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


Conservativehome: "The height of stupidity – why London is the wrong place for skyscrapers"

Link to web site

"As you may have noticed, our low-rise capital is acquiring a growing collection of high-rise buildings.

"As Paul Murrain explains in a thought-provoking essay for Create Streets, this is not a good thing:
"There is nothing that better illustrates the race to the bottom in London's development than the two 50-storey residential glass towers at the southern end of Blackfriars Bridge.

What’s the rationale for that? Why 50 storeys? Where did that come from? Did some planner toss a coin? Perhaps I’m being unfair. If it was a result of careful wind, light and sun calculations to benefit the public space, I'm sure I will be told in no uncertain terms."


[Reposted] Barnet Times: "Councillors told to approve Brent Cross Cricklewood scheme." (Was that by the Council Leader or Chief Whip? Oh, no, our mistake.)

Link to web site

"NEARLY twenty different groups from across the political spectrum have formally formed a coalition to fight the massive Brent Cross Cricklewood Scheme.

"... Barnet Council is set to decide the fate of the plans, which will see 7,500 new homes and 27,000 new jobs created on a 151-acre site, next Wednesday.

"Group co-ordinator Lia Colacicco said:
"We're not against regeneration completely, but we feel this particular plan is not sustainable.

We believe Barnet Council will pass these plans, they have been working with the developers for more than ten years, but we want to put pressure on to get a planning inquiry."
"The group is unhappy with many facets of the plans, including transport solutions, the environmental impact and the scale of the project."

Link to Barnet Times

"COUNCILLORS have been advised to accept the controversial Brent Cross Cricklewood plans in a set of council papers released today.

"Barnet Council's planning committee is due to meet next Wednesday to vote on the proposals, which include 98 new residential blocks, a waste handling plant, offices and shops and new roads.

"... Jonathan Joseph from the Brent Cross Cricklewood Development Partners said:
"We are pleased that officers have recommended approval of the Brent Cross Cricklewood regeneration.

The scheme to create a new town centre fits within and fully complies with the most up-to-date local and London wide planning policy to achieve the lasting regeneration of the area.

The sustainability of the scheme is second to none."

BBC: "The decline of the British front garden"

Link to web site

"The Royal Horticultural Society says British front gardens are disappearing. Why are people paving over their lawns?

"When people imagine a classic British front garden, they may first think of a small slice of well-tended grass. Perhaps with a box hedge.

"But over the past 10 years the number of front gardens with gravel or paving instead of grass has tripled, now making up a quarter of all houses, a survey for the RHS shows.

"There's an environmental cost. Paving increases the risk of flash flooding - instead of grass and soil soaking up moisture, it runs straight off paving and overwhelms drainage systems."


Evening Standard: "Conservatives lost four seats in capital because 'London is turning into Paris', Tory MP claims"

Link to web site

"The Conservatives lost four seats in London because the city is 'turning into Paris' with poorer people being pushed out from the gentrifying centre, a senior Tory MP warned today.

"Gavin Barwell, who won Croydon Central in a cliffhanger battle which gave him a majority of just 165, also raised concerns over the 'craziness' of the housing market, with property prices having spiralled out of the reach of many Londoners.

"He saw four colleagues beaten in the city, Nick de Bois in Enfield North, Lee Scott in Ilford North, Angie Bray in Ealing Central and Acton and Mary Macleod in Brentford and Isleworth."


Business Green: "Motoring costs society six times more than cycling, says study"

"Cost benefit analysis of cars versus bikes by Lund University shows significant benefits of pedal power"

Ride over to the web site

"New cycling infrastructure represents one of the most cost effective investments available for city-planners, according to a new study by Danish and Australian researchers.

"A new paper by Stefan Gössling from Lund University and Andy S. Choi from the University of Queensland, published in the journal Ecological Economics, calculated that it costs six times more for society and individuals to travel by car instead of bicycles.

"It is the first time academics have attempted to put a total cost on car use compared to cycling. The study considers a wide range of environmental and societal impacts of both modes of transport in Copenhagen, a city that is famous for its expansive cycle network."


Mon 11 May: Cricklewood Community Forum meeting - with Hammerson, Argent and LB of Barnet (ten years too late)

Planning Resource: "Election 2015: The Conservatives' key manifesto pledges on planning"

"Changes to the law to give local people the 'final say' on wind farm applications and support for brownfield development will be key policies for the incoming Conservative administration."

Link to web site

"Following last night’s shock election victory for the party it is now set to form the next government.

"... The manifesto ... said that a Conservative government would 'ensure local people have more control over planning and protect the green belt' and would 'support locally-led garden cities and towns in places where communities want them, such as Ebbsfleet and Bicester'.

"It added that 'when new homes are granted planning permission, we will make sure local communities know up-front that necessary infrastructure such as schools and roads will be provided'.

"The manifesto also pledged to protect the green belt. It said that brownfield land would be used 'as much as possible' and local authorities would be required to have 'a register of what is available' and ensure that '90 per cent of brownfield sites have planning permission for housing by 2020'.

"The manifesto also confirmed the creation of a new London Land Commission 'with a mandate to identify and release all surplus brownfield land owned by the public sector' and said that Housing Zones would create 95,000 new homes."

Election 2015: Results just in


Hammerson Positive Places (just not Brent Cross Shopping Centre, of course)

"Our CEO, David Atkins, and Head of Sustainability Louise Ellison, explain the ambitions for Positive Places, the responsbility [sic] that comes with increased development activity, and how Hammerson uses its unique position to increase awareness of sustainability among its key stakeholders."

Our Chief Executive's Vision
"As an ambitious property company we are prepared to push the boundaries around sustainability [though not regarding Barnet's estimate of 29,000 extra cars around Brent Cross shopping centre, of course]: this means not only aiming to set industry precedents with regards to those impacts that are tightly regulated, but also exploring our potential to drive change in other ways."
David Atkins

Link to the flannel

"Hammerson was one of the first major property developers to address sustainability considerations seriously and systematically. Our developments from 2003 onwards saw a series of innovations, ranging from local employment programmes to natural ventilation.

"With our development activity again increasing, we are focusing on designing and delivering buildings that will operate efficiently over the next 50 years or more. This means ensuring that environmental and social sustainability are designed into a scheme alongside economic sustainability, from the outset. [That rules out Brent Cross future plans then.] It also means reflecting on the many social, environmental and technological changes that will take place over that period.

"Quite a challenge when you think that when we originally developed Brent Cross shopping centre in 1976 it was the first out of town retail centre in the UK and we only had three television channels!"
Future route to
Brent Cross shopping centre

Meade Magazine: "Ariella Couture opens in Brent Cross Shopping Center" [sic]

"Earlier this week, we were invited to the opening of the new Ariella Couture store in Brent Cross shopping center [sic] in North London. Opposite Kurt Geiger store on the second floor of the shopping center [sic] Ariella Couture has found a new home to show and sell it's [sic] beautiful day and evening gowns. Color co-ordinated gowns, from creams and whites to blues, reds and blacks all have a either [sic] made out of the softest chiffon, lace, silk and embellished or draped creating the classic haute couture look.

"The Ariella label loved by many British and International celebrities has been on the British fashion market since 1966, and it established it's [sic] name as a leading fashion house for cocktail, evening and occasion wear, offering an exclusive and original styles [sic] for every women out there. With 11 outlets in London including two store on Oxford Circus, Duke Street and Carnaby Street. [sic]"

London Guided Busway

Link to web site

"The proposal is for a new busway using kerb guidance just like the busways in Cambridgeshire and connecting Luton and Dunstable to provide a fast and congestion-free route for buses and coaches from the M1 motorway and the North Circular Road near Staples Corner to Central London at Marylebone Station. You can download the route map from the downloads section on this page.

"The proposition is to use the land next to the railway between Marylebone Station and Finchley Road and alongside the Midland Main Line (MML) between West Hampstead and Brent Cross to construct a two-way kerb guided busway.

"There will be connections to the local road network at Marylebone to enable buses and coaches to continue their journeys to the West End and the City. One possible addition to the proposed scheme is the creation of a new coach terminal over the railway at or near Marylebone Station."

The Guardian: "How Amsterdam became the bicycle capital of the world"

"In the 1960s, Dutch cities were increasingly in thrall to motorists, with the car seen as the transport of the future. It took the intolerable toll of child traffic deaths – and fierce activism – to turn Amsterdam into the cycling nirvana of today"

Link to web site

"Anyone who has ever tried to make their way through the centre of Amsterdam in a car knows it: the city is owned by cyclists. They hurry in swarms through the streets, unbothered by traffic rules, taking precedence whenever they want, rendering motorists powerless by their sheer numbers.

"Cyclists rule in Amsterdam and great pains have been taken to accommodate them: the city is equipped with an elaborate network of cycle-paths and lanes, so safe and comfortable that even toddlers and elderly people use bikes as the easiest mode of transport. It’s not only Amsterdam which boasts a network of cycle-paths, of course; you’ll find them in all Dutch cities.

"The Dutch take this for granted; they even tend to believe these cycle-paths have existed since the beginning of time. But that is certainly not the case. There was a time, in the 1950s and 60s, when cyclists were under severe threat of being expelled from Dutch cities by the growing number of cars. Only thanks to fierce activism and a number of decisive events would Amsterdam succeed in becoming what it is, unquestionably, now: the bicycle capital of the world."


The Guardian: "Have we really reached 'peak car'?"

"Vehicle traffic grew at a fearsome rate worldwide for decades … until 2007. Then came the perfect storm of an economic collapse, a digital revolution and major changes to urban lifestyles. But is this just a blip?"

Link to web site

"A funny thing happened on the way to Carmageddon: the predicted traffic failed to show up. As engineers continued to forecast traffic growth in line with historic averages – up, up and yet farther up, to an eventual 'carpocalypse' – actual traffic not only fell short of projections, in many places it just plain fell. A growing number of researchers and commentators are now suggesting that we've reached 'peak car', the point at which traffic growth stops, and potentially even falls on a per capita basis.

"... Most highway agencies appear to be adopting what Goodwin labels the 'interrupted growth' hypothesis: because the downturn in traffic parallels that in the global economy, the bad economy is to blame for the motoring decline. Traffic growth will resume once there’s a global economic recovery, they predict. Backing for this view comes from data from the last two years in the US, where total vehicles miles travelled (VMT) increased as the economy recovered and gasoline prices fell. The VMT grew by 0.4% in 2013, and 1.7% in 2014

"Others – often people who are also advocates for public transit, curbing sprawl and so on – attribute traffic falls to changes in society and consumer preferences, such as the increasing rejection of the car by young people. Supporters of this view see the current situation as peak car, and expect these changes to continue into the future.

"The key point of debate is often less the forecasts than the policy response: how much public or private money to put into roads versus other transport?"

The Guardian: "End of the car age: how cities are outgrowing the automobile"

"Cities around the world are coming to the same conclusion: they’d be better off with far fewer cars. So what’s behind this seismic shift in our urban lifestyles? Stephen Moss goes on an epic (car-free) journey to find out"

Link to web site

"Gilles Vesco calls it the 'new mobility'. It’s a vision of cities in which residents no longer rely on their cars but on public transport, shared cars and bikes and, above all, on real-time data on their smartphones. He anticipates a revolution which will transform not just transport but the cities themselves. 'The goal is to rebalance the public space and create a city for people,' he says. 'There will be less pollution, less noise, less stress; it will be a more walkable city.'

"Vesco, the politician responsible for sustainable transport in Lyon, played a leading role in introducing the city’s Vélo'v bike-sharing scheme a decade ago. It has since been replicated in cities all over the world. Now, though, he is convinced that digital technology has changed the rules of the game, and will make possible the move away from cars that was unimaginable when Vélo'v launched in May 2005. 'Digital information is the fuel of mobility,' he says. 'Some transport sociologists say that information about mobility is 50% of mobility. The car will become an accessory to the smartphone.'

"Vesco is nothing if not an evangelist. 'Sharing is the new paradigm of urban mobility. Tomorrow, you will judge a city according to what it is adding to sharing. The more that we have people sharing transportation modes, public space, information and new services, the more attractive the city will be'."

The Independent: "Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents"

Link to web site

"More than 50,000 families have been silently shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years, an investigation by The Independent can reveal.

"Leaked documents obtained by this newspaper expose the true scale of the 'social cleansing' taking place across the capital as a result of welfare cuts and soaring rents. The figures show an unprecedented number of families who cannot afford to find homes in their local area being uprooted from their neighbourhoods and dumped further and further away from the capital, cut off from their relatives and support networks.

"The spike coincides with the Coalition's introduction of the benefit cap and 'bedroom tax', both of which have made it significantly harder for poor people to afford housing in London. In 2010, the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, vowed that the controversial welfare reforms would not lead to 'Kosovo-style social cleansing', pledging: 'You are not going to see thousands of families evicted from the place where they have been living'."



The Rt Hon John Denham MP
The Secretary of State
Department for Communities and Local Government

Dear Sir,

Brent Cross Cricklewood Outline Application, C17559/08
Local Authority: The London Borough of Barnet

I wrote to you in July with my concerns in regard to the consideration of this major strategic application in the London Borough of Barnet. Although the application was seriously flawed and will have a significant impact on proximate areas, the application was passed by Barnet’s Planning and Environment Committee on November 19th 2009.

By means of this submission I am reiterating my request to you to call in this planning application for the following reasons:

1.0 Background:

The outline application for this comprehensive mixed-use redevelopment of the Brent Cross Cricklewood regeneration area was first submitted on 25th March 2008, however the planned regeneration of the area has a much longer history. In 2000 The Secretary of State defined Brent Cross as a regional shopping centre in an out-of-centre location and should therefore be developed after local town centres which are favoured first. Following this, the aim became a new town centre, as defined in Barnet’s UDP as a ‘New High Street’ and the London Plan 2004. However, the outline application and permission for Stage 1 developments that has now been passed amounts to little more than an expansion of out-of-town retail provision, while the rest of the development is postponed to later stages and therefore not guaranteed. I am of the belief there is a significant danger ‘Brent Cross Cricklewood’ will proceed to provide an expansion of out-of-town shopping, contrary to the former Secretary of State’s wishes, and little else.

2.0 Flawed Consultation:

Throughout the process there has been a total lack of meaningful consultation with Brent’s residents west of the site. While I acknowledge that there have been some extensions granted for statutory consultation period very little, if any, of the details of the project have been conveyed by the Applicant and the Local Planning Authority (Barnet Council) to Brent residents through the consultation process. Brent Council’s Planners have had made formal representations to Barnet Council on this matter.

3.0 Waste Handling Facility:

Brent residents have received poor information as to the likely detrimental impact of the development of the proposed Waste Handling Facility. There are genuine and serious concerns about the waste handling facility which is perceived as a proposal for an incineration unit. While the Applicant claims this is not an incinerator, it is most regrettable that even fundamental and critical information such as emission levels and the actual process for waste management proposed by the Applicant are not clearly conveyed to the local residents and traders. Neither the Applicants, the London Borough of Barnet nor the North London Waste Authority have, in my opinion, reasonably addressed confusion over the type of plant technology and as a result its environmental and traffic impact on eastern Brent is not fully known.

4.0 Traffic and Transport:

This is one of the most serious issues which has received universal condemnation. Both Brent and Camden Councils raised serious concerns on the key components and residents are quite rightly worried about detrimental impact from traffic generated from this scheme.

My own comments on this issue are noted in the attached objection letter to Barnet Council.

The London Borough of Brent in its various communications to Barnet also objected to this aspect of the application because an overall assessment of the impact on Brent’s transport system was not forthcoming, neither was there a mitigation strategy from the applicant. In additions to the specific issues covering transport and traffic, ring-fenced Section 106 contributions to the tune of £5 million also need to be addressed by Barnet Council and the applicant.

Like Brent, the London Borough of Camden too has put in strong objections. Camden highlights the flawed transport proposals, which are heavily reliant on private car use and the resultant ‘avoidable and unnecessary increase on Camden’s roads. There’s also severe criticism of ‘undue attention given to increasing the capacity of road junctions’. The Council very justifiably commented that there is a great potential to improve public transport, walking and cycling and like Brent Council it has asked for fundamental review of a proposed transport strategy that does little to improve public and sustainable transport.

5.0 Retail and Regeneration:

I am of the belief the Brent Cross Cricklewood application as it stands presents the threat of out-of-town facility expansion to North West London’s town and district centre. As a Councillor, resident and a member of Harrow Council’s Local Development Framework Panel I am extremely concerned about the serious concerns this development would have on the ailing outdated Harrow’s town centre among other Local District Centres.

I further note that Camden Council has expressed their concerns in that its areas like Kilburn Town Centre (which forms the border between Camden and Brent) would be vulnerable to the significant increase of retail provision at Brent Cross Cricklewood.

6.0 Affordable Housing:

The London Plan in its current form (2004) and the UDPs quite rightly seek and demand a high level, up to 50%, of affordable housing. In addition the Mayor of London is struggling to meet his stated target of 50,000 affordable housing by 2012. The 15% affordable housing target does not meet these justified planning policies. I support Camden Council’s objection in that 15% is woefully short and that the development must aim to increased provision of at least 30% of the total proposed housing with an emphasis on the delivery of large family units of 3 and 4 bedrooms.

Furthermore, there is great concern that the majority of affordable housing will be pushed back into the later stages of the development. Only 795 residential units are planned for Stage 1, while the 2000 decision saw the 2000 residential units as “nebulous”. The Mayor of London has stated (in a public response to my question 3474/2009, Mayor’s Question Time, November 18th 2009) that “all remaining phases will have a 15% minimum level of affordable housing with the opportunity to go above this should viability allow.” I am of the belief this level is woefully inadequate and undermines the pretence and marketing that Brent Cross will provide a viable town centre.

7.0 Conclusion:

The application is flawed and does not conform to major planning policies. Whilst its understandable that the application of such sub-regional significance requires greater length of time for negotiations, amendments and deliberations it has been clear that Barnet Council’s oversight has been a complete shambles.

For the above reasons, I am of the belief that the outline application, flawed and unambitious as it is, wastes the opportunity of a successful, green, long-lasting alternative to the car-orientated Brent Cross plans of the 1960s by merely ameliorating this outdated vision.

I request the Right Honorable Minister ‘calls in’ the above planning application.

Yours sincerely,

Navin Shah AM

Assembly Member for Brent and Harrow


London Review of Books: "In Brent Cross"

Link to web site

"The residents of Brent Cross's Whitefield Estate – owner-occupiers as well as tenants – will all have the right to a new home in the new development, once their existing homes are demolished. The land will be used for the construction of new pedestrian bridges: Hammerson doesn't want the works near the shopping centre and Transport for London and the Highways Agency don’t want them near the North Circular.

"The Brent Cross scheme is an outstanding example of the way our planning system has almost no power to make places better for the people who live in them, but is very useful to developers with deep pockets who can afford to wait until political circumstances are in their favour, and to councils who find their populations inconvenient or unprofitable. Hammerson has wanted to expand Brent Cross since the late 1990s. A proposal to increase the shopping centre by 27,000 square metres was turned down in 2000. The current plan is 15 times bigger.

"... Cricklewood, Brent Cross and West Hendon is one of the opportunity areas identified in 2004. Barnet Council approved an outline planning application from Hammerson, Standard Life and Brookfield Europe (which dropped out soon afterwards) in November 2009 and then spent nearly a year negotiating a Section 106 agreement – which obliges developers in one way or another to make up for the drawbacks and inconvenience of a scheme – worth £998 million, the largest ever agreed in the UK. This is the money that will pay for £200 million of road works.

"The Brent Cross Coalition is a loose network of campaigners, including residents worried about traffic, cyclists and people whose homes will be lost to compulsory purchase, among others. There's little consensus about what the right kind of development would be – though no-one has asked them – but everyone seems to agree that this scheme isn't it."

The Guardian: "Brixton's anti-gentrification protest: identifying the problems is one thing, fixing them is another"

"The Reclaim Brixton demonstration expressed fears that the area's character is being diluted and displaced. But the Foxtons estate agent is unlikely to go away, and the people it sells houses to won't stop coming, argues Dave Hill"

Link to web site

"On paper, stopping gentrification is easy. At last Saturday’s Reclaim Brixton demonstration in south London, a list of solutions was written on three wide lengths of the stuff, taped to a wall in Windrush Square. Most focused on housing and the policies of local, Labour-run Lambeth Council:
"Build more houses for working people"
"Rent caps"
"Lambeth to stop evictions"
"[Lambeth to] Prioritise repair of estates over regeneration"

"Someone expressed the wish for a council scheme to protect small businesses deemed representative of 'the community'. There was also an assertion, echoed throughout the day, that 'Lambeth is not for sale'.

"These missives expressed the views of specific local campaigns, but also illuminated the force fuelling anxieties about gentrification in many parts of the capital – the rising value of property and land, and the rapid social changes this is driving."


MoneyWeek: "The train crash waiting to happen in new-build property"

Link to web site

"I read a stat in the FT yesterday that absolutely blew my mind.

"There are now 54,000 homes planned or under construction 'in the priciest areas of the capital'. Most will cost 'close to or above the £1m mark' and most are two-bed flats.

"Here's the mind-blowing bit: in the same areas last year, just 3,900 homes were sold for more than £1m. That would put potential supply at almost 14 times annual demand.

"Welcome to the train crash about to happen that is high-end, new-build property in London."

TED: "Paul Tudor Jones II: Why we need to rethink capitalism"

"... Though Nature, therefore, exhorts mankind to acts of beneficence by the pleasing consciousness of deserved reward, she has not thought it necessary to guard and enforce the practice of it by the terrors of merited punishment in case it should be neglected.

"It is the ornament which embellishes, not the foundation which supports the building, and which it was, therefore, sufficient to recommend, but by no means necessary to impose.

"Justice, on the contrary, is the main pillar that upholds the whole edifice.

"If it is removed, the great, the immense fabric of human society, that fabric which to raise and support seems in this world, if I may say so, to have been the peculiar and darling care of Nature, must in a moment crumble into atoms."

from 'The Theory of Moral Sentiments' by Adam Smith (1759).
It provided the ethical, philosophical, psychological, and methodological underpinnings to Smith's later works, including 'The Wealth of Nations' (1776).

"Paul Tudor Jones II loves capitalism. It's a system that has done him very well over the last few decades. Nonetheless, the hedge fund manager and philanthropist is concerned that a laser focus on profits is, as he puts it, 'threatening the very underpinnings of society'.

"In this thoughtful, passionate talk, he outlines his planned counter-offensive, which centers on the concept of 'justness'."


The Observer: "Tesco’s fall tells a wider story about our failing capitalism"

"The supermarket giant has not been alone is being organised as a profit machine dedicated to shareholders, not customers"

Link to web site

"For the past decade, Tesco, like almost every other British plc, has been organised as a profit machine, a company whose focus transmuted from serving customers and building a company to serving shareholders and driving up directors' pay. The £6.4bn loss is the price tag of the consequent misjudgments, brought together in the oldest trick in the corporate book – a 'kitchen sink' moment in which the incoming, transient management crystallises every loss. This allows the base from which it starts to be so low that there can only be improvement. But the terms are wholly financial and don’t answer the bigger question of what Tesco is for.

"... Tesco is not alone. This is how too much of business works in 2015. The justification of capitalism is not that it enriches the top 0.1% and the wealth trickles down. Its justification is that a plurality of companies experiment in solving human problems and so create worthwhile value, which capitalism can do better than any other system.

"Tesco went wrong because of a very particular British ownership and financial architecture that places no value on this social, human mission but sees its duty as only to maximise the share price for a floating body of shareholders. And now Tesco is trying to reinvent itself in the same hostile system."

Link to
"Tesco: How one supermarket came to dominate"

Transportation Alternatives: "Arterial Reconstruction Campaign"

Link to web site

"Arterial streets were designed as urban highways, with little consideration for the needs of people on foot, bicycle, or accessing public transportation. Now, thousands of miles of these streets serve as urban speedways that are dangerous for everyone, especially those not driving cars.

"For pedestrians, arterials are intimidating and dangerous to cross; as such they often divide communities and act as psychological barriers to accessing local amenities. Arterials are the site of most traffic fatalities, even though arterial streets make up only 15 percent of the road network. Per mile, arterial streets are 8.5 times more deadly for pedestrians than non-arterials.

"In general, New Yorkers who walk or bike are most at risk. Additionally, the burden of traffic violence is disproportionately felt by low-income communities, children, and the elderly. Many of the poorest neighborhoods in the city have higher crash densities than the richest neighborhoods; meanwhile, being struck by an automobile is the leading cause of injury-related death for children in New York City, and the second-leading cause for elders."


Good News on House Prices: "More than 30pc growth forecast for London homeowners"

Link to Sunday Telegraph

"House prices in London are set to rise more than 30pc over the next five years as a strong economic backdrop and unrelenting desire to live and invest in the UK capital will boost a property market that is currently flagging ahead of the general election.

Just 12 months after homeowners in London saw an annual house price growth rate of 20pc in the year to June, fuelling fears of a property bubble, a new report by the real estate group, CBRE, has forecasted that values in both the luxury and mainstream segments of the market, will soon out pace those across the rest of the UK.

"The high-end housing market in the affluent central London boroughs has stagnated, as both buyers and sellers wait for the outcome of the government race, while the frenetic activity seen in the mainstream market over the last 18 months has also cooled."

"Police use CS spray as anti-gentrification protesters mass in Brixton"

Link to The Observer

"A peaceful protest against gentrification in Brixton, London, has ended in violence. The local town hall was stormed by protesters, the window of an estate agents was smashed, and CS spray gas was used to disperse protesters who had gathered at a Brixton police station.

"More than 1,000 people had taken part in the Reclaim Brixton rally on Saturday and its organisers insisted they did not want trouble. Their aim was to demonstrate the community’s concern about the area’s gentrification, with locals being priced out of the housing market and smaller, individual businesses being driven out by high rents.

"[... A few protesters later] turned their attention to Foxtons estate agents, which has become a focus of local opposition to the area's gentrification and has been targeted for vandalism in the past. One of its windows was smashed and the words 'Yuppies out' were written in spray paint across another window."

Hammerson and Brent Cross: Top-down planning: arrogant, unsustainable, and led by clowns. (Other than that,...)

"Through the developments we have carried out in recent years, we have an excellent reputation with local authorities and city councils. [That's not what Barnet thinks of you, you know.]

"We also enjoy strong relationships with retailers. By aligning ourselves with the public sector, with anchor retailers like John Lewis and with major direct property investors, we have become the 'partner of choice' for the regeneration of many of the UK's towns and cities.

"Our development strategy is focused on the top 30 retail destinations which capture the key regional and sub regional cities, where we believe future comparison retail spend will be concentrated.

"We are seeking to establish dominant positions in our target cities where we can create the prime retail offer, but also control and manage the public realm and the whole customer experience. This is about creating a 'managed estate' environment.

"In addition, through our retail parks team, we are establishing ourselves in the next tier of towns as we begin to bring forward a new generation of hybrid schemes, emphasising 'convenience'.

"We are creating assets which are scarce commodities and sustainable long-term investments with good growth potential."

"Brent Cross is an example of the success of our long-term investment approach to our major retail assets. It is owned jointly with Standard Life.

"We developed Brent Cross in 1976 and, at that time, it was the first of its kind in Europe. Over the last thirty years, it has shown consistently high returns, achieving some of the highest rents in the UK.

"It has a proven reputation as a launch platform for international retailers seeking entry into the UK and Europe. It is anchored by the UK's highest profile retailers with John Lewis, Marks & Spencer and Fenwick. Since 2002, we have also enhanced the tenant mix to better reflect the upmarket catchment profile. ..."

"It is positioned at the heart of one of the wealthiest catchments in the UK, with very good accessibility, certainly by London standards.

"The centre takes almost half the comparison spend in its catchment, and dominates the five wealthiest MOSAIC groups.

"The high average spend per visit and the high sales per square foot seen by the retailers support high average rents of £1,020 per m² and leaves room for further growth."

"With its unique market positioning and strategic location, the opportunity to expand and evolve Brent Cross is obvious. ... The centre is positioned at the junction of the M1 motorway and London’s inner orbital route, the North Circular.

"We have progressively acquired the land between the existing centre and the North Circular over the last decade.

"In 2002, we purchased a portfolio of property and development opportunities from the rail infrastructure provider, Railtrack. This opened the door to controlling the redevelopment of over 100 hectares of partially derelict and under-utilised land to the south of the North Circular. The development rights are currently held in partnership with Multiplex.

"Then, in 2004 we purchased the Brent South Retail Park, also in conjunction with Standard Life, which previously sat outside the redevelopment land. This is a key asset in its own right and complementary to Brent Cross.

"Taken in the round, we have both direct ownership and key strategic interests in the whole of the Brent Cross and Cricklewood redevelopment area."

"The masterplan for the whole of the regeneration area envisages the creation of a new town centre, with Brent Cross as its cornerstone.

"Brent Cross itself will double in terms of its overall offer, including a significant new leisure and restaurant quarter and residential apartments.

"Across the whole of the site, there will be some 7,000 residential units developed out over a 15 – 20 year period. This will include major new public spaces and amenities and significant investment in transport and infrastructure.

"Further down the line, the masterplan envisages a commercial phase of some 400,000 m² of offices centred around a new main-line railway station. The masterplan will be delivered in phases, progressively bringing forward infrastructure alongside commercial development.

"As for Brent Cross itself, this is an opportunity to reposition the asset for the next thirty years.

"We plan to add a further 55,000 m² of comparison retail; an external retail and leisure environment, building on the concept which has proven so successful at The Oracle in Reading; optimising accessibility and car parking to achieve a total of 7,600 parking spaces; and around 850 residential units as part of the mixed-use environment.

"All contributing to turning the exisiting [sic] centre 'inside out' and creating a customer 'experience' which is not just about shopping, but also a leisure and lifestyle destination.

"... The Cricklewood proposals to the south of the North Circular are a joint venture with Multiplex. This is a longer term-project and it is envisaged that this will be brought forward in partnership with specialist developers for each phase.

"In taking these proposals forward, significant progress has been made in advancing planning policy support. We are continuing to work through the planning process with the objective of submitting an outline Planning Application for the combined scheme next year, which could enable us to be on site with the early phases from 2010. [Giggle, giggle.]

"The combined scheme represents one of the largest regeneration projects in Europe and offers enormous potential to bring forward phased development in a managed environment, and to underpin the future performance of an outstanding asset."


The Londonist: "Hendon Is The Perfect Metaphor For The Whole London Election"

Link to web site

"With just over two weeks to go until the general election on 7 May, we’re taking a look at London’s second closest marginal seat in the upcoming political battle. The issues faced by the constituency are representative of some of London’s wider problems — regeneration, loss of social housing, along with outsourcing and cutbacks to the Conservative council’s services.

"Having won Hendon by just 106 votes in 2010, the Conservatives are looking increasingly likely to lose it back to its previous Labour occupant, Andrew Dismore. And if that's not a nice metaphor for the election as a whole, we don’t know what is.

"So who are the candidates for Hendon? The Conservative incumbent Matthew Offord plans to defend his seat from the aforementioned Andrew Dismore, while UKIP candidate, Jeremy Zeid, was replaced in March by Raymond Shamash after Zeid posted on Facebook that Israel should 'kidnap' US President Barack Obama (as you do). The Green Party’s Ben Samuel and Liberal Democrat Alasdair Hill have posted their own short videos, pitching their candidacies to the constituents."


Barnet Press: "Housing protesters set up camp on council leader's lawn"

Link to web site

"Activists staged a makeshift protest over housing policies – on the leader of Barnet Council's front lawn.

"Protesters turned Richard Cornelius's Totteridge garden into 'temporary accommodation' to highlight what they say is the poor quality housing they have been moved to after being evicted from the Sweets Way estate in Whetstone.

"The estate is owned by Annington Homes, who let the properties out on a temporary basis for families in need before submitting plans to redevelop the site."

20 April, Carey Hall Cricklewood: Labour Party's Brent Cross Sarah Sackman meeting

The Guardian: "Ultra Tory housing policy aims to push poor people out of Barnet"

"Barnet council’s latest wheeze is to raise money from its poorest residents in order to build homes that the poor could not afford to rent, and which it would anyway have to sell off under Tory right-to-buy plans."

Link to web site

"The prosperous London borough of Barnet has won a reputation as a beacon of municipal small-statism in recent years. Policies such as outsourcing almost all council services have illustrated its resolute, if slightly swivel-eyed, dedication to providing a test-bed for a kind of surburban ultra-Toryism.

"Controversy has dogged the project – one of its political architects did not survive the revolution and subsequently denounced it as 'fundamentally un-Conservative' – but that has not dimmed Barnet’s ideological fervour. Indeed, its latest proposals show it to be as uncompromising as ever.

"Barnet's revolutionary vanguard has turned its attention to housing. To address what is from any perspective a spectacular local crisis of explosive demand, soaring rents and unaffordable prices, it has decided to allow thousands more homes to be built. Many councils face this problem, but Barnet's radical draft strategy shows what an extreme Tory approach looks like."


[Reposted] Brent Cross Election Roundup

Link to Barnet Times

"General Election 2015:
Five reasons Conservative candidate Mike Freer wants your vote in Finchley and Golders Green"
"4. Housing - We need more homes. We have had more than 6,200 new homes built in the borough since 2010, with many more planned. Of these, nearly 1,800 homes were for social rent or shared ownership. I will continue to work with the Government to support the delivery of new homes locally, including the regeneration of Brent Cross/Cricklewood."

Mon 20 April:
Sarah Sackman Brent Cross meeting:

Other political parties are available.


Jewish News: "Freer: I can represent Finchley and Golders Green Jews more forcefully than Jewish rival"

"It's gloves off in Finchley and Golders Green as shock poll puts Conservative incumbent behind Jewish Labour rival"

Link to web site

"The race to be MP for Finchley and Golders Green moved into top gear this week after the Tory incumbent claimed he’s better placed to represent Jewish constituents – as a new poll gave his Jewish Labour rival a surprise lead, writes Justin Cohen.

"Both Mike Freer, who has represented the constituency since 2010 and Labour’s Sarah Sackman said the Lord Ashcroft poll of 1,001 voters – which put Labour two points ahead – would serve as a reminder of how close the battle is to win the seat with the largest percentage of British Jews."


Barnet Times: "Campaigners demand to know why cleaners at Brent Cross aren't on London living wage"

Link to web site

"Campaigners were 'disappointed' after the manager of a shopping centre refused to tell them why some of his staff were not receiving the London living wage.

"Members of Noam, the Masorti Jewish Youth Movement, demanded to know why Brent Cross Shopping Centre, in Hendon, has previously advertised jobs for cleaners paying just £6.49p per hour.

"... Ms Sandler, who works for Noam, said:
"... We shop in Brent Cross, we live near Brent Cross, and this Passover we reject the idea that in our lives as consumers we have no responsibility towards the lowest-paid workers in this shopping mall."