.

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

2015-04-25

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


Link to Sunday Telegraph

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

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

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


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

Link to The Observer

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

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

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



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



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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

2015-04-22

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


Link to web site

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

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

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

2015-04-21

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


Link to web site

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

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

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

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



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


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

Link to web site

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

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

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

2015-04-18

[Reposted] Brent Cross Election Roundup


Link to Barnet Times

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




Mon 20 April:
Sarah Sackman Brent Cross meeting:





Other political parties are available.

2015-04-16

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


Link to web site

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

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

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

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



Link to Barnet Times

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

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

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

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

The sustainability of the scheme is second to none."

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


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

Link to web site

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

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

2015-04-14

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


Link to web site

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

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

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

BBC: "A history of social housing"


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-14380936
Link to web site

"From Lloyd George's promise of "homes fit for heroes" to Margaret Thatcher's dream of a property-owning democracy, housing has been at the centre of British politics for more than a century. Key pledges ahead of the 2015 general election show it's rarely mattered more. Here is why.

"Labour voters lived in council houses. Tories owned their own homes.

"That's the way it had always been.

"Yet for a young Labour MP, out canvassing in his constituency in the early 1980s, it still came as a shock to be told, by an old party stalwart, that there was no point knocking on doors on a private housing estate, as they all voted Tory.

"To Tony Blair, it was a sign of just how out of touch his party had become with ordinary working people."

The Guardian: "Poll puts Labour ahead in Margaret Thatcher's former stronghold"



"The Conservatives regained symbolic, suburban Finchley and Golders Green in 2010, and a Labour victory there would be a huge one"

Link to web site

"A new poll by Lord Ashcroft of marginal parliamentary seats has put Labour ahead of the Conservatives in one of its most challenging and symbolic London targets, suburban Finchley and Golders Green in the north-western Tory-run borough of Barnet, which it lost by some distance in 2010 having held it since its creation in 1997. Ashcroft has Labour two points in front of the Tories in the area Margaret Thatcher represented for 33 years.

"This is the latest poll suggesting Labour is on course to make big gains in the capital. With national surveys stubbornly indicating a neck-and-neck finish between Ed Miliband and David Cameron in the race for Number 10, here in the Big Smoke Labour has been given recent leads of 11 and 14 percent by YouGov and ComRes respectively. Last week, Ashcroft found Labour to be leading in another of its London targets, Harrow East where a 3.5% swing is required to unseat the Tory incumbent Bob Blackman.

"In Finchley and Golders Green, Labour’s Sarah Sackman needs a swing of no less than 6.2% to oust former Barnet council leader Mike Freer. The Ashcroft snapshot gives her 7%. The seat is tenth on Labour’s London hit list. It would be a huge victory."

2015-04-11

The Guardian: "Buy-to-let landlords earn returns of up to 1,400% since 1996"


"Revelation draws criticism from campaigners as report shows young people faced with rocketing house prices are giving up on owning a home"

Link to web site

"Buy-to-let landlords have hit the investment jackpot by earning returns of almost 1,400% since 1996, leaving the performance of shares, bonds and cash trailing in the wake of Britain’s property boom.

"The revelation drew criticism from housing campaigners, coming in the same week that a major report claimed rocketing house prices and years of stagnant wage growth have prompted a growing number of younger people to give up the idea of ever owning their own home.

"On average, £1,000 invested in a buy-to-let asset in the final quarter of 1996 was worth £14,987 by the end of last year, according to analysis by economists at the Wriglesworth Consultancy for lender Landbay, published on Saturday. This was more than four times than the equivalent investment in commercial property, UK government bonds or shares and seven times the return on cash."

2015-04-10

Barnet Times: "Mayor of London Boris Johnson hits the campaign trail with Conservative candidate for Finchley and Golders Green Mike Freer"


http://www.times-series.co.uk/news/12877804.Boris_Johnson_hits_the_campaign_trail_in_Golders_Green/
Link to web site

"Mayor of London Boris Johnson spoke about bus service cuts and the need for more new housing during a visit to Golders Green.

"The Mayor called into shops and cafes along Golders Green Road during a visit to support Finchley and Golders Green Conservative candidate Mike Freer today.

"... Asked if any existing train stations were under threat of closure due to the Brent Cross Cricklewood development - after Chancellor George Osborne announced funding for a new station last month – he said: 'None as far as I know.'

Mike Freer said: 'The last I heard, they want to keep both stations open because they serve different communities. The new station will have a fast link to Farringdon.'

2015-04-08

The Guardian: "Can the world economy survive without fossil fuels?"


"The past three centuries of progress have been powered by coal, oil and gas. Burning much of what’s left will lead to environmental and economic catastrophe. Here’s how to save the earth without giving up on growth"


"Here is a warning:
"For generations, we have assumed that the efforts of mankind would leave the fundamental equilibrium of the world’s systems and atmosphere stable. But it is possible that with all these enormous changes – population, agricultural, use of fossil fuels – concentrated into such a short period of time, we have unwittingly begun a massive experiment with the system of this planet itself."
That was Margaret Thatcher, in a speech to Britain’s scientific elite in 1988. Thatcher was no climate change denier. She told the Royal Society that her government supported the idea of sustainable economic development, and concluded:
"Stable prosperity can be achieved throughout the world, provided the environment is nurtured and safeguarded. Protecting this balance of nature is therefore one of the great challenges of the late 20th century."
"... Slowly, those in power are beginning to understand what is at stake: that if we carry on growing the global economy at its current rate, and continue to rely on fossil fuels to power that growth, the planet is going to cook. Not everybody buys into this narrative, of course. One of the challenges faced by those who wish to curtail fossil fuel use is that there is no political consensus on tackling climate change. The business-as-usual camp says that the scientific consensus is wrong about climate change, or that climate scientists have exaggerated the risks, which can be tackled if and when they become apparent.

"... The risk is now out there – and growing – because policymakers have now woken up to the risks of climate change. Michael Jacobs, who used to advise Gordon Brown on the issue, says:
"There have been two terrible realisations. We have started too late, and it doesn’t matter how much solar and wind power there is – you are still burning all the coal, oil and gas. Even if you do so more slowly, it will still go into the atmosphere and cause climate change."
"Jacobs adds that, in the past quarter of a century, when countries could have been putting in place the infrastructure for a new green economy, they have been going in the opposite direction. They have invested in fossil fuel-burning power plants and built energy‑inefficient buildings in cities designed for cars."

2015-04-02

BBC: "Can the world get richer for ever?"


Link to web site

"Since the dawn of the industrial age, the world has been steadily getting wealthier, despite setbacks such as the Great Depression and the more recent global financial crisis. We make more, sell more and consume more than ever before.

"Yet, according to the United Nations, nearly three billion people still live on less than $2.50 (£1.70) per day.

"So, how can we raise living standards for those who still live in poverty? The answer, according to most governments, is rapid economic growth.

"Growth is seen as a panacea for a great many ills. It creates jobs, erodes debts and raises living standards. For politicians, it also generates votes. It is almost universally seen as a Good Thing."


Barnet Eye: "The future for the [ahem,...] Brent Cross Light Rail Scheme?"


Vroom to the web site

"The Barnet Eye was fascinated to receive a call [not from us!] discussing the potential for a brand new light rail system for the London Borough of Barnet. One of the biggest criticisms of the Brent Cross scheme is the fact that it will bring traffic chaos to the whole of North West London. The scheme envisages 27,000 new jobs at Brent Cross, even without the millions of new customers the scheme would deliver.

"The sad thing about this is that it would be relatively cheap and easy to address these issues, but there is no political will to do so. In the Borough there is a whole stack of abandoned and lightly used rail lines, that could easily be brought into use.

"Our preferred version of this scheme, links Finchley Central to the Midland Mainline at Pentavia retail Park. The line will have a spur north to Mill Hill Broadway and a spur south toward Hendon. This would require reopening the disused line between Mill Hill East and Saracens, then building a new spur to Pentavia Park and over the M1."

2015-04-01

Barnet Times: "Asphalt Appreciation Society launches bid to have North Circular Road granted listed status" (Will London Communications Agency get Hammerson and Argent to climb on board?)


Link to web site

"One of north London's most visited but least appreciated landmarks could benefit from the same degree of protection as Alexandra Palace or Tottenham’s clock tower.

The North London branch of the Asphalt Appreciation Society is calling for the A406 North Circular Road to be granted listed status by Historic England.]

"If the bid is successful, the road, which runs from Chiswick to the Woolwich Ferry, could not be demolished, altered or extended without permission.

"... The scheme could spell trouble for developers hoping to improve Brent Cross shopping centre, with road widening and junction alterations, as well as an ambitious 'living bridge' part of plans."













(cbrd images and links)









2015-03-30

The Guardian: "Housing: are we reaching a tipping point?"


Link to web site

"When does a personal problem become society’s problem? How many people have to be in a situation before it ceases to be a source of shame and starts to become a spur to action? What’s the tipping point? These questions are thrown up by a new Shelter report, 'The Flyers and the Triers'.

The phrasing is diplomatic. The 'flyers' are defined as having 'made minimal sacrifices to buy a home, having received substantial financial and emotional support from family'. 'Triers', meanwhile, 'struggled for longer to buy a home (if they got there at all). They had less help, and had to rely more on their own efforts.' You could just as well call them the Minted and the Screwed, or go traditional: the Haves and the Have-nots. It is to the credit of the charity how tactful it remains in the face of such blanket evidence of systemic failure."





2015-03-29

Daily Telegraph: Good News on House Prices


Link to web site

"House prices in Britain have risen by 11pc since the last general election, driven by runaway price growth in London, the South East and East Anglia.

"Homeowners in central London have watched the value of their property jump 40pc under the leadership of the Conservative party, while values in Greater London rose 25.2pc and property prices in the South East have shot up 16.8pc since May 2010.

"... London house prices were 1.7 times that of the UK average when David Cameron came to power, the gap has now risen to 2.1 times. The average London house price was £290,200 at the time of the last election - which will now buy a small 2-bed flat in Wembley.

"International demand from investors, the families of overseas students studying in the South East, companies relocating offices and employees to the capital and wealthy domestic buyers have flocked to central London in the last five years, conspiring to create a global city rather than a UK capital."

2015-03-28

The Guardian: "Will Self on the meaning of skyscrapers – from the Tower of Babel to the Shard "


"Skyscrapers are all too evidently phallic symbols, monuments to capitalism and icons of hubris. Yet Will Self can’t help but love them. He explores their significance – from JG Ballard to Mad Men, and from ... [Brent Cross] to Dubai"

Link to web site

"Corrupt developers and their senatorial shills mill around in the Promenade Room, in the 1974 film 'The Towering Inferno'; their celebratory party has been abandoned and now they must fight to gain access to the scenic lifts scooting down the glassy flanks of the world’s tallest skyscraper. With blue-collar probity etched into every angle of his face, Chief O’Halloran sneers, 'Architects!' To which smooth Doug Roberts can only rejoin, 'Yeah, it’s all our fault.'

"Over the next three decades, and now in the new century, the bonfire of the vanities has never wanted for more fuel; the raising of one actual skyscraper is effectively twinned with the destruction of its cinematic doppelganger. Ballard’s 1981 novel 'Hello America' features an expedition mounted from Europe in 2114 to visit the ecologically ravaged remains of the former superpower; and which rediscovers the skyscrapers of Manhattan sticking out – like the bones of a dinosaur – from 100ft-high sand dunes. But Ballard’s fervid skill in conjuring up the sensation of silica on silicate was about to be eclipsed; Hollywood imagineers have a rapacious appetite for displaying the deluging, flaming, death-raying, exploding and otherwise laying waste to the central business districts of American cities.

" 'The Towering Inferno' is filmed with only closeups, mid- and long-shots; with the advent of CGI, it becomes possible – at least in theory – for disbelief to remain suspended high above the skyscrapers, an all-seeing eye that contemplates The Day After Tomorrow for its entire nauseating duration. But by creating the super-viewer – taller, faster and stronger than a collapsing skyscraper – the imagineers have simply reconfigured the problem at a different scale; now we are too big to experience our cities' destruction feelingly, just as before we were too small to inhabit them empathetically."

2015-03-27

opendemocracy.net: "Localism: a case of old friends re-united?"


"Looking at a set of recent planning outcomes across England: it’s clear that the localism agenda hasn’t tipped the balance in favour of grassroots communities. The same old names keep cropping up."

Link to web site

"... Our old friends in LB Barnet are still at it. They and their development partners, Barratt Metropolitan, have served Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPOs) on the entire West Hendon community to make way for 2,000 new flats. Barratt Metropolitan and the council told a recent public inquiry that the orders were necessary, because it was 'unlikely' they could acquire the properties 'within a reasonable timescale' otherwise. They also claimed that the CPOs were 'in the public interest'. 

"The proposed clearances were 'critical' to West Hendon, as the area would 'benefit from additional spending power' from people moving into the new homes. Back in 2002, the council balloted residents on the scheme, and 75% were in favour. But a lot's changed since then.

"... Dan Knowles, a consultant speaking for local tenants, asked if a more recent ballot would have been similar to the one in 2002: he was concerned that that the council was using 15 year-old statistics to 'justify' current resident support. Knowles added:
"Considering the scheme contained a number of pledges no longer on offer, and approximately three times as many new build properties, would it be fair to suggest public opinion would not be in the council’s favour?"
"Martin Cowie, LB Barnet's assistant planning director, told the inquiry that the estate's current condition was 'not sustainable' into the long term. Some of the original promises made to the tenants have now been dropped – including rehousing everyone on the same site – due to the 'drastic and unforeseen economic downturn of the late 2000s'. But Mr Cowie insisted:
"Most of the pledges remain the same and will be met."
"(It should be noted that the council’s entire physical planning service has now been outsourced to Capita, giving rise to concerns about its commitment to defend resident interests against developers at inquiries such as this.)"

Sat 28 Mar: Our West Hendon - First Birthday



The Guardian: "Andrew Adonis and estate regeneration: some pros and cons"


"A leading Labour policy thinker has re-made the case for demolishing and rebuilding council-owned housing estates. But has he underplayed the drawbacks?"

Link to web site

"In general, people would prefer not to have their homes knocked down. You wouldn’t and neither would I. They would sooner not to be told to pack their bags and move out to make way for the wrecking ball, perhaps to some unfamiliar and quite distant neighbourhood where everyone’s a stranger. Often, they’d rather stay put even if their home is leaky, cold and overcrowded on a council estate that outsiders casually despise and they might not be all that keen on themselves.

"They might feel that way even if very sincere politicians have promised them a better, brand new replacement home in the same place as the one to be demolished, along with better streets, improved transport and new schools. The thing is, change can be a very risky thing. Who can be sure that it will turn out for the best?

"That is item number one on a long, forbidding list of problems with what is variously, sometimes euphemistically, called estate regeneration, rebuilding or renewal. This has now been reframed in the neat coinage of Labour policy thinker Andrew Adonis as the creation of 'city villages'.

"Adonis, a senior policy chief and minister under prime ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, has co-edited a collection of essays on the theme for the Institute for Public Policy Research. He wants building city villages to be 'a new urban movement', which he contends could go a long way to solving the housing shortage, especially in London."

Barnet Bugle: "BBC London News explains new housing at Sweets Way, Barnet, 26 March 2015"





2015-03-25

The Guardian: "On Sweets Way, Barnet, the great ignored are finding ways to assert themselves"


"Protests at a London housing estate show dissent is possible against the forces of privilege and finance"

Link to web site

" 'They think we’re a piece of furniture,' Kauthar says, her tone one of defiance and incredulity. 'We're not a sofa or a table, we’re actually human beings.' She oozes determination.

"Along with the rest of her community, Kauthar faces eviction from Sweets Way estate in Barnet, north London, because a tax exile wants to bulldoze their homes to make way for luxury homes. Oh, and 59 'affordable' homes, an Orwellian attempt to rebrand rents only the comfortably off can pay as something else.

"Kauthar is just 13 years old, a year-eight student who is also a resolute, charismatic protester. When her family were booted out of their home, they were relocated to a house with no hot water, leaving them to spend weeks bathing with the help of a kettle. But she isn't broken: far from it. 'We just want them to listen to us,' Kauthar says. 'We want them to come and be in our shoes because if they were in our shoes they would hate it. They’re living out a posh life and they’ve got money, but our parents didn’t choose to be in this situation'."

2015-03-24

Broken Barnet: "Sweets Way: another round of evictions, another occupation - and a visit from Russell Brand"


Link to Mrs Angry

"Greetings, friends from the MoD. Maybe use a proxy server, in future - slightly more discreet."


"As you will know, Mrs Angry has a pet theory about the curious, seemingly unstoppable sequence of extraordinary events, here in Broken Barnet: one that depends on a psycho-geographical interpretation of the world, charged with the power of a legacy our Tory politicians would rather deny, and destroy.

"Our history, and our heritage - [it is] the story of the people who have lived here, and left something that survives and defies, somehow, the new order of things in this borough: the selling of our land into bondage to profit, a hostage to market forces, and the easy prey of private development.

"The small rebellions which occur, from time to time, seem to take place in strategic points of the map of our borough. West Hendon, caught between Watling Street and the Welsh Harp: the occupation of the People's Library, Margaret Thatcher House, on the road that cuts across from Barnet to Finchley: the downfall of Brian Coleman, the occupation of the Bohemia, on the Great North Road ... and now on the same route, the evictions, and the occupation, of Sweets Way in Whetstone."

The Guardian: "Cycling near misses: 'You need ceaseless vigilance if you want to stay alive'"


"From close passes to road rage, the near misses experienced every day by those cycling on Britain’s city streets usually go uncounted and unanalysed. The Near Miss project enlisted the help of 1,700 cyclists to change that"

Link to web site

"For the past few months I’ve been leading the Near Miss project, which aims to gain a better understanding of the frequency and impact of cycling near misses and other non-injury incidents. The heart of the research has involved nearly 1,700 riders across Britain keeping a record of all trips and any incidents experienced on their chosen diary day.

"Cycling injuries are more common than they should be in the UK, but a regular commuting cyclist might only experience a slight injury once every decade, with a much lower chance of serious injury. I’ve been cycle commuting most days for nearly 10 years and I’ve had a couple of very minor bumps (a grazed knee, bruised ribs). They are minor cautionary tales rather than heart-stopping moments.

"The apparent discrepancy between the fear of cycling and actual injury figures has led to a lot of head-scratching. Why, when the real risk is so small, are people so reluctant to cycle? Why can’t they be rational and take into account the often substantial health benefits?"

[Reposted] Stewart Murray, Barnet Head of Planning [2015: now at GLA]: Memo after Day One of Planning Committee, November 2009


Key points I picked up, briefly:
  • Useability/purpose of Brent Linear Park
  • Impact on neighbouring town centres
  • Nature conservation (during and after construction)
  • STG traffic evidence at UDP inquiry?
  • A5 traffic impact and key junctions/neighbouring roads
  • UDP inspector’s comments about railway link
  • Alternative site selection for waste handling facility
  • Alternative site selection for rail freight facility and need, given Wembley facility
  • Policy flaws in waste handling facility designation
  • Consultation process pre-application
  • Displacement of local business and relocation difficulties
  • Code for Sustainability not set high enough
  • High blocks/density
  • Combined heat and power pollution and 140m stack. How tried and tested is gasification?
  • Modal shift targets – are they realistic?
  • Affordable housing – not sufficient and too many flats
  • Demand for family accommodation.

[Reposted from March 2011] Mr Reasonable: "Council Meeting Farce and the Private Army"


Link to 'Mr Reasonable'

"That was where I met some of the Private Army, security guards from a company called Met Pro Rapid Response, in black army style fatigues and padded jackets. I found their presence most intimidating.


"... Next up comes a breathless Craig Cooper - no, the Mayor has said you can't come in, even though we are all respectable residents, and we have been advised to do so by the police. What a total and utter mess, and a clear sign that democracy is not working in Barnet, even though the Mayor insists it is."