.

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

2017-03-26

The Guardian: "Populism is the result of global economic failure"


Link to web site

"... James Montier and Philip Pilkington of the global investment firm GMO say that the system that arose in the 1970s was characterised by four significant economic policies:

  • the abandonment of full employment and its replacement with inflation targeting;
  • an increase in the globalisation of the flows of people, capital and trade;
  • a focus on shareholder maximisation rather than reinvestment and growth; and
  • the pursuit of flexible labour markets and the disruption of trade unions and workers' organisations.

"... 'Labour market flexibility may sound appealing, but it is based on a theory that runs completely counter to all the evidence we have,' Montier and Pilkington note. 'The alternative theory suggests that labour market flexibility is by no means desirable, as it results in an economy with a bias to stagnate. It can only maintain high rates of employment and economic growth through debt-fuelled bubbles that inevitably blow up, leading to the economy tipping back into stagnation.'

"This quest for ever-greater labour-market flexibility has had some unexpected consequences. The bill in the UK for tax credits spiralled quickly once firms realised that they could pay poverty wages and let the state pick up the bill. Access to a global pool of low-cost labour meant there was less of an incentive to invest in productivity-enhancing equipment.

"The abysmally-low levels of productivity growth since the crisis have encouraged the belief that this is a recent phenomenon, but as Andy Haldane, the Bank of England's chief economist, noted last week, the trend started in most advanced countries in the 1970s."

The Independent: "Amazon avoids $1.5bn US tax bill in court ruling"


"Judge rules it legal for internet giant to funnel European sales through Luxembourg"

Deliver the web site

"... [Even with this ruling] Amazon could face additional tax bills in Europe, if Brussels officials choose to take further action.

"Luxembourg is known as one of the world's biggest tax havens, offering heavy discounts on corporate taxes that have attracted global companies such as Pepsi and Apple.

"During his Presidential campaign, Donald Trump criticised Amazon for not paying enough in tax. The online retailer's chief executive, Jeff Bezos, responded angrily to the claims, triggering a social media battle."

2017-03-25

[Reposted from 2011] Mike McGuinness, Hammerson Development Director, and "leading on Brent Cross Cricklewood" (who is 'following'?) fails to mention the place

Publications > Commons Select Committees > Communities and Local Government > Communities and Local Government
Session 2010-12: Regeneration: Regen 73

Written submission from Hammerson plc:

Link to Parliamentary web site

Hammerson PLC

"Hammerson has been creating and managing some of the most exciting retail destinations and office buildings in Europe for over 60 years. A FTSE 100 company with a real estate portfolio in the UK and France of around £5.3 billion at 31 December 2010, Hammerson has investments in 17 major shopping centres and 17 retail parks. We own seven London office buildings, which provide 158,000 m² of prime accommodation. [2013: Not now, you don't ]

"Hammerson aims to be the best owner-manager and developer of retail and office property in the UK and France. We focus on prime regional shopping centres and out-of town retail, while exploiting opportunities in the office sector. Our strategy is to outperform through two areas of focus: maximising income growth, and creating a high-quality property portfolio through acquisition, development and asset management. Both areas are underpinned by prudent financial management."


What made you invest in regeneration in more prosperous times?
"Regeneration is an essential component of the growth process. Hammerson's expertise is in the retail and office sectors. Investment purchases generally become too expensive in a good market and therefore when occupier demand is strong in a particular town or City where Hammerson have an interest then it is a logical step to promote rental and capital growth (and day one profit) through the development process."
What is constraining your ability to invest at the present time?
"The fundamentals of the development process are weak at present. For example, in the retail sector - retailers are very selective about where they locate and how much they will pay, which puts huge pressure on a developer to make development appraisals viable - as inevitably, retailers want to pay less rent but in return for more rent free and capital. [sic]

Demand for residential space is restrained by the lack of mortgage finance. Grants have disappeared in respect of the provision of affordable housing, and therefore even more pressure on viability. [sic] Availability of bank finance is still a big barrier - not so much for Hammerson - but for businesses wanting to expand, which in turn will ignite the development process.
However Hammerson has spent time re-designing schemes, and making them more efficient and deliverable, i.e. fit for purpose. A big problem also with big regeneration schemes is the long lead-in period, huge upfront costs for planning; land assembly, big infrastructure commitments which undermine cash flow/returns, etc. Until the fundamentals change, relative to demand/finance, and more certainty on planning and costs, we remain in for a long and arduous period." [sic]
Do you think the Government’s current plans will encourage investment in regeneration?
"In principle, the Government's plans will help, and in addition to the previous answer, much will depend on the Local Authority's willingness and commitment to driving through the growth agenda.


There is a danger that the process could be side-tracked by agitators, and that NIMBYS will undermine the process. Therefore, it is key to have strong local leadership in the Local Authority at Leader and Chief Executive Level.  [Well, you've got no chance in Barnet, then, have you?]
It is important that processes are simplified, and not made more unwieldy."
Which areas will be most and least attractive for investment under the new arrangements and why?
"In geographical terms this is very difficult to say, until the Government initiatives are in place. The evolution of Local Enterprise Partnerships, Enterprise Zones and Tax Increment Financing (TIF) will be very important in setting up a strong platform for growth. The South East and London will continue to remain dominant, but areas such as the North East will be testing in enabling regeneration to be kick-started. In these areas, the big challenge will be to attract inward investment by presenting more certainty in planning, occupier demand, and delivery terms."
What more could Government do to help?
"I believe that the introduction of TIF will be key to plugging the gap in terms of what is or not a fundable or deliverable scheme in terms of financial returns. Whether the funding is provided by the public or private sector against future rates income, it is very important that the Government give a clear steer, and importantly, formalise the process, in order that regeneration can be kick-started."

Case Study:
Hammerson regeneration projects:
Highcross Leicester and Cabot Circus Bristol 2008

(pic: Leicester Shire Promotions)

"The two schemes follow the success in 2003 of the ground-breaking Bullring [sic] development in Birmingham, where Hammerson was the development partner. Once again, on Highcross Leicester and on Cabot Circus Bristol, Hammerson’s role as the principal development partner has seen the company forge a new template for city centre regeneration.

(Cabot Circus picture: EG Focus)
"Shaped by exhaustive and far-reaching consultation programmes, both Highcross Leicester and Cabot Circus Bristol have been designed to respond to community and council objectives. During the 18-month consultation programme undertaken for Cabot Circus at the planning stage over 200 individuals, representing 76 organisations, were involved in the process, while public exhibitions about Highcross Leicester generated 90% support for the proposals.

"During the development stages of both projects, extensive information programmes were implemented which included: public open weekends, regular mail outs to residents, visits and talks to community groups, and ambassador tours aimed at local opinion forming stakeholders and the public in general."






2017-03-24

The Guardian: "Millions of UK workers at risk of being replaced by robots, study says"


"Workers in wholesale and retail sectors at highest risk from breakthroughs in robotics and artificial intelligence, PwC report finds"

Link to web site

"More than 10 million UK workers are at high risk of being replaced by robots within 15 years as the automation of routine tasks gathers pace in a new machine age.

"A report by the consultancy firm PwC found that 30% of jobs in Britain were potentially under threat from breakthroughs in artificial intelligence (AI). In some sectors half the jobs could go.

"The report predicted that automation would boost productivity and create fresh job opportunities, but it said action was needed to prevent the widening of inequality that would result from robots increasingly being used for low-skill tasks.

"2.25 million jobs were at high risk in wholesale and retailing."

2017-03-23

Evening Standard: "Next boss: We’re losing sales because people don’t want to buy more 'stuff'"


Link to the web site next

"The boss of fashion chain Next today said it had been hit by a generational shift away from owning ever more 'stuff' to spending on memorable experiences such as eating out with friends.

"Chief executive Lord Wolfson, who was unveiling the retailer's first fall in profits for eight years, said the trend — most closely associated with young 'Millennial' shoppers — was a major reason why he remained 'extremely cautious' about the outlook for the rest of 2017.

"... Last year Ikea executive Steve Howard warned that consumers' obsession with owning goods was on the wane, saying: 'In the West we have probably hit peak stuff'."

Until 2 April 2017: Barnet Council: "Brent Cross Thameslink – new project timescales"


"The Brent Cross Cricklewood development is Barnet Council's most significant growth and regeneration programme [and probably its most corrupt].  The vision of the Council and its partners is to create a thriving town centre with attractive and high quality houses and green spaces. Alongside a modernised shopping centre, the development will be served by an additional train station, and a new high street providing local shops, restaurants and offices. We want the area to be a vibrant place to live, work and socialise.

A new station, sooner

"This regeneration will be underpinned by a number of major transport infrastructure improvements. The most significant of these will be a new Thameslink railway station, delivered by Barnet Council with Network Rail, which will link the Brent Cross Cricklewood development to King's Cross St Pancras in less than 15 minutes.

"We are now planning to bring forward the rail-related projects earlier in the overall development programme than previously envisaged, inlcuding [sic] delivering the new Thameslink station in 2022 instead of 2031. This will ensure that the new station is open far earlier than previously planned, supporting the Brent Cross Cricklewood regeneration as a whole and also providing new transport links to existing local residents.

Why We Are Consulting

"Planning permission for the Brent Cross Cricklewood project was first granted in 2010 (ref. C/17559/08) and subsequently amended in 2014 (ref. F/04687/13).

"The planning permission allows for the timing and content of the phases of the project to be amended as necessary, subject to technical assessments and approval.

"We're keen to hear your views before we submit an application to allow the new Thameslink station and other rail-related sites to be constructed at the same time, and see the new station open to the public in 2022." [There are three compulsory purchase orders to push through first.]


2017-03-04

[Reposted] Evening Standard: Hammerson's Brent Cross: "A lot of imagination in the layout" (Then, not now.)


"It is a wonderful asset to be able to park your car and do all your shopping under one roof, without worrying about traffic wardens or getting wet," says Mrs Renee Stitcher, a magistrate's wife.

We took her around the centre to see for herself what was going on, and to get her views about the shopping centre.

"It is a wonderful centre - a lot of imagination has gone into the layout, and I am enjoying walking around the shops, and also having the chance of a sit down and something to eat and drink," she said.

Sometimes she uses Golders Green for her shopping, but says parking is a real problem. "The council has not provided any parking. Either you park a long way away and walk, or else go elsewhere.

"I have been going to the West End, because I can get a car park and a choice of goods.

"The chance of doing all my shopping in one go will be just what many housewives want - and they needn't get wet in the process.

"I like the design and layout of the centre, but my husband is going to be furious because it will encourage me to shop more often!

"High on my priority list with this centre is its convenience. You can come by car and park all around it, and get into the shops on two completely different levels.

"The big West End stores have come out to where we live, and it looks as though there will be plenty of choice.

"I like the big islands of carpeting in the Fenwicks store. The aim of this, I am told, is to help identify each department - the whole store ... looks very bright and cheerful.

"In these days of economic depression and general problems, everyone needs a lift - and this store provides it. I think the Fenwicks store is nicer than many similar styles I have seen in America.

Her one big worry was that the centre was big and overpowering. "It might take a long time before people get used to it."

6 Jan 1976


The Guardian: Opinion: "Every time we take an Uber, we're spreading its social poison"


"CEO Travis Kalanick's treatment of one of his drivers shows Uber's institutional sleazebaggery, seeing social responsibility as an outdated piece of apparatus"

Ride to the web site

"Liberal outrage has been a chorus to Uber's apparently unstoppable rise, but it has never before been a bar to its expansion: the company continues to grow, even as it registers record-breaking revenue loss around the world, much of which it puts down to the inconvenience of still having to pay its drivers.

Given what we already knew about Uber's institutional sleaziness, why is this clip so shocking? Because it reveals an uncomfortable truth about the character of our modern power elites. Part of us would prefer to imagine the svengalis of exploitative businesses as polished, scheming villains, geniuses enviably unencumbered by such old-fashioned burdens as ethics and morality.

"From Trump down, these men would prefer us to picture them as competent and potent – a little brash, perhaps, but that's all part of how corporate power brands itself. This is why it matters that this video exposes Kalanick, one of the world's richest men, as a thoroughly unpleasant person."

[And as for Hammerson?
Ah, Hammerson!]

Evening Standard: "Eight out of 10 homes in flagship London schemes sold to overseas buyers"


Link to web site

"Up to four out of five homes in some of the capital's most high-profile new housing developments have been sold to overseas owners in fresh evidence of London buyers being squeezed out, a report warned today.

"An analysis into the ownership of just over 2,000 flats or houses in 14 developments shows that 1,616 of the homes were purchased by individuals or companies from abroad, says the report's author, anti-corruption campaign group Transparency International.

"The negative impact on London is made worse by the fact that 40 per cent of purchases, totalling £1.6 billion, in the new developments were by investors from countries with a 'high risk' of corruption, says the report."

2017-03-02

Brent Cross: "Family Friendly Shopping For Everyone" ("This is a collaborative post with Brent Cross" so take it with a pinch of salt)


Bump into the web site

"As I have spoken about on the bumpandbeyondblog before, Wednesdays are 'Mummy and Darcy Days'. When the lovely people at Brent Cross got in contact and asked if we would like to come down for a girlie day of manicures, lunch and shopping, of course we snapped up the offer.

Brent Cross is really easy to get to. We got on a bus which stopped right in front of the main entrance. It is easy to get to by tube [it's WHAT???] and there are numerous buses you can get there. There is LOTS of parking if you are coming by car and most importantly the parking is free."

2017-02-22

[Reposted] Barnet Press: Brent Cross Cricklewood, London Plan, Road Congestion, Trams, etc.



Forbes: "London's Foreign Investment Is Increasing -- Except In This One Sector"


Link to web site

"While foreign investments in office buildings and retail have been brisk, UK housing does not see the eager foreign investment that other sectors do.

"Argent Related is one unusual U.S./UK partnership that will build homes in the UK. The partnership, helmed [apparently an intransitive verb] by David Partridge, launched a £1B project to build 800 homes at Tottenham Hale and a £4B project to build 7,500 homes at Brent Cross [compulsory purchase orders permitting - and the crucial CPO3 hasn't even happened yet].

"These projects are useful, property expert Katie Kopec said, but barely address the problem. It is almost impossible for private homebuilders to solve the housing crisis because the scale of the problem is so huge. Even so, Kopec said, the UK can learn a lot from Americans. London's rental units are usually in blocks of Georgian buildings, while there are precious few big new apartment building blocks, which Americans excel at building."

2017-02-21

The Guardian: "Sub-prime cars: are car loans driving us towards the next financial crash?"


"Analysts fear the boom in personal contract plans are mirroring the sub-prime mortgage scandal and are fuelling a colossal build-up of debt in UK and US"

Link to web site

"A huge increase in the amounts borrowed by already indebted households in Britain and the US to buy new vehicles is fuelling fears that 'sub-prime cars' could ignite the next financial crash.

"British households borrowed a record £31.6bn in 2016 to buy cars, up 12% on the year before, said the Finance and Leasing Association on Friday. Nine out of 10 private car buyers are now using personal contract plans (known as PCPs), which have boomed since interest rates fell to historic lows.

"... Car financing in the UK is a 'flashing light', according to Andrew Evans, a fund manager at investment firm Schroders. 'Borrowing is a very bad idea when it is done against a depreciating asset … such as a car,' he said, adding that there was a 'serious level of fragility built into the system'.

The Times: "Brent Cross revamp is Hammerson’s aim after profits tumble" (which is a bit of a hostage to fortune, isn't it?)


Link to web site (pay wall)

"A billion-pound facelift for the Brent Cross shopping centre in north London heads the 'to do' list for Hammerson, after the company suffered a writedown-related plunge in profits for 2016.

"The 40-year-old Brent Cross, Britain's first entirely enclosed shopping mall [no, it's not], is showing its age and the redevelopment will double the size of the existing site close to the North Circular, as well as bringing it into the 21st century [eh?].

"Hammerson’s share of the cost is put at up to £550 million, with Standard Life, its joint venture partner on the site, also footing the bill."

2017-02-20

Evening Standard: Hammerson's 'SS Brent Cross' sails serenely on, ignoring the jagged rocks of compulsory purchase public local inquiries...

Shurely Shome Mishtake. Ed.

"Property firm Hammerson is set to submit detailed plans for the £1.2 billion overhaul of Brent Cross shopping centre within weeks, boss David Atkins said today. [So nothing has changed.]

"The modernisation will more than double the size of the 40-year-old north London mall to 1.9 million square feet, as part of a wider £4.5 billion regeneration of Cricklewood including offices, parks and nearly 7000 new homes.

"The centre, which opened in 1976 as the UK's first fully enclosed shopping mall, already sees 15 million visits a year but the extension will almost double the number of shops to 200."

2017-02-19

The Guardian: "Is this the end of UK's retail boom?"


"Economic indicators point to a prolonged slump in consumer spending, and as prices rise real income will fall"

Link to web site

"All things considered, it could hardly have gone better for Britain’s retailers in 2016. Shops and online outlets were fully braced for a big hit to activity in the period after the EU referendum but it didn't happen. Consumers spent in the summer. They spent in the autumn and they spent at Christmas too.

"That spree is over. Retailers are going to find life tougher in 2017. Those facing the prospect of higher business rates alongside a dip in demand will experience a painful double-whammy.

"Three factors explain why the pundits who confidently predicted carnage in the high street after the Brexit vote were wrong: consumer psychology; policy changes; and the economic fundamentals underpinning consumer demand."

2017-02-16

[Reposted from Feb 2013] "Roads Are Not For Cars"


Link to 'Atlantic Cities'

"... The combined effects of improved convenience for drivers, a degraded walking environment, service cuts to public transit and the physical separation of residential and commercial areas were forcing city-dwellers into cars.

Cities like Berkeley, Arlington and Cambridge experienced something different. Even as they cut back on surface parking, the number of people and jobs climbed upward, as did incomes. Less parking in these places has meant the urban fabric can be stitched back together and there is more space for shops, restaurants, jobs and other things that make cities great.

"More importantly, the parking isn’t needed. People own cars at higher rates, but they don’t use them as much. Instead, they live close to the urban core where upwards of 30 percent walk or bike to work.

"Today, in many cities, roads and parking facilities continue to grow, as though the problem for the last 50 years has been that the growth was not enough. These cities might be able to guarantee a parking space in front of every destination that still remains (or they might not), but they are likely doing so at the expense of those things that cities really need – namely, people."



"Mayor of New York says roads are not for cars. And cyclists and pedestrians are 'more important' than motorists"

Link to 'Roads Were Not Built For Cars'

Surveyor: "Rail industry promises 'age of the digital train'"


This is The Age
(woooosh!)
Of the Train.

"The rail industry has set out how it will cope with ever-increasing demand by using technology and advanced design to get more people on trains and more trains on the network.

"... The Rail Delivery Group, which represents train operators and Network Rail, said new seat designs would both improve comfort and increase the amount of space for passengers on both new and existing trains.

"One new seat type allows between 20-30% more seats, allowing passengers to sit in a more upright position, while another type provides traditional seats during the day, but converts to a different configuration during peak times, allowing up to 15-20% more seats and more room for people who stand."

2017-02-07

Sun 12 Feb: Caroline Hirons: Body Shop Appearance



"Hi Everyone!

"To celebrate the brand new Body Shop in Brent Cross I'm popping along on Sunday to spend time on the shop floor, meet you and talk all things skin.

"This is the first time I've done an event at the weekend, but a lot of your feedback was 'NO MORE WEEKDAYS PLEASE' so hopefully this will suit more of you timings-wise.

"Where?
"The Body Shop, Upper Mall Brent Cross Shopping Centre, Hendon, London, NW4 3FP

"When?
"Sunday 12th February 12-5.30pm

"Come see us for all things spots. And tea. And skincare. Obvs.

"Hope to see you there!"

Evening Standard: "Wembley housing scheme will be biggest ever 'build-to-rent' development" [Wembley has THREE stations. Just saying.]


Link to web site

"The thousands of tenants expected  to move into Britain’s biggest ever “build-to-rent” housing scheme next to Wembley Stadium will save it from being blighted by the 'lights-out' phenomenon, property bosses claimed today.

"They revealed that close to 5,000 out of a total 7,000 apartments being built at the Wembley Park development will be for private and social rent.

"James Saunders, chief operating officer at developer Quintain, said he expected at least 95 per cent of the homes to be occupied when they are completed.

"That is a far higher proportion than most conventional 'for sale' housing schemes in London, where large numbers of homes are snapped up by foreign investors and either kept empty for all or part of the year, or rented out as buy-to-lets."



Link to web site

"Last weekend saw the government announce 'a better deal for tenants'. Could it be that someone in Westminster has belatedly realised that buying a home is no longer a viable option? Because of surging house prices, job insecurity, and no access to a deposit, for many it is nigh on impossible.

"... There exists a specious argument that rent controls cause a stagnating rental market (translation: tenants stay long-term and rents are stable). This theory encouraged John Major's government to pass the regressive 1996 Housing Act to end long-term tenancies.

"But remember this: back in the 80s, a mortgage was two-and-a-half times annual incomes, not eight to 10 times as it is now. Consequently home ownership was a natural stage in life: those who could bought and those who couldn't rented one place for ever. As is right and proper."

2017-02-02

London Civic Forum: Brent Cross is a bit iffy


"Plans to enlarge the Brent Cross centre have been in the pipeline for several years and been through several rounds of consultation. [Ha!]  Now Hammerson has unveiled its latest plans which were publicly consulted on earlier this month and are due to go before planners at Barnet council next spring.

"The scheme was previously called Brent Cross Cricklewood and was designed by Allies & Morrison. But in 2014 the site was divided into two with the plot north of the A406 North Circular road – which includes the shopping centre – now being called Brent Cross London. It will be developed by Hammerson and Standard Life.

"The 1976 shopping centre will be doubled in size and the bus station will be enlarged and relocated.

"Architects working on the scheme include Chapman Taylor, Callison RTKL and Macgregor Smith and the plans include around 400 homes and a riverside park.

"The southern portion, Brent Cross South, is being delivered by Argent Related in a joint venture with the council and will include 6,700 homes and more shops, but configured in a more traditional way like a high street.

"But is it sustainable? Will it hoover up all the retail growth in North London? What will be the impact on town centres in North London? What happened to the 'town centre first' policy? What would that mean in North London?"

2017-01-27

[Reposted] Cricklewood Station to close, for benefit of Brent Cross developers: Brookfield/Multiplex? (cleared out.) Hammerson? (clearing out.) GVA's Brave New Punter?



London Borough of Barnet
Cabinet Resources Committee
18 April 2013 (link)
"...GVA are also commissioned to explore potential funding strategies to bring forward critical infrastructure within the Regeneration Area, including the Thameslink Station.

"This review will be complete in April 2013, and reported to Cabinet Resources later this year"

Thameslink Station?

(North is to the left; the A5 Edgware Road is along the bottom)

That will be the:
'Cricklewood New Station'
to replace the existing:
'Cricklewood Old Station'
then! (Incidentally, it is next to part of the Brent Cross waste incinerator).


As Network Rail said, in October 2007 (source)
"Taking cognisance of the new station development, and the re-modelling of Cricklewood sidings, any work done at the current Cricklewood station would be potentially abortive cost.

The recommended option is to utilise Selective Door Opening [at the] station, configured to allow the maximum length of a 12-car train possible to stop at the existing platforms. Once the new 'Cricklewood' station becomes operational, a decision will have to be made as to the future of the current Cricklewood station."

The London Borough of Barnet and Hammerson have always vigorously denied the likelihood, or even the possibility, that the current Cricklewood station would close.

Until now:
“Concerns [were] raised at the Welsh Harp Joint Consultative Committee meeting of 21 March 2013 over the future of the Hendon Rail Station, as a result of new rail station proposals associated with the Brent Cross Cricklewood development.

I have had confirmation from [the LB of Barnet] Transport and Regeneration Manager who dealt with this aspect of the Brent Cross Cricklewood submission that whilst the future of Cricklewood Station could be in question as a result of the proposals, the approved scheme would not result in the closure of Hendon station."
Senior Planning Officer, Major Developments Environment, Planning and Regeneration, LB of Barnet
So it's progress - of sorts!


[Reposted] Hammerson insisted anyone wanting TRAMS at BRENT CROSS must sign agreement not to oppose its planning application. Despite Barnet's subsequent corrupt 2010 planning consent, the idea will not go away...

(Barnet and Hammerson have complained about height clearance and catenary obstructions over the years at Brent Cross, and never supported investigation of trams or light rail.)


"Railway Gazette: The 21 CAF Urbos 3 trams used on the Midland Metro light rail line are to be retrofitted with batteries to enable catenary-free operation, West Midlands transport agency Centro announced on February 12, and four more trams have been ordered which will be supplied with batteries already fitted.

"This will allow catenary-free running on four planned extensions:
  • Birmingham New Street station –Centenary Square extension scheduled to open in 2019, running through the architecturally sensitive Victoria Square with the 182-year-old Town Hall;
  • Edgbaston extension from Centenary Square, through Brindleyplace and the underpass at Five Ways;
  • Eastside extension between Moor Street Queensway and Digbeth High Street, where battery operation would avoid the need to lower the existing road under the West Coast Main Line and reduce the headroom required under the proposed HS2 station at Curzon Street;
  • Wolverhampton city centre extension between the bus and railway station tram stops.
"West Midlands Integrated Transport Authority Chairman Councillor John McNicholas said catenary-free operation had been envisaged when the CAF trams were ordered in 2012, and the contract included provision for retrofitting. Urbos trams fitted with supercapacitors are used in Zaragoza and Sevilla, however, this technology was felt to be unsuitable for the steep hill in Birmingham’s Pinfold Street, while battery technology was not sufficiently developed when the order was placed.

"Negotiations are now underway with battery suppliers. The cost has not been finalised, but the Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership will contribute £3·15m and industry association UKTram £1m. The batteries will be fitted on the tram roof and will be recharged from the overhead lines along other parts of the route. They are expected to require replacement at approximately seven-year intervals."






Link to Transport page.

Tue 21 Feb: The London Plan: Affordable Housing and Viability





2017-01-24

Internet Retailing: "Evidence points to a click and collect Christmas"


Click and collect the web site

"There's mounting evidence that the popularity of click and collect grew strongly in the run-up to Christmas.

"John Lewis has said that 52% of online orders were picked up via click and collect this Christmas, with use of the delivery method up by 14.5% compared to last year.

"... CollectPlus said today that it had handled 25% more parcels for 26% more customers between October and December 2016 than it did in the same period in the previous year. Volumes in November alone were up by 29%, while December was ahead by 25%. That, it said, meant that click and collect was growing in popularity faster than the online shopping sector, which the British Retail Consortium put at 10.9% in November and 7.2% in December. [That's enough percentages. Ed.]

"It enabled pureplays such as Very and Asos to offer next-day delivery to a local convenience store in the CollectPlus network up to December 23. The last parcel was collected at 11.19pm on December 24 in the West Midlands. It says that customers preferred to pick up near to where they were shopping in-store, rather than wait in for deliveries. Its shopping centre collection points, which include Trinity Leeds and Brent Cross, outperformed many traditional locations for the first time."