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


Of Relevance to Brent Cross Cricklewood CPOs: "The decision to block the CPOs on the Aylesbury Estate is good news, but why was it taken?"

Link to 'The Speculation Game'

"Sajid Javid recently made the shock decision to overturn Southwark council's attempt to buy out the last remaining leaseholders in order to begin demolishing the Aylesbury Estate in south London. A shock both because it came from Javid himself (a former investment banker at Deutsche Bank not typically associated as a saviour of social housing) and because it was made on the grounds of 'human rights' despite the wealth of available historical examples where such rights were seemingly of secondary importance.

"Used by Tony Blair as the location for his first speech as Prime Minister and by Channel 4 to depict a damp, dreary scene of satellite dishes and washing lines, the estate has arguably the most turbulent past of any in the UK, pummelled by years of neglect and contempt. The design of the estate has well-known architectural shortcomings, both in the inadequate lifespan of the construction method used and the sheer scale of its resolution. However the issues of estate management, affordability and rehousing of existing tenants go well beyond the discourse of design.

"The question remains as to why this decision was made at all. Is it part of a wider message projected by the new government's initial promises of fighting inequality and social injustice? Is it an attempt to declare allegiance to leaseholders as opposed to social renters? Or, more optimistically, is it the beginning of a fresh view on problematic viability calculations on soon to be developed estates?"


Until 7 Nov: "Railway Terraces, Cricklewood Conservation Area Character Appraisal and Management Proposals Public Consultation"

Link to web site

"The Railway Terraces, Cricklewood Conservation Area is situated within Cricklewood in the south-western corner of the borough and lies within the Childs Hill Ward.

"Childs Hill is the twelfth largest of Barnet’s wards with an area of 3.1 square kilometres. With 19,460 residents in 2012, Childs Hill is the most populous ward in Barnet. The Railway Terraces sit between Cricklewood Broadway to the south-west, the Jewson depot to the east and the Cricklewood Curve line to Acton in the north. The railway acts as a barrier to through‑traffic on two sides of the conservation area whilst a children's playground and timber yard abut the south-eastern side. The Cricklewood Broadway forms a further distinct edge to the Conservation Area along its western side and forms the boundary with the London Borough of Brent.

"Barnet Council have produced a Draft Conservation Area Character Appraisal, including Management Proposals and Townscape Appraisal map, for the Railway Terraces, Cricklewood Conservation Area. The Draft Conservation Area Character Appraisal includes a description of the conservation area’s historical development, an assessment of the characteristics which make it special, and details of its buildings and open spaces."

Why We Are Consulting

"The Character Appraisal will provide an up-to-date and detailed framework for making planning decisions in the Railway Terraces Conservation Area and for future policies and practices to preserve and enhance the area. The production of the Character Appraisal is the result of the statutory obligation that Barnet Council has with regard to the preservation and enhancement of the conservation area.

"We would like to hear the views of residents and interested parties on the draft Character Appraisal and Management Proposals."

Daily Telegraph: "Infrastructure lies at heart of the UK’s ambition to expand beyond Europe"

Link to web site

"Infrastructure ignites passionate debates. Politicians in particular often use it as part of utopian rhetoric about building a brighter future. The reality of flagship infrastructure projects, however, is often very different, as long-mooted projects descend into a farrago of criticism and delays.

  This has been exacerbated by the Brexit vote, which has led some to question whether the UK remains 'open for business' with a long-term industrial strategy which will attract foreign direct investment, and drive economic growth.

"... Planning is not an EU competence, but EU legislation on sustainability and environmental issues impacts the UK planning process.  In the event of a hard Brexit, the Government could forgo UK implementing legislation in these areas, but any changes would need to take into account that public participation in environmental decision-making and access to environmental information are broader obligations which the UK has signed up to under international conventions such as the Aarhus Convention*."

* "The Aarhus Convention grants the public rights regarding access to information, public participation and access to justice, in governmental decision-making processes on matters concerning the local, national and transboundary environment. It focuses on interactions between the public and public authorities."


(and totally ignored by London Borough of Barnet regarding Brent Cross Cricklewood for the last 15 years!)

[Reposted from Mar 2013] Boris ("Brent Cross has a lot of promise" and "Brent Cross is dead in the water") Johnson


"Buy land, they're not making it anymore" (Mark Twain): Commentaries by Winston Churchill and George Orwell

In a speech in Edinburgh on July 17, 1909, Winston Churchill offered the following observations about taxation and the unique qualities of rent as the source of funds to pay for public services:
"It is quite true that the land monopoly is not the only monopoly which exists, but it is by far the greatest of monopolies…It is a perpetual monopoly, and it is the mother of all other forms of monopoly.

"It is quite true that unearned increments in the land are not the only form of unearned or undeserved profit which individuals are able to secure; but it is the principal form of unearned increment which is derived from processes which are not merely not beneficial but which are positively detrimental to the general public.

"Land, which is a necessity of human existence, which is the original source of all wealth, which is strictly limited in extent, which is fixed in geographical position – land, I say, differs from all other forms of property in these primary and fundamental conditions. Nothing is more amusing than to watch the efforts of our monopolistic opponents to prove that other forms of property and increment are exactly the same, and are similar in all respects to the unearned increment in land. They talk to us of the increased profits of a doctor or a lawyer from the growth of population in the towns in which they live. They talk to us of the profits of a railway through a greater degree of wealth and activity in the districts through which it runs. They tell us of the profits which are derived from a rise in stocks and shares, and even of those which are sometimes derived from the sale of pictures and works of art, and they ask us – as if it were the only complaint – ‘ought not all these other forms to be taxed too?’

"But see how misleading and false all these analogies are. The windfalls which people with artistic gifts are able from time to time to derive from the sale of a picture – from a Vandyke or a Holbein – may here and there be very considerable. But pictures do not get in anybody’s way. They do not lay a toll on anybody’s labour; they do not touch enterprise and production at any point; they do not affect any of those creative processes upon which the material well-being of millions depends; and if a rise in stocks and shares confers profits on the fortunate holders far beyond what they expected, or indeed deserved, nevertheless that profit has not been reaped by withholding from the community the land which it needs, but, on the contrary, apart from mere gambling, it has been reaped by supplying industry with the capital without which it could not be carried on. If the railway makes greater profits, it is usually because it carries more goods and more passengers. If a doctor or a lawyer enjoys a better practice, it is because the doctor attends more patients and more exacting patients, and because the lawyer pleads more suits in the courts and more important suits. At every stage the doctor or the lawyer is giving service in return for his fees, and if the service is too poor or the fees are too high, other doctors and other lawyers can come freely into competition. There is constant service, there is constant competition; there is no monopoly, there is no injury to the public interest, there is no impediment to the general progress.

"Fancy comparing these healthy processes with the enrichment which comes to the landlord who happens to own a plot of land on the outskirts or at the centre of one of our great cities, who watches the busy population around him making the city larger, richer, more convenient, more famous every day, and all the while sits still and does nothing. Roads are made, streets are made, railway services are improved, electric light turns night into day, electric trams glide swiftly to and fro, water is brought from reservoirs a hundred miles off in the mountains – and all the while the landlord sits still. Every one of these improvements is effected by the labour and at the cost of other people. Many of the most important are effected at the cost of the municipality and of the ratepayers. To not one of those improvements does the land monopolist as a land monopolist contribute, and yet by every one of them the value of his land is sensibly enhanced. He renders no service to the community, he contributes nothing to the general welfare; he contributes nothing even to the process from which his own enrichment is derived."
Source: The Budget League (1909), The Budget The Land and The People, London: Methuen, pp. 21-23.

TRIBUNE NEWSPAPER, August 18, 1944
"Apropos of my remarks on the railings round London squares, a correspondent writes: 'Are the squares to which you refer public or private properties? If private, I suggest that your comments in plain language advocate nothing less than theft and should be classed as such.'

"If giving the land of England back to the people of England is theft, I am quite happy to call it theft. In his zeal to defend private property, my correspondent does not stop to consider how the so-called owners of the land got hold of it. They simply seized it by force, afterwards hiring lawyers to provide them with title-deeds. In the case of the enclosure of the common lands, which was going on from about 1600 to 1850, the land-grabbers did not even have the excuse of being foreign conquerors; they were quite frankly taking the heritage of their own countrymen, upon no sort of pretext except that they had the power to do so.

"Except for the few surviving commons, the high roads, the lands of the National Trust, a certain number of parks, and the sea shore below high-tide mark, every square inch of England is ‘owned’ by a few thousand families. These people are just about as useful as so many tapeworms. It is desirable that people should own their own dwelling houses, and it is probably desirable that a farmer should own as much land as he can actually farm. But the ground-landlord in a town area has no function and no excuse for existence. He is merely a person who has found out a way of milking the public while giving nothing in return. He causes rents to be higher, he makes town planning more difficult, and he excludes children from green spaces: that is literally all that he does, except to draw his in-come. The removal of the railings in the squares was a first step against him. It was a very small step, and yet an appreciable one, as the present move to restore the railings shows. For three years or so the squares lay open, and their sacred turf was trodden by the feet of working-class children, a sight to make dividend-drawers gnash their false teeth. If that is theft, all I can say is, so much the better for theft."

The Guardian: "London housing: improving the theory and practice of densifying estates"

"Arguments for more measured and harmonious approaches to redeveloping the capital’s council estates may be gathering strength"

Link to web site

"The recent decision by communities secretary Sajid Javid to block Southwark Council's compulsory purchase (CPO) of part of the huge Aylesbury estate in order to completely redevelop it addressed one of the keenest grievances that arise from such 'regeneration' schemes.

In accepting a public inquiry inspector's recommendation not to confirm the CPO, Javid gave particular weight to the interests of resident leaseholders on the estate. A group of them argued that they have been offered far too little financial compensation for having their homes knocked down – nothing like enough to buy a comparable property in the same area, meaning they’d have to move far from their home neighbourhood to somewhere much cheaper and maybe out of London altogether if they want to remain homeowners.

"... London has a chronic housing shortage, especially of the types of homes Londoners on low and middle incomes can afford. It has been argued that a grand scale expunging of estates and their replacement by new 'city villages' on borough-owned public land would enable a transformative net increase in the number of London homes, with no loss of social rented stock, along with wider neighbourhood improvements. But such a radical approach could cause many more problems than it solved. And do its numbers add up in the first place?"

Link to web site

"A new 'right to a community'? Decision by the Secretary of State not to confirm the CPO for Aylesbury Estate"
"On 16 September 2016, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid, decided not to confirm Southwark Council's compulsory purchase order (CPO) for an area of the Aylesbury Estate.  This is an unexpected decision by Sajid Javid and has been described as "bizarre" by Southwark Council.  There are reports in the press that the Council intends to challenge the decision in the High Court, because they say it jeopardises the entire housing-led regeneration of the Aylesbury Estate.

Javid's decision agreed with the Inspector's recommendation following a CPO inquiry in October 2015.  The CPO would have facilitated the redevelopment of the third parcel of land on the Aylesbury Estate, including demolishing the existing residential units and providing mixed tenure residential development and associated landscaping.

The decision not to confirm the CPO gives more weight to human rights and community issues than we have seen in previous decisions on CPOs.  This effectively raises residents' expectations that they will be able to remain in their community, and the considerations outlined by Javid are now likely to be a significant factor in future CPOs.  The decision also demonstrates some of the tensions involved for the Government when they promise to prioritise housing and regeneration."


Hammerson & LB of Barnet - v - 'The Public': Lions lead by Donkeys

Daily Telegraph:
"Terry-Thomas, who died 25 years ago, was a man who makes today's rotters look an absolute shower"

Link to web site
"To British cinema-goers of the Fifities and Sixties, he was as instantly recognisable as Kenneth Williams or Sid James. That gap-toothed smile. That scruffy moustache, like a slug on the upper lip. Those inimitable catch-phrases. 'You're an absolute shower.' 'Jolly good show.' 'Hard cheese.' That indefinable air of untrustworthiness...

"... He looked impressive. How could you not trust a man who was so immaculately turned out, from the gleaming shoes to the carnation in the button-hole? But you counted the spoons when he was gone. He was in the great English tradition of the non-gentleman posing as gentleman and coming within a whisker of pulling it off.

"... In a golden age for rotters – sharp-elbowed types in dodgy blazers, driving flash cars they could not afford – he was the rotter's rotter. There were a lot of Terry-Thomases in the 1950s. They had not had good wars but, if they played their cards right, insisted on being calling Major, and wore a regimental tie at the golf club, they could enjoy a certain cachet. They could bluff for Britain. Terry-Thomas caught their affectations and insecurities to a T."

Link to The Guardian

"There are several metropolitan elites. But the same one still pulls the strings"

"... Shortly before he died in 1994, the American historian and moralist Christopher Lasch wrote an eloquent charge sheet against similar targets in his posthumously published book The Revolt of the Elites. He mainly described the United States, but his analysis illuminates many other parts of the world (including the land of Brexit) as well.

"What went wrong? Lasch: 'The general course of recent history no longer favours the levelling of social distinctions but runs more and more in the direction of a two-class society.' What he called the 'democratisation of abundance' – the expectation that each generation would be better off than its predecessor – was giving way to a society of rising inequalities.

How did this happen? When the idea that the masses were riding the wave of history faded away. The radical movements of the 20th century have failed, and the industrial working class, once the mainstay of the socialist movement, has been weakened to the point where, in some of its former strongholds, it barely exists anymore.

Who are the elites? 'Those who control the international flow of money and information, preside over philanthropic foundations and institutions of higher learning, manage the instruments of cultural production and thus set the terms of public debate.'

"A Marxist could have written those last words; the Daily Mail, in its anti-Philip ('Sir Shifty') Green and anti-metropolitan moments, could almost have written it."

Evening Standard: "£4.5bn Brent Cross revamp is set to shrink"

Link to web site

"The Mayor is considering whether to 'de-couple' the plans to revamp Britain's oldest mall from the wider 20-year regeneration of Cricklewood.

"The £4.5 billion plan gained outline planning permission in 2010 and would have involved building 7,500 homes, rebuilding three schools and moving Cricklewood station closer to Brent Cross. Developers claimed it would create 27,000 jobs as part of a £1 billion package of community benefits.

"But [he] has been warned that the current shortage of development finance would make it impossible to get it off the ground. He has now agreed to investigate whether shopping centre owners Hammerson Plc and Standard Life Investments can defer their wider community regeneration pledges or submit a new planning application simply to improve the retail outlets."

Dead in the Water:
No, not Brent Cross Cricklewood -
Brian Coleman's political career


The Guardian: "Sophisticated machines are fast outpacing jobs. What does this mean for the future of work? And if there are no jobs, what we will do with our time?"

Link to web site

"There's no question that technology is drastically changing the way we work, but what will the job market look like by 2050? Will 40% of roles have been lost to automation – as predicted by Oxford university economists Dr Carl Frey and Dr Michael Osborne – or will there still be jobs even if the nature of work is exceptionally different from today?

"To address these issues, the Guardian hosted a roundtable discussion, in association with professional services firm Deloitte, which brought together academics, authors and IT business experts.

"... The problem with needing highly specialised roles is that it will isolate parts of the population who are unable to continuously adapt and retrain. 'We can't all be knowledge workers,' says Dan Collier, chief executive of Elevate. 'So there will be a lot of unemployment – and perhaps no impetus to help these people. There will end up being a division between the few jobs that need humans, and those that can be automated'."


Barnet Eye: "Brent Cross Redevelopment - Barnet Council exposed for having no plans for future transport improvements"

Link to web site

"As with many things in Barnet Council, the devil is in the detail. You have to read reports and responses very carefully to get to the bottom of what the council are planning and how they view the future of our Borough and our environment.

"At present there is a plan for an absolutely humungous development in Brent Cross. This will see a massive increase in density of housing on the site. It will see more shops and more traffic. As with all developments, these create problems, but they also present opportunities. Developers can be compelled to improve transport as part of any plan and a massive plan such as Brent Cross there is the chance for a big improvement through Section 105 payment.

"Anyone who has the misfortune to travel by car near Brent Cross on the A41 or the A406 at rush hour near Brent Cross will attest to just how congested this is. Local residents and campaigners have long been suggesting that Barnet and Brent Cross and would benefit greatly from a light rail system. There have been many proposals, not least The Brent Cross Light rail scheme. There have been other proposals for more modest rapid transport schemes, linking the shopping centre with the Tube and BR stations. Sadly the council doesn't seem interested. This was raised at a recent council meeting by Labour Member Geof Cooke."


[Reposted] Hammerson's Brent Cross Lies, Er, Lives

2006: Brent Cross High Street
- mixed use, interesting street-scene!

2016 Brent Cross High Street

The Guardian: "I found utopia – it was in my mind." (Not in Argent's King's Cross development then.)

"We thought the perfect future would be automation and endless leisure. In truth, it was always less tangible"

Link to web site

"Thinking back to the way we imagined our future in the 1960s, the striking thing is the small part money played in our utopias. Once nuclear war had been ruled out as a possibility, the big challenge that remained was what our teachers and essay questions called “the problem of leisure”. We would have lots of it. Automation would bring shorter working days without cutting wages. The zero-hours contract was unimaginable then, at least as part of the world to come rather than the dark past of Tolpuddle and Speenhamland.

"In future everyone would work in spotless white factories and offices – by housing its winding gear in glass and concrete, even a coalmine could be included in this bright picture – and knock off early to go home to leafy crescents in new towns. How would they fill their hours? In the fifth form, we wrote solemnly about making music, playing sport, reading books and painting. We didn’t mention drinking, or much consumption of any other kind. Our utopia was orderly, well-behaved, and remarkably free of material appetites.

"Last Sunday I thought I’d found it. In the late afternoon under a deep blue sky (the kind all utopias require), a couple of us walked around the new development at King’s Cross, where 67 acres of disused railway sidings, gasworks, warehouses and wharfs have been transformed into one of the capital's most-fashionable districts. Our walk took us through quiet streets of Georgian houses and an old municipal estate where every pub had closed down, until we reached Regent’s canal and struck west along the towpath."


Daily Telegraph: "We must let Theresa May build more houses – or the rage of the renters could tear Britain apart"

Link to web suite

"... Britain must learn to love a new, civilised version of urban sprawl. In return, the government must promise that the new homes will be very different to what has come before: the priority must be sustainable communities, with great design and new infrastructure. More homes must no longer mean hopelessly congested roads and GP waiting-lists for existing residents: a new system of allocating public spending according to population growth needs to be put in place.

"The other non-negotiable is that the public must be given the sort of housing that it actually wants, where it wants it. There is room for more skyscrapers in city centres, certainly, and for some densification in suburbia. Plenty of people, including older downsizers, want to live in flats. But as Nicholas Boys Smith, boss of Create Streets, has pointed out, most people dream of living in houses with their own front doors and back gardens.

"In the most recent national survey, 80 per cent wanted to live in a house, 6 per cent in a flat in a small mansion block and just 3 per cent in a large block. Even in London, many people want a much more diverse mix of new homes, with terraced houses most popular. There should be plenty of freehold options, not just leaseholds with expensive service charges."

Evening Standard: "The Shard architect Renzo Piano calls for London landmarks to be built in suburbs"

Link to web site

"The architect behind London's tallest skyscraper has called for the capital’s future landmarks to be built in its unfashionable suburbs.

"Renzo Piano, who designed The Shard and is working on a new development at Paddington station, demanded a fundamental rethink of the leafy areas John Betjeman called 'Metroland'.

"He said London's future success depended on 'fertilising' areas outside zone two with great public architecture and building denser housing, echoing similar sentiments from Prince Charles.


The Washington Post: "The White House takes on off-street parking"

Link to web site

"In a policy paper released Monday, the White House has taken a side, coming down against rules across the nation that require developers to build parking spots.

" 'We want new development to replace vacant lots and rundown zombie properties, we want our children to be able to afford their first home, we want hard-working families to be able to take the next job on their ladder of opportunity, and we want our community to be part of the solution in reducing income inequality,' it states.

"... 'Particularly in cities where alternatives to driving exist, on-site parking is a build-it-and-they-will-come phenomenon,' city planner Jeff Speck later wrote. 'If a building has parking spaces, people show up with cars. If it doesn't, people show up without them'."

The Guardian: "For many, home ownership will always be out of reach. To ignore them would go against my belief in 'one nation' Conservatism"

The web site is through the square window

"[As a Conservative MP,] I am proud to be part of a government that describes itself as one nation. To me, this label is not about trying to please everybody, or even the somewhat patrician 'wet' Toryism of the past. Rather, it is a sincere attempt to govern with a profound sense of the national interest, with particular regard to those who may not naturally vote for us – whether the policies necessary to secure that support are popular, or the tough but necessary decisions generally required.

"In that case, what is a one nation housing policy? In my view, it must be one that includes not just those who own a home or aspire to do so, but those who currently rent and are likely to continue to do so for many years to come.

"... what we need is a housing policy reset, and the signs are that we are going to get one. My colleague Gavin Barwell, our new housing minister, used a speech earlier this month to confirm that the government will no longer focus on 'one single tenure'. This is very encouraging, and I'm sure a keyword we will soon be hearing a lot of is 'flexibility'."

April 2016:

Link to web site
"More rent than pay a mortgage: the Tory dream for London has crashed and burned"
"Politics often lags behind reality. But when the two get too badly out of sync, what’s produced is disaster. For proof, look at the catastrophe that is housing in London. We are in the final straight of the capital's mayoral race. An odd, ugly and racist contest, it is also a remarkable one – perhaps the first housing election ever held in postwar Britain. Housing is the thing that Zac Goldsmith, Sadiq Khan and the rest of the candidates bang on about the most – rightly so, as it's the biggest topic for voters. Yet the terms used by politicians are as inadequate as the policies they devise.

"... The idea that Generation Rent is the one with the problem is for the birds: London is becoming a city of renters. Nor is that trend likely to reverse. The consultancy PricewaterhouseCoopers predicts that, in less than 10 years, 60% of the capital will be renting from a private landlord or a housing association.

"Let that point sink in, because only then do you grasp how much it changes politics in London. Britain's political economy remains shaped by Margaret Thatcher's desire to create a property-owning democracy: one in which Britons held shares in the privatised utilities and building societies and owned their own homes."

Brent & Kilburn Times: "Cricklewood Station wins silver rail award for town team transformation"

Link to web site

"Cricklewood station, which is managed by Thameslink, has won a silver award in the 'It’s Your Station' category at the Association of Community Rail (ACORP) Awards.

Cricklewood Town Team, a group of 30-plus volunteers, developed the land surrounding the station into a beautiful green area, supported by new screening, photo collages and a new personalised clock. Their work also includes the installation of an artwork spelling out ‘Cricklewood’ made from reclaimed scaffolding boards.

Marie Hancock, one of the volunteers, said:
"It's wonderful that all the hard work and effort by the volunteers in Cricklewood, supported by James Gillett and his team at the station, has been recognised by this award."

Brent Cross South - carefully controlled consultation

Argent Related image
(No Cricklewood Lane green space?)


The Croydon Partnership

"Over the next few years, we, the Croydon Partnership, will transform Croydon's two main shopping centres Whitgift and Centrale into a world-class retail and leisure destination, which will help transform Croydon back into the best place to shop, work and live in South London.

"Whereas Hammerson alone is making a pig's ear of Brent Cross." [They didn't say that.]

Croydon fly through from Chris Howson on Vimeo.

[Reposted from Jan 2013] Hammerson nearly swallowed by Westfield: "Sign Joint Venture for £1-billion Croydon Town Centre Regeneration"

Link to Reuters

"Hammerson plc and Westfield today announced they have entered into a joint venture to redevelop the retail centre of Croydon. As part of the joint venture, Westfield has acquired a 50% interest in the £115 million Centrale shopping centre from Hammerson. The joint venture will also purchase a 25% interest in the Whitgift Centre, following completion of Hammerson's conditional acquisition agreement with Royal London.

[Previous Croydon plans of Hammerson and Westfield.]

"Under the new joint venture agreement, Westfield and Hammerson intend to redevelop and combine the two main Croydon shopping centres, the Whitgift Centre and Centrale, to deliver a comprehensive and transformational change to Croydon. The mixed use scheme of around 200,000 sqm  will include retail, leisure, residential with the potential for hotels and offices, and will create over 5,000 new jobs.

"Hammerson and Westfield will meet with all stakeholders over the coming weeks to discuss their plans for Croydon, following which a revised masterplan will be created combining the best elements of both schemes. It is anticipated that planning consent could be secured in 2013, with construction expected to start on site in 2015 for the c. £1bn scheme.

"Westfield and Hammerson have set up a joint management company which has responsibility for development, leasing and asset management of the completed scheme. The Partnership will engage Westfield to undertake the design and construction of the project. Hammerson will continue to asset manage Centrale and any further acquisitions prior to the development of the Whitgift Centre. A Westfield Executive will lead the project development team and it is intended that a Hammerson Executive will lead the asset management of the completed centre.

"Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, has welcomed the conclusion of the joint venture agreement between Westfield and Hammerson to bring forward the regeneration of the retail centre of Croydon, and will officially launch the new joint venture today at the Fairfield Halls in Croydon. He said:
"Croydon has huge potential to return to its former glory as one of London's most vibrant town centres, and a major driver of its economy. The redevelopment of the Whitgift Centre at its heart is crucial to this vision.

Westfield and Hammerson's innovative developments have breathed new life into long neglected corners of cities across the country, creating thousands of jobs and delivering growth that will soon be repeated in south London."

"David Atkins, Chief Executive of Hammerson, said:
"We have shown our commitment to Croydon through our existing investments in the town centre and I believe that by working together we can deliver a world class scheme for retailers and residents. Both we and Westfield remain excited and convinced by the opportunity in Croydon, which we can now progress with clarity,"

"Frank Lowy AC, Chairman of Westfield, said:
"The £1billion redevelopment joint venture with Hammerson will provide certainty for the residents, local businesses and retailers of Croydon and the region. The delivery of a major retail regeneration scheme will re-establish Croydon as South London's premier shopping district and will be a catalyst to further investment and development in the Croydon borough."

"Ian Harley, Chairman of The Whitgift Foundation, said:
"As the freeholder of the Whitgift Centre, the Foundation is delighted that there is now alignment between the key commercial players in the town and we look forward to working together with all parties to find a way to bring forward this much needed regeneration."

"A press conference attended by the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson and the Chairmen of Westfield and Hammerson is being held at Fairfield Halls, Park Lane, Croydon this morning." (Video)

BuroHappold Engineering: Brent Cross Thameslink station

Architects 4 Social Housing: "Reflections on the Outcome of the Public Inquiry into the Aylesbury Estate Compulsory Purchase Order"

Link to web site

"... Architects Levitt Bernstein subsequently declined an invitation to give evidence at the Public Inquiry into the Aylesbury Estate CPO – I assume because of their professional relationship with Southwark Council. Following their design and costing comparison for the south-west corner of the Aylesbury Estate, the Council employed them for its demolition and redevelopment, a project that was completed in 2012, three years before the Inquiry.

"It is understandable that architects need to make a living, so perhaps this is where academics can come in to help with this research. I’d like to see us working together more to access key information to inform decisions around estate regeneration that are more just. Because of the invaluable design service that architects provide for their clients – councils, housing associations and property developers – they are in a strong position to help these clients choose options for housing that benefit existing residents. #

"It's not too late to return and re-examine the proposals drawn up by Levitt Bernstein Architects, which provide options that, unlike Southwark Council’s current plans, would not result in residents of the Aylesbury Estate losing their homes."

Daily Telegraph: "The era of robots: thousands of builders to lose jobs as machines take over, says construction boss"

Link to web site

"Skyscrapers in the City of London could soon be built by robots rather than by people, according to Alison Carnwath, chairman [sic] of Land Securities, the £8.2bn FTSE 100 construction company.

"The result would be huge productivity gains as more work could be done by fewer people – but also mass layoffs as traditionally labour-intensive construction projects hire fewer and fewer staff.

"... 'Five years ago I’d have smiled wryly if somebody had said to me that robots would be able to put up buildings in the City of London – I tell you we’re not that far off, and that has huge implications,' she said."


[Updated from Dec 2010; reposted from Dec 2013] Reminder of Brent Terrace Residents - "Barnet Council ignores us"

Verbal submission by ALISTAIR LAMBERT (BRENT TERRACE RESIDENTS ASSOCIATION) to Barnet Planning Committee last November:

These triangles wouldn't get built on in Hampstead or Totteridge, would they?
"Brent Terrace is a row of 105 railway cottages sandwiched in the middle of the development. I am here to state that the developers have not proved that the scheme is of sufficient quality to be approved. To do so, I will outline one specific local issue to illustrate our wider concerns.

As they say, “The devil is in the detail.”

Brent Terrace is not a damaged community. In fact, we are lucky enough to enjoy a real sense of community. Children play in our street, and also on two green spaces that adjoin it.


Transparency International UK: "'Secrecy' over public spending report says the 'unnecessary' denial of information could aid corruption." (Just fancy that.)

"Secrecy and lack of information about UK public spending is so great that in more than a third of cases, the ordinary taxpayer can’t even know who has been awarded a Government or local authority contract, a new report has found.

"Spending data was so heavily redacted, the campaign group Transparency International claimed, that in just one month a single London borough – Hackney – recorded £14 million of payments without revealing to the public who got the money.

"Nationally, the Counting the Pennies report said that at least 35 per cent – more than a third - of published local and central government tender data did not even show who was awarded the contract.

"... The result, said Duncan Hames, the director of Transparency International UK, was that people may be getting away with corruption in public office."

The Economist
The biggest loophole of all
Having launched and led the battle against
offshore tax evasion,
America is now part of the problem

The Guardian: "Our immoral housing policy is set up to punish the poor"

"Because councils see poverty as a failing, and don't give second chances, people are losing their homes"

Link to web site

"Fighting back her tears, Gunita speaks into the telephone in Brent council's customer service centre. 'I’m sorry, I made a mistake. I was confused. I didn’t understand it was the only offer. Please, I’ll take the one-bedroom flat now,' she tells the housing officer on the other end of the line.

" 'It doesn’t matter now. You turned down a reasonable offer so I’m afraid we have no further duty towards you.'

"As an anthropologist documenting the experiences of low-income tenants as they attempt to navigate London’s continuing housing crisis, I have become all too familiar with exchanges such as this. A record number of evictions is leaving increasing numbers at the mercy of local authorities. In cases like that of Gunita, where the applicant has turned down a property, councils can discharge their duty on the grounds that a 'reasonable offer' has been made. In other instances, an individual may not even get as far as making a homelessness application: councils have become adept at discouraging them, a practice known as 'gatekeeping'."


LB of Barnet: Transport Strategy up to 2035 (believe it or not)

(From the minutes of the meeting)

The Commissioning Director for Environment introduced the item and the intentions of the report. Following the consideration of the item the Committee:

Resolved to:

  • That the Environment Committee instruct the Commissioning Director for Environment to develop an overarching long-term Transport Strategy for the London Borough of Barnet
  • That the Environment Committee agreed the period of the strategy to 2035
  • That the Environment Committee noted the scope of the strategy which was outlined within the report
  • That the Environment Committee approved the formation the project board and an Elected Members cross party group.
The recommendations were unanimously agreed.

Link to Barnet Times

Leadership on Transport and Environmental Matters in LB of Barnet

"After Brian Coleman was ousted from his role as Totteridge councillor on Barnet Borough Council, the Times Series takes a look back at some of his most controversial moments."

"Formerly a Totteridge councillor, he received 265 votes in the May 2014 election – which those present at the count pointed out was fewer than the number of his Twitter followers.

"... In May 2012, he was sacked from Barnet Council's cabinet at a Conservative Party meeting and removed from his post as cabinet member for environment after voters deserted the politician at the polls in the GLA elections.

"When he was later booted out of his role as the chairman of the London Fire Authority, firefighters said they were 'pleased to see the back of him'.

"Months later, he sparked more outrage by describing people in the public gallery at a council meeting as 'the sad, the mad and a couple of hags'.

"The former GLA member was also hauled in front of the council’s standards committee following complaints about offensive e-mails."

Ham & High:

Video: Disgraced politician Brian Coleman urged to resign over assault of mum-of-two