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

2019-02-26

Construction Enquirer: "Hammerson puts major construction work on hold"


"Hammerson has put a hold on starting construction of any major developments in the UK"
[There's a surprise]

Link to web site

"The developer is focusing on selling more than £500m of property assets to pay down debts while values continue to fall in the UK.

"Hammerson confirmed last summer that it will be delaying the start of a planned £1.4bn extension of the Brent Cross shopping centre where Laing O’Rourke is lined-up as main contractor.

"... Projects now on hold until 2020 at the earliest include Brent Cross, the Whitgift Centre in Croydon, and The Goodsyard in the City of London."

This is Money: "High Street crisis rocks shopping centre giant: Hammerson could be forced into £900m firesale as it plunges to loss and value of its properties slumps"


On the way out?
Link to web site

"Hammerson has plunged into the red following a disastrous year for the firm and its bosses.

"The shopping centre owner, whose retail empire includes the Bull Ring in Birmingham and London's Brent Cross Shopping Centre, swung to a £266.7million loss in 2018 having made a profit of £413.4million in 2017.

"It was hit by a £622million slump in the value of its estate, a 6.2 per cent decline in rental income, and an increase in the number of empty stores at its shopping centres and retail parks."

[Other than that,...]

Barnet Times: "Brent Cross Shopping Centre owner to sell assets to pay debts"


Link to web site

"Shopping centre owner Hammerson, owner of Brent Cross, has reported millions of pounds in losses, and says it will sell off some of its investments to pay off its debt worth over £3 billion.

"In July 2018, the company said it would be selling £1.1 billion of its investments, properties and estates over a two-year period.

"The news has been met with some trepidation as people fear the losses and the selling off of assets may harm Brent Cross or people's jobs."

2019-02-25

Hammerson collapse: "Bullring owner targets £900m-plus sell-off as retail crisis bites"


Link to The Guardian

"Hammerson, which owns shopping centres including Birmingham's Bullring and London's Brent Cross, is in talks to sell off more than £900m of property after being hit by the crisis in Britain's retail sector.

"The FTSE 250-listed firm said it was in active discussions to offload more than £900m of assets, far exceeding its £500m target for 2019. Last year it sold off £570m of property, with the average price 7% below the book value in December 2017.

"Hammerson is under pressure from an activist investor, the US hedge fund Elliott Advisors, which owns a 5% stake in the company, to speed up disposals, after a 9.3% decline in its property values in 2018."




Inside Croydon:
"Hammerson raise more fears for £1.4bn Croydon scheme"

Link to Inside Croydon

"Hammerson, the owners of Centrale, one half of the 'Croydon Partnership' which was supposed to be starting work on the £1.4billion redevelopment of the Whitgift Centre in central Croydon this autumn, has this morning announced that it has put all its major construction projects on hold, and is instead focusing on flogging off more than £500million of property assets to pay down its company debts while the values of its properties continue to fall."

2019-02-17

Inside Croydon: "Barwell, Brexit and Croydon's troubled Westfield/Hammerson dream"


"STEVEN DOWNES on how the meddling of Tory politicians and the Croydon Establishment managed to ensure that the redevelopment of Croydon town centre was never going to run smoothly"

Link to web site

"Questions were asked in the House of Commons recently which saw Croydon, the Westfield/Hammerson centre and Brexit all mentioned in the same breath. Things must be bad.

In one important respect, the gloomy predictions about the outcome of Brexit and Westfield’s dalliance with Croydon town centre have been linked from the start.

"Because both have had considerable input from an Oxbridge-educated public schoolboy, who has never held down a proper job in his life, and landed his latest state-funded position because of who he knows, rather than what he knows."



2019-02-14

Decline and Fall of Hammerson: "Fears for mall increase as Hammerson takes a hammering"


"Our retailing correspondent, MT WALLETTE, on how the plunging share price for HAMMERSON, half of the so-called 'Croydon Partnership'. could see the redevelopment of the town centre postponed … permanently"

On the way out? Link to 'Inside Croydon'

"The stock market is becoming increasingly nervous about the valuation of one of the major players in the long-promised regeneration of Croydon town centre, to the extent that there is a growing fear that one half of the “Croydon Partnership” could be forced to pull the plug on the £1.4-billion project.

"Much of the focus on the redevelopment of the increasingly dilapidated Whitgift Centre has so far been on developer Westfield and their plans for the super-mall, which was first revealed in 2012 but is now running at least six years late on its original 2017 completion date.

"However, it is the falling share price of Hammerson, the mall operators who own Centrale and who are the other half of the Croydon Partnership, where the biggest worries for the future of the 'Hammersfield' project now lie.

Inside Croydon: "Crisis for Croydon as [Hammerson and] Westfield 'review' their £1.4bn scheme"


Link to web site

"Hammerson and Westfield today announced a decision to 'review' the £1.4-billion project to redevelop Croydon Town Centre, blaming Brexit and uncertainties over the retail sector.

"In so doing, they immediately claimed 2019's No Shit Sherlock award.

"The scheme to rebuild the ageing Whitgift Centre and link it with Hammerson's Centrale mall on the opposite side of North End in Croydon town centre has been promised by Westfield and Hammerson since 2012."




A second Hammerson scheme collapses: Evening Standard: "Hammerson/Westfield's £1.4bn Croydon development 'under review due to Brexit and structural changes on the high street'"


Link to web site

"The owner of the Westfield shopping centres today said it is 'reviewing' its £1.4 billion new development in Croydon because of Brexit and 'structural changes' on the high street."

"Work on the centre, which is hoped to be the catalyst for broader regeneration, was due to start in September but is now not expected to begin until next year."

"The plans for the scheme, being built jointly by Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield and property company Hammerson, were approved in November 2017 and got the green light from Sadiq Khan in January last year."

2019-02-02

The Guardian: "‘The devastation of human life is in view’: what a burning world tells us about climate change"


I was wilfully deluded until I began covering global warming, says David Wallace-Wells. But extreme heat could transform the planet by 2100

Link to web site

"I have never been an environmentalist. I don’t even think of myself as a nature person. I've lived my whole life in cities, enjoying gadgets built by industrial supply chains I hardly think twice about. I've never gone camping, not willingly anyway, and while I always thought it was basically a good idea to keep streams clean and air clear, I also accepted the proposition that there was a trade-off between economic growth and cost to nature – and figured, well, in most cases I'd go for growth. I'm not about to personally slaughter a cow to eat a hamburger, but I'm also not about to go vegan.

"In these ways – many of them, at least – I am like every other American who has spent their life fatally complacent, and wilfully deluded, about climate change, which is not just the biggest threat human life on the planet has ever faced, but a threat of an entirely different category and scale. That is, the scale of human life itself.

"... The majority of the burning [global warming] has come in the last 25 years – since the premiere of Seinfeld. Since the end of the second world war, the figure is about 85%. The story of the industrial world’s kamikaze mission is the story of a single lifetime – the planet brought from seeming stability to the brink of catastrophe in the years between a baptism or barmitzvah and a funeral."

2019-01-20

Hammerson: Brent Cross and Croydon: two collapsed development schemes


"It is six years to the day since Westfield and Hammerson said that, jointly, they would redevelop central Croydon. KEN LEE, our Town Hall reporter, on the increasingly beleaguered mood among senior council figures"

Link to 'Inside Croydon'

"This week marks six years since the 'marriage of convenience' between Hammerson and Westfield was announced over the redevelopment of the Whitgift Centre. Then, the shiny new temple to retailing was all supposed to be rebuilt and open for business by 2017. Now, no one appears to know when it might open, or even if it ever will.

Last June, Croydon Council's chief executive, Jo Negrini and council officials were reporting that demolition work on the old shopping mall would begin in September 2019. At the Town Hall this week, that start date had been put back, at least until after Christmas.

Any further delays to the redevelopment of the town centre will be a massive blow to Negrini, the self-proclaimed 'regeneration practitioner'. Last year, when asked whether her council had a fall-back position in case Westfield decided not to go ahead with the scheme, Negrini responded, 'We're not stupid.' It seems increasingly likely that councillors from the majority Labour group as well as opposition Tories will soon be asking for Negrini to share with them what her 'Plan B' really is."

West London Orbital: Using the Dudding Hill Line to Hendon and Cricklewood, and Thomas the Tank Engine's ride on the line from Acton Main Line station to Cricklewood station








2019-01-13

New Town Utopia (2017) - The First 5 Minutes




The first 5 minutes of the documentary film 'New Town Utopia' released in 2018. A film about the state of the nation, the power of art... and some rather angry puppets.

NOW AVAILABLE TO BUY ONLINE + DVD. FOR MORE INFO GO TO: WWW.NEWTOWNUTOPIA.COM

Produced and Directed by Christopher Ian Smith (citizensmith.net) and Executive Produced by Margaret Matheson (Sid and Nancy, Scum, Sleep Furiously).

2018-12-25

2019: "The US is on the edge of the economic precipice – Trump may push it over"


Link to The Guardian

"... After the 1929 crash, the government invented new ways to boost the wages of most Americans – social security, unemployment insurance, overtime pay, a minimum wage, the requirement that employers bargain with labor unions, and, finally, a full-employment program called the second world war.

"By contrast, after the 2007 crash the government bailed out the banks and pumped enough money into the economy to stop the slide. But apart from the Affordable Care Act, nothing was done to address the underlying problem of stagnant wages.

"Ten years after the start of the Great Recession, we face another economic precipice."

2018-12-24

Nothing from Santa for Hammerson: "Ghosts of Christmas past come to haunt the Whitgift Centre"


Link to 'Inside Croydon'

"... I cross over North End from Whitgift to have a look at Centrale, the slightly more upmarket (I feel I am damning with faint praise here) sister shopping centre (this wholly-owned by Hammerson, the other half of the 'Croydon Partnership'). This is where, according to the display in the Whitgift, 'many of the existing shops… can move during the redevelopment', so I take a look to see if there is room for such a retail migration. There is room.

"There are more eerily empty spaces in Centrale. The two elves employed to shepherd children into Santa’s grotto chat to each other in front of the optimistically long and totally empty queuing area.

"The surreal world of the commercial estate agent is exposed in the great empty space that links Debenhams to Centrale's main stairwell."

2018-12-17

The Guardian: "'Peak stuff', interest rates and a dollop of Brexit have retailers worried". Plus Hammerson worries


"The UK high street is suffering and now even online outlets are feeling the pinch"

Link to web site

"... Reports from retailers for November have been downbeat. Mike Ashley, the founder of Sports Direct, said the start of the Christmas period was 'unbelievably bad'. The monthly report from the payment company Visa found that spending in November was down for a second month. The online clothing firm, Asos sent share prices of the entire UK retail sector lower on Monday when it issued a profits warning after much worse than expected November sales.

"In truth, retailers have been hit by a number of disparate factors simultaneously. Factor number one is that during a period when budgets have been squeezed, consumers have put a higher priority on going out than they have on buying things, leading to speculation that the UK might have reached 'peak stuff'.

"Factor number two is the increased tendency for people to shop online, where the prices tend to be lower and parking is not a problem. Bricks-and-mortar retailers are having a really tough time, with footfall down and costs up."



Just Fancy That

"Shopping centre owner Hammerson has been accused of understating its true debt position through creative accounting. Hammerson has kept its headline loan-to-value (LTV) - the ratio of its debts to its assets - below its self-imposed 40% limit by accounting for its retail outlets business, which includes the popular Bicester Village, in a way that is the most flattering, rather than most appropriate, according to Barclays analyst Paul May." - Sunday Times

"Struggling shopping centre owner Hammerson is attempting to fill empty space by playing the traditional role of department stores, renting out concessions direct to small brands. With House of Fraser, Debenhams and even John Lewis under pressure, the owner of the Bullring in Birmingham and Brent Cross in London is faced with unoccupied property and so is seeking to assemble its own collection of fashion, beauty and food concessions on floors formerly used by department stores." - Sunday Telegraph


2018-11-01

BBC: "More than 200 UK shopping centres 'in crisis'"


Link to web site

"More than 200 UK shopping centres are in danger of falling into administration, experts are warning.

The demise of 'major anchor stores' like BHS and Toys R Us and the rise of online shopping has caused a 'downward spiral', analyst Nelson Blackley said.

"Many of the at-risk centres are owned by US private equity firms under deals that will need refinancing.

"... Mr Mead, head of shopping centre asset management at APAM, said:
"The problem is, these centres are run by investors who have a short-term approach and haven't the skill-sets or investments to embrace the kind of changes required. There needs to be a joint venture created with local communities to fix the problem."

2018-10-28

The Observer: "Cars or clean air? Cheltenham's Boots Corner becomes the new battleground"


"As air pollution fears rise, Cheltenham 'put people before traffic' and banned cars from part of its centre. But not everyone is happy"

Link to web site

"... The battle of Boots Corner is a quintessentially local issue – a council at odds with residents over changes to road layouts, with an undercurrent of party political tension between a Lib Dem-run authority and a Tory MP. But it is also emblematic of a national and international problem: how to reduce congestion and pollution in town and city centres, and create greener, cleaner and safer environments, while improving the efficiency with which people and goods move from A to B.

"Almost all planners agree the key is persuading people to reduce car use – but that will require a massive change in culture and attitudes alongside tangible improvements to public transport. Some suggest the tension between individual liberty and social benefit is akin to the issue of banning smoking in public places. It is almost unfathomable now that 30 years ago people were permitted to smoke on planes and in cinemas; it may take another generation to change car culture, they say.

" 'More and more towns and cities are considering measures. The data on air quality is so compelling that people will start demanding it,' said James Cleeton of Sustrans, which campaigns to increase walking and cycling. 'We understand people are reluctant to get out of their cars but there are massive positives to them as individuals and to society in general.'"

2018-10-23

London Borough of Barnet: Local Cunning Plan: Local Development Scheme (before the next one)







7 Oct: FT: "Landlords struggle to offload billions in UK retail property"


"High street woes prompt rush to reduce exposure to [retail] sector"

Subscribe to FT

"UK landlords are struggling to offload billions of pounds' worth of shopping centres and retail parks, as the crisis in bricks-and-mortar retail ripples into the property sector.

"At least £2.5bn of retail properties are currently being marketed, according to FT data based on information from agents, while some property companies privately place the total available to buy as high as £5bn.

" 'Everything is for sale. Nobody wants to own this stuff,' said one agent in the sector. 'The bid-offer spread between holders' expectations and the prices that buyers are willing to pay is just a chasm.'

"The attempted sales follow a string of high-profile collapses in the retail sector, as chains face up to the shift in consumer spending habits away from the high street.

"House of Fraser, Maplin, Poundworld and Toys R Us have all fallen into administration this year, while chains including Mothercare have closed stores as part of agreements with creditors.

"As consumers move purchases online, physical retail has suffered despite growth in overall sales. Retailers have also had to contend with rising wage and tax bills.

"... Public markets are also pessimistic about the sector. Hammerson, the specialist shopping centre landlord, currently trades at a discount of 40 per cent to the value of its assets, according to Numis Securities."

2018-09-07

Inside Croydon: "Newman hails 'key milestone' as CPO begins for Hammerson-Westfield"


Link to web site

"It is six years since the vast supermall and flats scheme was announced, and it is three years since a Government-appointed inspector presided over an inquiry to approve the terms of a Compulsory Purchase Order of a vast swathe of property in Croydon town centre.

"... Few have actually had an opportunity to see the detail of what the developers, under their altered, second iteration of the scheme, intend to impose on the borough's commercial centre. Indeed, only last month it was reported that Peter Cole, Hammerson’s departing director, admitted that detailed designs haven't even yet been started.

"Just what surprises might they have in store? Or will Croydon be lumbered with the world's most expensive pig in a poke?"

Inside Croydon: "Council has contingency plan for ‘blighted’ Hammerson-Westfield scheme"


Link to web site

"Croydon council is readying itself for a ‘hard Crexit’ over a £1.4bn town centre redevelopment, according to industry watchers.

"... The council has even had to draw up contingency plans in case the whole deal collapses."

"... 'We're not stupid,' Croydon Council Leader Jo Negrini is supposed to have said, risking having council-watchers to provide a litany of examples to prove her claim wrong."

2018-09-05

Brent Cross 'anchor store': BBC: "Fenwick cuts 408 jobs to modernise"


Link to web site

"[Brent Cross] retailer Fenwick has cut 408 jobs at its department stores across England.

"... The restructuring is in response to a drop in profits, declining sales and a need to modernise.

"A spokeswoman for the company said all department stores were facing 'challenging market conditions' and increased online competition. Declining footfall and 'increasingly competitive price discounting' had been 'exacerbated by a rise in the cost of living', she said.

2018-08-08

Property Week: Hammerson may abandon Croydon scheme


By Peter Bill: Fri 3 August 2018

Link to web site

"On 17 May, Westfield shareholders ticked the £18.5bn takeover offer made in December 2017 by French retail giant Unibail-Rodamco. A week earlier I'd asked Croydon council chief executive Jo Negrini if she was worried that the coming surrender of Westfield to the French might further delay the £1.4bn Whitgift Centre, five years in the planning by Westfield and Hammerson. I’ll return to her response later.

"In 2013, the pair promised an opening date of 2017-18. It was a time when Westfield was king of retail development and Hammerson was queen. A time when it was unimaginable that Westfield founder Frank Lowy would cede power to the French. Or that Hammerson would shelve a decade-long plan for a £1.4bn extension to Brent Cross – as it did last week.

"The Westfield/Hammerson joint venture holds, for now, under the Croydon Partnership banner, with an added Unibail patch. Work is promised to start next year. On 3 1 May, John Lewis and Waitrose became anchor tenants. Hammerson chief investment officer Peter Cole said: “Over the coming months, we are looking to make further progress with the land assembly process ahead of commencing [my italics] detailed design.”




Inside Croydon:
"Council has contingency plan for ‘blighted’ Westfield [and Hammerson] scheme"

2018-08-06

NW2 Residents Association: "Brent Cross expansion on hold"


Link to web site

"Hammerson announced the expansion of Brent Cross shopping centre was on hold. It's not obvious what this means for us, especially now that Brent Cross Cricklewood's been divided into three parts."

Brent Cross London
"Brent Cross London is Hammerson's part."

Brent Cross South
"Brent Cross South is Argent Related's part, south of the North Circular and east of the railway line."

Brent Cross Thameslink
"Brent Cross Thameslink is Barnet Council's part, mainly the stretch between the Edgware Road and the railway line."

2018-08-02

Reuters: "Hammerson overhaul plan fails to quell investor worries over strategy"


Link to web site

"LONDON (27 July: Reuters) - Hammerson's (HMSO.L) plan to offload property assets and buy back shares has failed to assuage investor unease over the British shopping center owner’s strategy following its decision to spurn a 5 billion-pound ($6.6 billion) takeover by rival Klepierre (LOIM.PA) earlier this year.

"The property group on Tuesday said it would sell 1.1 billion pounds of assets, including its 13 out-of-town retail parks, by the end of 2019, buy back up to 300 million pounds of shares, and save at least 7 million pounds of costs a year.

"But two large shareholders in Hammerson told Reuters on Friday that they did not believe the overhaul proposed by the owner of Birmingham’s Bullring shopping center would be enough to lift its share price close to 635 pence, which was the level of French firm Klepierre’s final unsuccessful cash-and-paper bid for the London-listed group."

Evening Standard: "BMO’s man fries 'Bay of Pigs' Hammerson boss David Atkins on struggles"


David Atkins and the rest of the Hammerson board


"Marcus Phayre-Mudge, a fund manager at BMO Global Asset Management, probably won’t be on the Christmas card list of Hammerson boss David Atkins, after attacking the property company's valuations in the analyst presentation at its strategy update this week.

" 'You are right in the middle of a massive storm here and it is not helpful to play down he impact on the market... I think it is time for you guys to be open with your shareholders and say it is going to be very difficult,' said Phayre-Mudge. A bristling Atkins assured him: 'you'll be pleased with the sale prices' of some of the assets on the block.

"But the fund manager had the final word, comparing Hammerson’s failed merger with Intu to the CIA's disastrously botched Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in 1961. Nice.

"Atkins isn't worried about his job. 'I'm very confident I'll still be talking to you for many years to come,' he tells Spy, in what could be 2018's top hostage to fortune so far."


Evening Standard: City Spy, Thursday 26 July

Barnet Times: Barnet's Hammerson debacle at Brent Cross




2018-07-31

Hammerson's Brent Cross swamp: Labour steps in


Link to web site

"Labour London Assembly Member for Barnet and Camden Andrew Dismore AM has written to the Leader of Barnet Council Cllr Richard Cornelius with a series of questions after the plan to expand Brent Cross Shopping Centre was delayed by the developer, Hammerson.

"Mr Dismore said:
"It is vital that Barnet Council get a grip on what this will mean for them, the wider scheme and for the local community. Brent Cross is the biggest regeneration scheme in the borough, and the Council’s finances are dependent on the Council Tax and Business Rate revenues projected from it. If there are real problems with Brexit next year, the delay could be for years, if not lead to the termination of the project altogether."

"Childs Hill Councillor Anne Clarke said:
"I would like to know what the best possible outcome is for residents, who are already unhappy about the lack of involvement in the process, and the prospect of years of misery with vehicle movements, roadworks, traffic and pollution. Also, what are the long-term plans for the waste transfer site [,along] with [the] aggregate [site] and Donoghue? Residents need answers on these pretty quickly."

2018-07-25

Inside Croydon: "Brent Cross takes a £1.4bn hit as Hammerson signals a go-slow"


Link to web site

"High Street closures and Brexit uncertainties mean that retail landlord Hammerson is getting cold feet over redevelopment schemes for its shopping centres around the capital.

"Hammerson has shelved its plans for the £1.4billion redevelopment of its Brent Cross shopping centre, and doesn't seem in any great hurry to pursue the regeneration of Croydon town centre, including its own Centrale mall.

"The multi-billion property company released its half-year report to the Stock Exchange yesterday, and made it plain that what one newspaper called 'the nightmare climate engulfing UK retailer'” is making it take a very long, hard look at how the business spends its development cash."



Also:
"Financial Times predicts Hammerson will sell stake in Croydon"

The Guardian: "Hammerson's grand self-assessment isn't shared by its investors"


"Following the Intu humiliation the company’s CEO breezed on as if nothing had happened"

Link to web site

"A note of humility would have been order from Hammerson's board after the humiliation of the non-takeover of shopping centre rival Intu, a £3.4bn deal that had to be abandoned because the group's own shareholders were in revolt. Instead, chief executive David Atkins & co breezed on as if nothing had happened. Hammerson is a 'best-in-class' and 'dynamic' property company, apparently, and is now adopting a 'decisive' strategy of flogging all its out-of-town retail parks.

"... Shrinking the presence of department stores within the shopping centres by 25% sounds like a case of following retailing trends that are happening anyway. Meanwhile, a planned extension to the Brent Cross centre in north London is being put on hold, which is presumably an example of the board sitting decisively on its hands, or being encouraged to do so by development partner Aberdeen Standard Investments."

Evening Standard: "Investors could push for Hammerson's break-up, says Russell Lynch"




Link to web site

"Hammerson boss David Atkins went shopping at Brent Cross with his mum when the centre first opened in 1976, but the chances are that he'll be pushing 60 before the extension to north London’s shopping hub is finally open.

"The 52-year old's decision to 'defer' the £1.4 billion project looks like good sense in the current climate of caterwauling retailers, administrations and rent-slashing CVAs but investors will be looking askance at the rest of the strategy he unveiled today.

"Let's not forget Atkins had some work to do here after one of the most humiliating corporate retreats in recent times, when it abandoned its planned merger with Intu and even told its shareholders to vote against a deal it was proclaiming from the rooftops just weeks earlier."

2018-07-24

The whole squalid plan comes crashing down! Evening Standard: "Retail woes force Hammerson to halt Brent Cross expansion"


Link to web site

"The nightmare climate engulfing UK retailers on Tuesday forced property giant Hammerson to put on ice its £1.4 billion plans to extend north London’s vast Brent Cross shopping centre.

"The plans to enhance the centre — which opened in 1976 and has around 15 million visitors a year — have been in the pipeline for over a decade but have been put on hold by the company, which owns Brent Cross with Standard Life.

"The decision comes after an annus horribilis for retailers including the failure of chains like Maplin and Toys'R'Us and desperate moves by players such as House of Fraser to slash their rental bills through so-called creditor voluntary arrangements, hitting landlords in the pocket. Costs have also been rising due to soaring business rates and the national living wage increases."

2018-05-29

John Lewis backs out of original plan for a completely new store at Brent Cross - so now it's refurbishment of the current store only


 

"Hammerson and Aberdeen Standard Investments, joint owners of Brent Cross, have signed a new agreement for lease with John Lewis to transform its department store as part of the £1.4bn Brent Cross redevelopment and refurbishment in North London.

"Having been present in Brent Cross since the centre opened in 1976 – the first 'US style mall in the UK' – the department store will undergo a full refurbishment as part of the plans and Brent Cross will remain open as usual throughout the development programme.

"The new store will include an enhanced retail layout to create a more contemporary shopping experience for customers and showcase its latest shop design. It will benefit from direct access to a brand new 1,450 space car park, which will also support the brand's growing click and collect offer."



Or you could go to John Lewis White City.

The Guardian: "Skyscrapers wreck cities – yet still Britain builds them"


"Around 500 towers are proposed for London. They're not just ugly: they symbolise Britain's greedy pandering to developers"

Link to web site

I love towers and hate towers. I love those of Siena and San Gimignano and the skyscraper clusters of Manhattan and Dubai. I admire the design of London’s Canary Wharf, and of the Shard, if only it had not been dumped on Bermondsey. I do not love the ugliness now being scattered at random along the banks of the Thames or the squalor of London's skyline. As art historian Vince Scully said of New York, he once 'entered the city like a god; now one scuttles in like a rat'.

"We have seen nothing yet. The latest survey from New London Architecture, the only body monitoring the city’s towerscape, is nothing short of sensational. At the turn of the century, the metropolis had some 30 towers over 20 storeys. Two years ago 115 were planned or under construction. Now, according to NLA, a staggering 510 are proposed. No plan for this proliferation has ever been published.

"No mayor has ever put it to the voters. Unlike any other European country, skyscrapers can go up wherever developers want, provided only that they do not spoil a view of St Paul's Cathedral. It is 'wild west' planning."

Greengauge21 report: "Beyond HS2"