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


Newcastle Chronicle: "Brexit vote is impacting North East architects' work in London"

Link to web site

"The director of expanding North East architecture business Space Group has told how the Brexit vote is impacting the industry, just after the firm has recorded its most successful year to date.

"... 'We are working on a few projects in central London and they have now been paused. ... We don’t know what that means - if the projects will start up again or if they have just been paused for now - but London has definitely been affected and the market was red hot there.'

"... Meanwhile, the BIM Technologies arm of the group is working on Wimbledon court No 1, the Imperial War Museum, The London School of Economics, Brent Cross Station, Chelsea Barracks, Kings Cross station, as well as projects at the Google HQ and Facebook’s HQ in Fitzrovia, West London."


[Reposted] Why no progress on the Dudding Hill Line London Overground service from Old Oak Common to Thameslink? (After all, any new Cricklewood North station is within the London Borough of Barnet's corrupt Brent Cross planning consent)

What we will actually get:

Boris's aspirations:

Link to HOME (see all posts).

Create Streets: "Want to build homes? Get local people on board"

Link to web site

"Is the fulcrum of power re-balancing between London developers, politicians and residents? Possibly. Boris is banished to the Foreign Office. Sadiq is impressively self-assured in City Hall. Edward Lister haunts the HCA. James Murray shouts ‘affordable housing’ from the rooftops. And several landmark schemes (including Bishopsgate Goodsyard and the Paddington Pole) have been pulled in the face of public revolt and political self-doubt.

"So is it a question of 'all change please' or of 'plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose'? Developers' websites and publicity boards certainly want you to believe that all is new and lovely. Like well-fed monks leaving the refectory, most are bloated with protestations of 'community consultation' and 'public engagement.’

"There are some welcome changes but it's nearly all hot air. The current British planning and development system is a very odd one historically and comparatively. It very imperfectly mediates between what people like and what gets built. The recent transmogrification of the Paddington Pole into the Paddington Box is a fascinating example. Forced into a rethink by overwhelming public opposition Irvine Sellar has come up with a better scheme. It cares more about Praed Street, connects East better and removes the threat of a Bayswater Shard glowering over West London. The developer has even run some carefully structured (though brief) consultation sessions.

"To read the blurb the Paddington Box would appear to be the natural consequences of such engagement. Nothing could be less true. In reality, the over-supply of London's luxury housing market has driven the change of use to commercial and the box is then a natural, greedy, attempt to maximise the space in a given site. It is nothing more than a huge glass box, spreadsheet architecture at its worst."

Washington Past: "The people who are truly harmed when cities say no to new housing"

Link to web site

"The small community of Brisbane, Calif., just south of San Francisco, has a rare opportunity that advocates argue could help ease the region's massive housing crisis.

"The town is home to a 684-acre plot of former industrial land. A developer wants to clean it up and build a mixed-use project, with public parkland, that could include more than 4,000 new units of housing. And the site surrounds a stop on the regional rail line that connects workers to jobs in San Francisco and Silicon Valley.

"It's exactly the kind of flat, spacious, hard-to-find place where you'd want to drop new housing in the Bay Area without displacing current residents or exacerbating traffic. But many Brisbane officials and residents prefer a plan for the land that would include no new housing at all."

The Observer: "Council planners must 'inspire public sector development' in Brexit aftermath." (Not the, at times, corruption of Barnet Council over Brent Cross)

"Fears are paralysing private construction projects, according to new report from Royal Town Planning Institute"

Link to web site

"Strong leadership is urgently required by council planners to inspire public sector development as post-Brexit uncertainty continues to paralyse private developers, a new report warns.

"Compounding the message are the findings of a new poll showing that three-quarters of planners believe cumulative changes to the planning system have seriously eroded their ability to deliver quality developments.

"The report, published by the Royal Town Planning Institute, says budget cuts and changes in planning policy over the last 30 years have undermined the powers of public sector planners to perform strategic leadership.

"The RTPI, which represents 23,000 professional planners, says the situation is most acute in England where the changes have created a complicated and uncertain system that has undermined the potential for new developments to be well-planned and connected to transport infrastructure, alongside a reduced number of affordable properties to rent or buy."


[Reposted from July 2013] Boris offers a new London Overground service to Hendon Thameslink, stopping at Brent Cross

As part of the GLA Old Oak Common consultation, Boris is suggesting a new London Overground service from Hendon Thameslink (or possibly Mill Hill Broadway) to Old Oak Common HS2/Crossrail station, in west London.

Services would likely be extended to either Hounslow or Clapham Junction. 

This would allow a 'Brent Cross (London Overground) station', whether or not a Brent Cross (Thameslink) station is ever built alongside it. 

(The outline is of the LB of Brent)

The new town of Old Oak Common,
north of Wormwood Scrubs
(It looks like Brent Cross Cricklewood, but it is based
around public transport)

"The Government has announced proposals for a new High Speed 2 (HS2) and Crossrail station at Old Oak, not far from the Brent borough boundary at Willesden Junction, by 2026, potentially making it one of the best connected railway stations in the UK.

"This could give rise to significant potential for economic development, jobs growth and new homes as well as delivering major improvements to accessibility, particularly by rail, to the wider area in and around Harlesden.

"Brent, together with the GLA, TfL and the neighbouring boroughs of Hammersmith & Fulham and Ealing, have been considering the potential for regenerating the wider area and are seeking views on a 30-year vision for Old Oak. [Kensington & Chelsea backed out at the last minute.]

"There is an opportunity, up until Friday 6 September 2013, to comment on this vision on the Mayor of London's website.

"View full details of the vision and how to comment on the proposals."


The Observer: "Superhighway to cycling heaven – or just a hell of a mess?"

"As London’s network of cycle lanes takes shape, we ask whether Boris Johnson's transport revolution was blue-lane thinking or a convoluted mistake"

Link to web site

"They are 'doing more damage to London,' said the former chancellor Lord Lawson in the House of Lords, 'than almost anything since the Blitz.' In the same spirit of absurdist hyperbole, they might be said to be the most transformative public works since Joseph Bazalgette built London's sewers and river embankments.

"They are not, but they do have the potential to change the spirit and character of the capital and of other cities that follow the same path, as well as making its transport cleaner, healthier, safer, more efficient and better able to deal with growing pressure of numbers. They might even prove that the city’s former mayor Boris Johnson was capable of doing something right.

“ 'They' are the cycle superhighways, the most conspicuous of several measures promoted under Johnson. They add up to an unprecedented plan, which is to make the sprawling, awkward, inconsistent city of London bike-friendly. The places most often cited for the exemplariness of their cycling provision – Amsterdam, Copenhagen, more recently Manhattan – were already more ordered, compact and coherent in their layout. In London, the street pattern changes moment by moment, straight to winding, leafy to truck-thronged, wide to narrow."


"Bullring and Brent Cross retail park owner Hammerson rebrands to 'enter public consciousness'." (It already has. And not in a nice way.)

"European retail and shopping centre developer Hammerson has introduced a new identity as it looks to strike a deeper brand association with shoppers.

"The 70-year old brand owns 59 different retail sites across Europe, including the Bull Ring in Birmingham and Brent Cross Shopping Centre in London, but has remained in the background unlike its competitors.

"Hammerson worked with Pentagram to create the new brand identity, and tasked the agency with two goals; to make the brand more visible whilst staying true to its supportive personality, and to create a master brand that could to be adaptable, to be used for investors, communities, back of house and as part of centre identities.

"The masterbrand is centred on the logotype’s hidden H, that gives Hammerson a strong presence, whilst still giving individual centres and surrounding communities a sense of ownership.

"The H is both a logotype and symbol, which is adapted for all asset brands and new branding has been created for each centre and retail park, featuring an invisible H next to the centre name, with the location beneath it. This creates continuity throughout all the centres, without imposing Hammerson’s name of [sic] them.

"In addition to the new graphic identity, Pentagram created a verbal identity and advertising campaign for Hammerson, with the new strapline 'where more happens', which has been adapted for B2B and B2C applications."

The Criminal History of Brent Cross Shopping Centre (some of it, anyway)

Mirror Photos: "Cruiser weight boxer George Walker doing a head stand at the weigh-in November 1957"
(as you do).
Link to Daily Mail

"... Only months after the split, it was revealed he was in a relationship with Sarah, Marchioness of Milford Haven. A judo fanatic, Sarah — whose marriage to Prince Philip’s cousin the Marquess of Milford Haven ended in the Nineties — came from a very different background.

"Her father was George Walker, a former prize-fighter, gangster’s minder and Billingsgate fish market porter who was jailed for two years for his part in a warehouse robbery. On his release, he immersed himself in the property trade, and eventually floated the firm he founded, Brent Walker, on the Stock Exchange.

"Such was his success that he created Brent Cross in North London. Walker lived as a tax exile in Switzerland and died in 2011."


The Guardian: "Without a radical overhaul of transport, UK suburbs face poverty"

"Too many cars and poor public transport services linking outlying areas to city centres have increased poverty and social isolation in the suburbs"

Link to web site

"As places to live, the suburbs may not have much cachet, but that has never been their appeal. Out-of-town developments tend to be places city dwellers move to when they have a family. To manage the rent or mortgage, plus the cost of bringing up children, it’s always been essential that travel back to the centre remains quick and easy.

"But not all is well in our suburbs. In many outlying areas, it’s becoming more difficult in many places to reach centres of growth and employment. A new report by the Smith Institute has found that many once aspirational, or at least affordable, areas of family housing are falling behind city centres in terms of their ability to offer a decent quality of life.

"Central to that decline is a failure to provide frequent, well-routed, affordable and sustainable methods of travel."


Argent Related: Brent Cross Cricklewood may have FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt) but Tottenham is all systems go

Link to Construction Enquirer

"Developer Argent Related has signed a deal with London’s Haringey council to lead the £1bn development of Tottenham Hale.

"The partnership will build 800 homes around the Tottenham Hale transport hub alongside Victoria line, National Rail and future Crossrail 2 services.

"Alongside the new mixed-tenure homes, there will be new shops, cafes and restaurants and community facilities, including a health centre.

"The redevelopment of Tottenham Hale will also mean improved green spaces and better access to both the new Tottenham Hale transport interchange and the Lee Valley Regional Park."


Hammerson Half-Year Results. (All jolly hockey-sticks, but London is a bit of a downer.)

(Look at the bloody camera)

Reuters: "Hammerson says UK property market facing uncertainty after Brexit vote"
"Shopping centre landlord Hammerson Plc said the impact of Britain's decision to leave the European Union on property valuations was still unknown, but the lettings and investment markets were facing a period of uncertainty.

The company, which partly owns the Brent Cross Shopping Centre in London, said its external valuers had said that the probability of their valuations exactly matching the price achieved if Hammerson sold its assets had reduced after the Brexit vote.

Concerns have risen that prices for commercial properties may fall after the vote, with some investors worried that international retailers and banks may move some operations to other EU locations, hurting demand for property." [more]


Evening Standard: "Brexit vote 'sparks biggest slump in economic activity since aftermath of 2008 global crash'" (Brent Cross Cricklewood unaffected)

Woe is me

"Britain's vote to leave the EU has sparked the biggest plunge in economic activity since the aftermath of the global financial crisis, market data shows.

"Figures from the Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI) show the economy has suffered a dramatic deterioration this month, dropping at the fastest rate since the fallout from the 2008 recession.

"The PMI surveys more than 650 companies from sectors including transport, business services, computing and restaurants."


Barnet Press: "Brexit will not affect the redevelopment of Brent Cross, say investors"

Link to web site

"The owners of Brent Cross shopping centre have denied rumours that £4.5 billion plans to redevelop the area are under threat following Britain’s decision to exit the European Union.

"... Local residents thought the plans were at risk after shopping centre owner Standard life Investments, which is one of the major investors in the scheme, closed its UK Real Estate Fund due to an increase in withdrawals from investors uncertain about the future following the EU Referendum result."


The Observer: "With the Good Life over, how can suburbia regain its place in the sun?"

"It was where the interwar generation aspired to, but suburbs today are a tale of dying high streets and creeping poverty"

Link to web site

"The huge suburban expansion of British cities between the wars accommodated population growth and enabled people to buy homes at low prices. London doubled in area over those two decades and increased its population by 1.2 million people. Speculators built semi-detached houses for sale at between £400 and £500 which were close, as another advertisement put it, to 'tiny hills and hollows … pools of water, brambly wildernesses, where in spring nightingales sing and the air is sweet with the smell of violets, primroses and hawthorn'.

"It is an ideal that has survived snobbery, condescension and hostility. 'Just a prison with the cells all in a row,' wrote George Orwell of a suburban street. 'A line of semi-detached torture-chambers …' Cyril Connolly agreed, calling them 'incubators of apathy and delirium'. HG Wells called an early example 'a dull useless boiling-up of human activities, an immense clustering of futilities'.

"Now, according to Towards a Suburban Renaissance, a report released last week by independent thinktank the Smith Institute, suburbs are facing a new kind of threat. Their ideal 'has rapidly started to fade', says the report’s author, Paul Hunter. 'As inner cities have undergone a renaissance, suburbs have frequently been left behind.'

The Guardian: "Planning London's future: the suburbs, the green belt and growth"

"The trio of reports commissioned by Boris Johnson provides food for thought for his successor Sadiq Khan"

An aerial view of Edgware in Outer London
Link to web site

"Mayors may change but the numbers that confront them stay the same. As London’s population rises towards a projected 10 million by around 2030 and its economy continues to expand, it now falls to Sadiq Khan to figure out how to accommodate and make the most of all this galloping growth.

"Some of the solutions concern the evolution of suburban Outer London. Others may lie further afield, in the wider south-east of England. Both avenues are explored in the most recent reports of the Outer London Commission, which were published just before the mayoral election. They are far more useful than might be expected of Boris Johnson’s parting gift to his successor.

"Johnson, who set up the commission soon after becoming mayor in 2008, commends its 'sound, independent and sometimes challenging advice' at least some of which he seems unlikely to have accepted were he still in charge at City Hall. The most obvious of these relate to green belt land, both the huge quantity within the Greater London boundary and that which lies outside it."


The Economist: "Safe as office blocks"

Link to web site

"THE first concrete signs of post-Brexit financial stress in Britain emerged this week. The asset-management arm of Standard Life, an insurer, suspended redemptions from its £2.9 billion ($3.8 billion) British property fund. It was followed by a flurry of rivals: Aviva, Canada Life, Columbia Threadneedle, Henderson and M&G. Another fund, run by Aberdeen, said it would apply a 17% discount to redemptions.

"... Mike Prew of Jefferies, an investment bank, has been predicting a commercial-property downturn since last year. Two areas stand out. Central London has been on a building spree, with 26m square feet of offices currently being added (or refurbished) in a market with around 200m square feet of space. Mr Prew thinks 100,000 jobs in London are at risk of moving to the EU—enough to free up 10m square feet. Office rents could fall by as much as 18% in central London, he warns.

"The second problem area is retail premises, to which the Standard Life fund was heavily exposed (its five biggest tenants were all retailers). High-street shops have been squeezed by the rise of the internet; BHS, a department-store chain, recently went under. If the economy does slow in the wake of the referendum, retailers' troubles will intensify."

Daily Telegraph: "Property funds face scrutiny as investors find themselves locked out"

Add caption

"It began with Standard Life on Monday, then M&G followed on Tuesday. By Wednesday, six property funds had been suspended, after a rush by investors to retrieve their money in the wake of the Brexit vote.

"As the Bank of England warned of a 'future marked adjustment in commercial real estate prices', the outlook for the sector suddenly looked far less certain than it had before the referendum.

"Questions were being asked about the viability of major developments, the wider economic slowdown in the London market in particular, and whether funds would begin selling their stock to pay back investors.

"But is this the beginning of a phase of huge upheaval for the commercial property market? Or has the threat of Brexit just advanced a pattern that was already beginning, as the market reaches its natural peak?"


Evening Standard: "Hammerson bets on Dublin with £1bn plot"

Link to web site

"SHOPPING centre giant Hammerson took a £1 billion punt on Ireland today, snapping up the nation’s biggest retail destination as a Brexit vote overshadows prospects at home.

"... The move comes as UK consumer confidence fell at its fastest rate for 21 years after the referendum, market research firm GfK said."


The Guardian: "Property fund turmoil continues as three more firms cut value"

"Around £5bn of commercial property could be put up for sale as post-EU referendum turmoil prompts managers to revalue portfolios"

Link to web site

"Shopping centres, office blocks and warehouses worth up to £5bn could be put up for sale, as the turmoil in the UK commercial property sector prompted by the Brexit vote forces fund managers to revalue their portfolios or temporarily prevent investors withdrawing their savings.

"With the pound under pressure on the foreign exchange markets, fund managers Legal & General, Foreign & Colonial and Dutch-owned Kames cut the value of their property funds on Thursday. L&G cut the value of its £2.3bn fund by 10% – following a 5% cut last week – while F&C and Kanes both cut by 5%.

"The moves followed Aberdeen Fund Management, which on Wednesday announced it was halting trading in its property fund for 24 hours and devaluing it by 17% - thought to be the biggest adjustment ever made by a property fund . Aberdeen has since extended the trading ban until Monday.

"Others have suspend dealings for longer, starting with Standard Life’s decision on Monday to halt trading in its £2.9bn commercial property fund, leading to a cascade effect with Aviva, Prudential’s M&G, Henderson, Columbia Threadneedle and Canada Life following suit – taking the total value of property funds suspended to £18bn."


Daily Telegraph: "Property fund turmoil has eerie echoes of start of financial crisis"

Link to web site

"The name 'Bear Stearns' is enough to send a shudder down the spine of any investor who survived the financial crisis.

The collapse of Lehman Brothers in September 2008 is generally regarded as the moment when the entire financial system almost came crashing down. But it is often forgotten that the glue that held it together had started to come unstuck more than a year earlier.

The first sign that things were unravelling was when American investment bank Bear Stearns prevented investors taking money out of two mortgage-related hedge funds in the summer of 2007. Eventually, both were liquidated.

At the time, the move seemed largely inconsequential to the wider world but within weeks BNP Paribas had taken similar action over three funds holding American mortgage-backed securities.

The events effectively meant the financial markets' pricing system was broken, and as a result markets went into freefall."

The Guardian: "More property funds suspended as Brexit tremors continue in the City"

Link to web site

"Britain's vote for to leave the EU has sent further shock waves through financial markets, with three more property funds suspended, the pound plunging and share prices falling amid fresh uncertainty about the economic impact of the decision to leave the EU.

"Funds responsible for investing some £14bn in shopping centres, office blocks and warehouses have now locked out investors following the decision by Henderson, Threedneedle Columbia and Canada Life to suspend dealing on Wednesday after being swamped by investors attempting to redeem their cash.

"The three made their announcements after Standard Life, Aviva and Prudential’s M&G barred investors from withdrawing their cash earlier in the week. The suspensions mean that half of all UK retail property funds are suspended, according to calculations by Hargreaves Lansdown, and there were expectations that more would follow."


The Guardian: "Property funds halt trading as Brexit fallout deepens"

"Surge in requests to redeem investments prompts freeze on funds as sterling tumbles to 31-year low and Bank of England says risks have crystallised"

"The fallout from the Brexit vote reverberated through the markets on Tuesday as two more City property funds barred investors from withdrawing their cash and the Bank of England warned that risks to the financial system had begun to 'crystallise'.

"City watchers warned that further property funds would be forced to bar withdrawals as investors race for the door amid fears of a plunge in the values of office blocks and shopping centres in post Brexit Britain.

"The suspensions came on another day of drama on the financial markets, 11 days after the vote to leave the EU wrong-footed investors and sparked political turmoil."

RE (-versal expected): "Spotlight on...Brent Cross Cricklewood"

Brent Cross is a £4-billion mixed-use regeneration scheme covering 150 acres in North West London
"Re is working with LB Barnet to facilitate the construction of a new shopping centre and create an adjoining new town, including over 7,000 homes, 4m square feet of employment space and a new station. In doing so, Re led the procurement process to secure the Council’s JV development partners and is now leading on programme management, detailed planning, as well as design and procurement of the station and parts of the road infrastructure."
Expertise and Experience
"This development is an example of how Re can draw on Capita’s specialism in delivering wider public sector objectives as well as commercial returns. Working with the Council, we are leading key elements of the regeneration, development management and integration. At the core of the programme, it draws on the importance of effective stakeholder engagement to meet the needs of the community and promote economic prosperity."
What we’ve done
Delivering a new town for London is a huge undertaking.

"First and foremost Re – through its association with Capita Real Estate - worked with the Council to identify suitable development partners with the vision, capability and capacity to build over 7,000 homes, 4m square feet of commercial space and a multitude of supporting community infrastructure, such as schools, parks, bridges and roads.

"We set ourselves a stretching target to select a development partner in 2 years and delivered on time. We exceeded the Council’s expectations in the quality of the bidders Consequently, LB Barnet is now in a JV with a consortium of Argent (Kings Cross redevelopment) and Related (Hudson Yards NY regeneration) – two of the best developers on either side of the Atlantic.

"The speed and effectiveness of Re’s approach to procurement is now being promoted by Government as an example of good practice.

"In tandem with finding a development partner for the Council, Re – through its access to the expertise of property consultancy, design and engineering within Capita - developed the business case to persuade DCLG and Treasury of the merits of investing in the delivery of a station. The resulting ‘TIF’ funding package has underwritten the viability of the Council’s regeneration scheme.

"Meantime, Re is key to programme managing the manifold interests on site; coordinating agencies such as TfL, Network Rail and the GLA, along with the two major developers.

"On behalf of the Council, Re is delivering all planning aspects of the scheme, from working with the developers to ensure they meet the demanding RMA timetable, but also pro-actively in looking how to refine and improve the masterplan to ensure it maximises the key objective of making a place London can be proud of. We are fulfilling the Council’s highways authority obligations and enhancing the statutory offer with the backing of Capita’s multi-disciplinary highways infrastructure team, through design and assurance, and in time, construction procurement. In addition Re, through its association with GL Hearn (part of the Capita group) is leading on land assembly across the site."


Standard Life Investments (59% Brent Cross owner) closes fund to stop panic

Link to The Guardian

"Investors in Standard Life's property funds have been told that they cannot withdraw their money, after the firm acted to stop a rush of withdrawals following the UK's decision to leave the EU.

"The firm halted trading on its Standard Life Investments UK Real Estate Fund and associated funds at midday on Monday, citing 'exceptional market circumstances' for the decision. It said the suspension would remain in place until it is 'practicable' to lift it, and that it would review the decision at least every 28 days.

"The £2.9bn fund, which invests in commercial properties including shopping centres, warehouses and offices, is thought to be the first UK property fund to suspend trading since the 2007-2009 financial crisis, when some of the biggest names in investment management stopped withdrawals because they did not have the money to repay investors."


The Guardian: "Can the advertising industry sell us waste-free living?"

"The founder of WWF’s Earth Hour, Andy Ridley, believes the creative industries are key to building support for the circular economy"

Link to web site

"It was diving in the Great Barrier Reef in Australia that sparked Andy Ridley's interest in environmental issues. Shocked at its state, he joined WWF and went on to launch Earth Hour in 2007, the huge climate change awareness campaign that sees buildings in 7,000 cities turn off their lights.

"Now, in his new role as CEO of Circular Economy, a Netherlands-based social enterprise, Ridley wants to build a similar global grassroots movement to accelerate the circular economy.

" 'My experience of Earth Hour was people saying, it won't work here, it won’t work there ... but adoption happens if you get the right mayor, the right business person, the right community leader, or the right sister organisation,' he says."