wall came down and it is slowly being filled. But it is being filled by nationalism, environmentalism and religion."

Independent on Sunday: "Going to work is more stressful than ever, poll reveals" (least you don't work for Hammerson)

"British workers find their jobs increasingly demanding and precarious"

Trudge to the web site

"Britons find their jobs more stressful, precarious and demanding than ever before, according to an extensive poll of experiences of the workplace published exclusively by The Independent on Sunday.

"Two-thirds of employed people say that the amount of work they are expected to do has grown over the past few years, and more than a third are expected to do unpaid overtime, YouGov polling for the TUC found.

"One in five says they have seen at least one person sacked or made redundant without good reason."

(Memories of Bristow, Evening Standard)

BBC: "Fossil fuels should be phased out by 2100 says IPCC"

Link to web site

"The unrestricted use of fossil fuels should be phased out by 2100 if the world is to avoid dangerous climate change, a UN-backed expert panel says.

"The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says in a stark report that most of the world's electricity can - and must - be produced from low-carbon sources by 2050.

"If not, the world faces 'severe, pervasive and irreversible' damage.

"The UN said inaction would cost 'much more' than taking the necessary action.

"The IPCC's Synthesis Report was published on Sunday in Copenhagen, after a week of intense debate between scientists and government officials.

"It is intended to inform politicians engaged in attempts to deliver a new global treaty on climate by the end of 2015."

Thurs 13 Nov: Brent Cross Christmas Switch On (firmly sticking Hammerson's Mike McGuinness on the top of the Christmas tree)

"Join us in Centre Court on Thursday 13 November when the brilliant Urban Voices Collective will be switching on the Christmas Lights with a blend of traditional and contemporary Christmas songs.

Until then, you check out the Urban Voices Collective You Tube channel for a brief edit of their soulful covers.

Performances at 4.00pm and 6.00pm.
The lights will be switched on at 6.30pm.

"Urban Voices Collective were extremely privileged to go into Air Studios with Grammy Award winning Composer & Producer David Arnold to record their unique cover of Russian Roulette by Rhianna. This is the first of three songs that David Arnold produced with UVC."

"Urban Voices Collective have covered the classic Mumford & Sons song 'I Will Wait'."


Wembley Matters: Sat 1 Nov: "Campaigners staging sit-in at Barratt Homes PR meeting on West Hendon Estate right now"

Link to web site

"Campaigners from Our West Hendon and Barnet Housing Action are currently staging a sit-in at an exhibition by Barratt Homes, at the community centre in Marsh Drive, West Hendon.

"The current occupants of social housing on the estate are being ousted to make way for a luxury private development by Barratts."

Twitter-published images:

Link to 'Our West Hendon' on Facebook

Link to Shahrar Ali web site, from mid-September

Daily Mirror:
" 'Social cleansing' of London's council estates sees Tories plan underground playground for children"
"... Land is being cleared for luxury apartments overlooking the Thames and the multi-billion-pound Battersea power station development. Flats that no one in the overcrowded Churchill Gardens estate will be able to afford.

"Churchill Gardens is one of the finest social housing estates in London. It pioneered 'district heating' and still has a heating tower that provides the estate’s heating and hot water.

"Built where the Blitz had levelled Victorian housing to rubble, it was made a ­conservation area in 1990, and some blocks and the water tower are Grade II listed. Some of its flats have river views, and it’s a heartbeat away from the ­tree-lined Embankment. Its neighbour is the affluent Dolphin Square, where many MPs live.

"... In 2012, when he was seeking ­re-election as London Mayor, Boris Johnson spoke out against the 'Kosovo-style social cleansing of London'.

"But for many communities that is exactly what 'regeneration' has meant.

"When the vast Heygate estate in Elephant and Castle that once housed generations of ordinary Londoners is rebuilt, only 79 of 2,500 new homes on the site will be available as social housing.

"Meanwhile, the 'regeneration' of the West Hendon Estate, which ­overlooks the Welsh Harp reservoir, will see it recreated as Hendon ­Waterside, with only 25% social housing and the nature reserve under threat."

'Greater London: The Story of the Suburbs' by Nick Barratt – reviews

"London is 'completely dwarfed by the sprawl of the suburbs that embrace and encircle it'. Nick Barratt’s appropriately massive history celebrates not just the central city but Greater London, a term that came of age in 1889 with the foundation of the London County Council. It embodied the idea that London was more than a city, it was a metropolis, the largest urban centre on the planet at that time.

"Adopting a chronological approach, Barratt traces its evolution from its pre-Roman origins, through its role as the 'fortified heart of Norman power', and into the medieval period, when 100,000 people lived in London, many of them beyond the City walls in nascent suburbs.

"By the time Henry Mayhew gazed down on London from a hot-air balloon in 1847 the 'leviathan Metropolis' stretched as far as the eye could see."

- rest of Guardian review, and link for sale at discount: here.
Reviews below are from 2012 (click on images):

The Spectator:
"Little boxes, all the same"
"The epithet ‘suburban’ has tended in latter years to be used snootily by those who regard themselves as fully-detached cosmopolitans. Margaret Thatcher and Finchley come to mind — though of course Thatcher actually lived in Chelsea, not far from the Arts Club. The truth is that, with few exceptions, people travel to work. They commute. They are suburban. Crouch End, for example, is full of journalists and actors and musicians: the last thing they would describe themselves as being is suburban, but that is what they are. In fact almost 70 per cent of London’s population is suburban. To be urban you have either to be very well-off or the opposite.

"... The roads have always been a disaster. One chilling paragraph here describes a GLC plan for three concentric rings [it was four] around the capital. There are urban bien-pensants who affect to love the Westway, but the idea of something similar ringing the capital in ghastly nooses does not bear thinking about. In the event only the outer ring was built: the M25 [a mix of the third and fourth rings].

The best bits of this book are the well-chosen quotations from great observers: Pepys - his is the first recorded mention of the Hackney carriage, John Evelyn, Dickens - describing Jacob’s Island in Oliver Twist: 'every repulsive lineament of poverty, every loathsome indication of filth, rot and garbage'."

Daily Telegraph:
"This history of the capital’s sprawling suburbs is flawed but highly entertaining"
"This history not only tries to encompass all London, but all elements of London – transport, sanitation, education, welfare, crime, policing, public health, immigration – you name it.

"... We learn that Kilburn was a spa town, that Turnham Green was feared for its highway robbers, that by the beginning of the 18th century London was drowning in human waste and, according to Swift: 'Sweepings from Butchers Stalls, Dung Guts and Blood/Drowned puppies/stinking sprats/all drench’d in mud'.

"... The real story of suburbia, for most of us, comes with the opening up of the transport routes in the mid-19th century, with the extension of the train lines, coach and later bus and car routes into what were formerly villages on the edges of London. Typically, this is meticulously recorded, and for my money the book comes into its own in the final quarter, 'From Metropolis to Metroland'."

The Independent:
"An epic account of how Britain's capital city became the behemoth of greater London"
"You don't have to be a Londoner to enjoy this heroic tale of people – and bricks and train-tracks – triumphing to the detriment of green space. You might need to be more enamoured than I am of local politics in order to relish the ever-shifting status of the Metropolitan Board of Works/London County Council/Greater London Council, but even with this material, Barratt gives an overview of 150 years of bureaucratic spats with a relatively light touch.

"You certainly don't have to like the suburbs - they have always divided even as they conquered. One of the book's anecdotes sticks in the mind. 'Each evening the children's writer E Nesbit would produce models of factories and suburban villas out of brown paper and cardboard and then ritually set fire to them'."

The Independent: "Great council house sell-off scandal: Right-to-buy council houses leave nowhere for poor to live"

Link to web site

"Council houses are being sold off on the cheap to people who immediately rent them back to housing benefit tenants, according to an Independent investigation that exposes a new 'Right to Buy' scandal.

"In echoes of Margaret Thatcher’s drive to force local authorities in the 1980s to sell their properties at a cut price, the Government’s new initiative to encourage councils to sell their houses is having a disastrous effect in allowing social housing to be exploited for personal profit.

"Councils are selling off their already‑limited supplies of housing stock and allowing former council tenants to profiteer as buy-to-let landlords."