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


[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.


By 13 Oct: [Reposted] BARNET COUNCIL withdraws Brent Cross CPO 3 due to bureaucratic mistakes worthy of the VOGONS. (Trying again on Mon 5 Sep.) [Update: Successfully.]

The wording last time.
This time, it's signed on
"22nd day of September 2016"
and the objections deadline is
"13 October 2016".
And he's still merely "Interim".

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


New Scientist: "What happens if we pay everyone just to live?"

"Think universal basic income is a pipe dream? Experiments all over the world are already showing its potential to transform society for the better"

Link to web site

"EACH month, Nathalie Kuskoff repeats the process that ensures her family’s security. Her two young children both have chronic illnesses, so their apartment in southern Finland is mostly paid for by the government, which also helps with childcare, medical bills and education. “I get a lot of different social benefits because of my situation – I mean a lot,” she says. They come at a price: relentless form-filling.

"Most developed economies have some form of welfare state to redistribute wealth from the economically active to those who are unemployed or can’t work. People differ about who they think should get what, but few dispute the principle of a basic safety net.

"But as Kuskoff and many others find, welfare on the basis of need is a cumbersome, bureaucratic affair. And as automation continues its march, many more of us may find ourselves caught in its net. This is the background to a radical idea to rejig the way we distribute welfare that has recently been in the headlines: universal basic income."

"Our roads are choked. We’re on the verge of carmageddon" - Guardian Letters

Original article is here.

The Guardian: "The bubble that turned into a tide: how London got hooked on gentrification"

"Gentrification is a familiar story in the capital – but now even the 1% are being squeezed out. What do the stories of Peckham, Holland Park and Chelsea tell us about the new reality?"

Link to web site

"Earlier this month the Financial Times ran an article, as every newspaper has done many times before, headlined 'Has London's property price bubble burst?' The report was well researched and judicious, as you would expect. The conclusion, roughly, was “Probably not, but you never know”, which is all one can ever say safely. The only problem was the word 'bubble'.

"The South Sea Bubble, the all-time benchmark for market irrationality, lasted one year – 1720 – when shares in the South Sea Company rose tenfold and then collapsed. The London property market has been rising, with brief interruptions, since the end of the second world war, when top-end houses cost around £5,000.

"In the past 20 years, an era of low general inflation, the Halifax house price index shows that values in London have multiplied by almost six. The Office for National Statistics figures, which started later but dig deeper, suggest that in some of the richest areas of inner London, the 20-year increase is tenfold. Over 70 years, that £5,000 house might have gone up to £5m or £10m – one or two thousand-fold. This long ago ceased to be a bubble. A hot-air balloon? A barrage balloon? The metaphor doesn't work."


Evening Standard: "Austerity is causing too much pain — now it’s time for Plan B"

"As the Autumn Statement looms, history shows us that the emergency fix is not enough to boost an economy"

Link to web site

"... In a letter to the Financial Times [two economists] talk of 'overwhelming evidence' that the excessive reliance on orthodox and unorthodox monetary policy — in other words, forcing interest rates to artificially low levels — had not only failed to secure a significant recovery of economic activity in the UK, the US or the eurozone but is causing major distortions in financial markets.

"They go on to talk of 'the folly of negative interest rates' and the likelihood of 'serious instability' when the central banks try to get things back to normal. Theirs is a thinly-disguised warning of another financial crash which will be brought about this time by the inevitable and potentially huge losses on bonds which have become the investment of choice for the world's savers. Currently they stand at insanely high levels, driven there by current policy. They will, however, plunge when policy normalises.

"So we are pursuing a policy that has not only failed and which carries a real risk of making things worse but one which Bank of England Governor Mark Carney has advised could yet become more extreme with yet another rate cut."

Aylesbury Estate CPO Public Inquiry - Order not confirmed: The Inspector's Report

Link to Landmark Chambers, for summary of case

A Lawyer Writes

"A judicial review of the Secretary of State's agreement to the Inspector's report would be on points of law only. Southwark Council would have to show one or more of:
  • breach of a legal principle (most likely the failure to take account of a relevant consideration or the taking into account an irrelevant consideration)
  • significant procedural irregularity
  • irrationality on the part of the decision-maker.
They face a heavy burden of proof."


University of Leicester: "Aylesbury decision could set precedent for stopping gentrification of council estates, says expert"

Link to web site

"A University of Leicester geographer, who is an international expert on gentrification, has been working with local campaigners in London to overturn plans for the demolition and 'regeneration' of the Aylesbury Estate, one of Europe's largest public housing estates.

"Last week, it was confirmed that the campaigners were successful in blocking the plans proposed by Southwark Council.

"During the campaign, Professor Loretta Lees presented her evidence on gentrification and social cleansing to the Public Inquiry into the plans to issue residents of the Aylesbury Estate with Compulsory Purchase Orders for their homes. Last week, the Secretary of State announced the decision not to confirm the Compulsory Purchase Order.

"Professor Lees said that taking part in the Public Inquiry was an intense experience:
"We were in security lock-down in a room at Millwall Football Club and it was a David and Goliath scenario – the residents were facing a well-funded team from Southwark Council who had hired one of the UK’s top lawyers."

Evening Standard: "Battle over future of Southwark's Aylesbury Estate heads to High Court"

Link to web site

"The battle over the fate of eight Aylesbury Estate homeowners is heading for the High Court after the Government blocked a compulsory purchase order on their flats.

"Southwark council said it would seek a judicial review of the Communities Secretary’s decision to throw out the CPO, which would have allowed it to buy their homes and start demolition.

"Council leader Peter John said minister Sajid Javid’s decision was based on a key misunderstanding of its policy on compensating property owners."

Daily Telegraph: "UN fears third leg of the global financial crisis, with epic debt defaults"

Is everybody happy?

"The third leg of the world's intractable depression is yet to come. If trade economists at the United Nations are right, the next traumatic episode may entail the greatest debt jubilee in history.

"It may also prove to be the definitive crisis of globalized capitalism, the demise of the liberal free-market orthodoxies promoted for almost forty years by the Bretton Woods institutions, the OECD, and the Davos fraternity.

"... We are left with a world in a state of leaderless policy inertia, unable to escape slow suffocation. Trade is stagnant. Deflation is still knocking at the door a full seven-and-a-half years into the economic cycle, even with the monetary pedal pushed to the floor. The next downturn will test this regime to destruction."


[Reposted from Nov 2014] "Developers aim high with Brent Cross plan" (Tower blocks of maximum-profit height are okay with Barnet Council, then)

"We knew the world would not be the same.
A few people laughed, a few people cried.
Most people were silent.
I remembered the line from the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad-Gita;
Vishnu is trying to persuade the Prince that he should do his duty,
and to impress him, takes on his multi-armed form and says,
'Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.'
I suppose we all thought that, one way or another."

"THE owners of North London’s Brent Cross shopping centre have abandoned plans to extend the scheme in favour of a more ambitious 1 million sq ft development to include homes and leisure facilities, as well as retail space.

"Hammerson, the property developer, and Standard Life, the insurer, which jointly own the centre, propose to submit the new plans to Barnet Council within the next six months.

"The change of strategy comes after a four-year battle to win approval for the project. The proposal to extend the centre was initially rejected by planning inspectors in April 2000, but the Government has still to give its final verdict on whether the extension can go ahead.

"However, John Richards, chief executive of Hammerson, yesterday said that regardless of the Government’s decision, Hammerson would submit the new proposal to the regulators. He said:
"Development fashions have changed. The Government is set against the creation of another stand-alone shopping centre like Bluewater, and as far as they are concerned, a straightforward extension of Brent Cross would be in that fashion."
"The extension was initially rejected by the local authorities because the owners failed to establish a 'need' for the proposed new shops, a requirement for shopping schemes located outside of town centres.

"The Government has created a virtual blanket ban on shopping centre developments located outside of town centres, particularly those that rely on heavy car use, because it believes that this sort of development harms trading at neighbouring town centres.

"However, far from giving up on building new shops at Brent Cross, under the revised scheme, Hammerson and Standard Life propose to add about 290,000 sq ft of shopping space, an amount similar to the original proposal.

"Mr Richards said that it would be easier to show the 'need' for more shops at Brent Cross if the centre were bolstered by a much more comprehensive development, including homes and offices.

"Under the revised plan, the total amount of new development on land next to Brent Cross will almost quadruple. The new scheme will include a mix of affordable and luxury homes, hotels, offices, bars, restaurants and shops.

"Hammerson has been at the forefront of the Government’s city centre regeneration initiatives. Working closely with local authorities and communities, the developer is currently working on new projects to rebuild the Bull Ring in Birmingham, as well as schemes to create new city centre shopping developments in Bristol and Sheffield.

"Mr Richards said:
"From a property developer’s perspective, the benefits of mixed-use schemes are enormous. If we have homes, offices and hotels next door to Brent Cross, we will have even more loyal local residents. People will not drive to Bluewater or Central London if they have the facilities they need on their doorstep."
"Although Hammerson and Standard Life will build the commercial aspects of the new development, they are likely to form a joint venture with a housebuilder to develop the homes. Brent Cross shopping centre opened in 1976 and became the first US style air-conditioned two-tier shopping mall in the UK. At the time of its opening, there was much scepticism about whether the scheme would ever be a success and whether shoppers could be persuaded to travel to shop there rather than relying on their local high street.

"Rents at the centre have increased tenfold since then, to about £400 per sq ft.

"Ironically, the Government is now being forced to try to wean consumers off shopping at large malls — which protect them from the vagaries of the weather and allow them to take their shopping home by car — back on to high streets."

'The Times': 3 January, 2003.
(Image is of Hammerson's Jonathan Joseph,
Barnet Planning Committee, January 2014)

(Barnet Times, Nov 2009)

The Guardian: "Our roads are choked. We’re on the verge of carmageddon"

"Car use takes a huge toll on our health and on the planet. We need to kick our addiction to driving"

Link to web site

"It was a mistake – a monumental, world-class mistake. 'Cars for everyone' was one of the most stupid promises politicians ever made. Cars are meant to meet a simple need: quick and efficient mobility.

"Observe an urban artery during the school run, or a trunk road on a bank holiday weekend, and ask yourself whether the current system meets that need. The vast expanse of road space, the massive investment in metal and fossil fuel, has delivered the freedom to sit fuming in a toxic cloud as your life ticks by.

"The primary aim has become snarled up with other, implicit objectives: the sense of autonomy, the desire for self-expression through the configuration of metal and plastic you drive, and the demand for profit by car manufacturers and fossil fuel producers whose lobbying keeps us on the road rather than moving along it."


The Guardian: "What the Southwark Aylesbury estate Compulsory Purchase Order ruling means for the future of regeneration"

"Sajid Javid's refusal to allow the compulsory purchase of flats by Southwark council adds some welcome humanity to a savage process that forces people not just from their homes, but from their communities. But is the decision enough?"

Link to web site

"According to Jasmin Parsons, a leaseholder at the West Hendon estate in Barnet, some leaseholders were offered just £90,000 for a one-bed flat and £130,000 for a two-bed maisonette when the council applied for the first in a series of compulsory purchase orders.

"This offer was later increased after the leaseholders employed a surveyor to act on their behalf, but still fell far short of the amount required to buy an equivalent home.

"... Last week, however, the picture changed dramatically, when Sajid Javid, the secretary of state for communities and local government, refused to allow the compulsory purchase of flats on the latest phase of the Aylesbury estate's redevelopment, citing concerns about the way Southwark council was dealing with leaseholders.

"The decision does not end the government’s support for the controversial policy of 'estate regeneration', and will bring little comfort for those who have gone through the financial brutality it often creates, but it may give some protection to those facing eviction in the future."

Architects for Social Housing: "Financial Compensation for Human Rights: The Aylesbury Estate"

"A lot has been written already about Friday's decision by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid, to accept the Government Inspector’s recommendation not to confirm Southwark Labour Council's Compulsory Purchase Order on the homes of leaseholders on the First Development Site of the Aylesbury Estate regeneration. But in the understandable excitement at this rare victory, not all of it has been accurate.

"... the power of leaseholders over their homes has been greatly increased, which definitely makes this decision a victory for those fighting the demolition of their homes. But we should be clear about exactly what that victory is based on, which is the property rights of leaseholders, not what some of us mistakenly understand by human rights. If nothing else, the increased compensation leaseholders can demand might make developers and housing associations like Notting Hill Housing think twice about getting councils to issue Compulsory Purchase Orders.

"But potentially the most useful part of this document is the long section on Public Sector Equality Duty (paragraphs 23-33). Here the considerations of the Secretary of State this duty gives rise to are only sited in the context of the leaseholders who made their objections to his Department; but there is an argument to be made that the negative effects of being moved away from community support networks are just as applicable to tenants, and that simply re-housing them elsewhere doesn’t mitigate those effects.

"This is, perhaps, where the real victory lies in this decision by the Secretary of State: not in the property rights of leaseholders, but in the potential for articulating the human rights of all residents whose homes are threatened by estate demolition schemes."

2016-09 Southwark CPO Decision_Letter_Final by scribdstorage on Scribd


Evening Standard: "Dutch-style cycle route in Enfield will be a 'disaster,' say businesses" (oh no it won't, say some in the comments)

Link to web site

"Construction is about to begin on a controversial cycle path that local businesses claim could be a 'disaster'.

The cycle highway between Enfield town centre and Palmer's Green, part of the £42 million Cycle Enfield project, will see segregated bike lanes on both sides of the A105.

"Transport for London has provided £30 million in funding to transform four busy streets into routes with Dutch-inspired cycling lanes. Enfield Council said "future generations will thank us for these visionary proposals'."

Evening Standard: "Build the homes that people want to solve our housing crisis"

Link to web site

"Is London's housing now just a commodity or still the essential fabric of a community? It's strange how slowly the issue of housing in London, and its lack of affordability, has become a major political issue. It has been clear for decades that the current model of new housing in the capital doesn't work in the best interest of communities, and yet nobody has apparently been able to do much about it.

"City Hall estimates that we need to build an additional 50,000 new homes a year, a figure that we’re only halfway to reaching. Faced with such a shortfall in housing supply, it’s no wonder house prices have been going up and up, pricing more and more people out of the city.

"To afford your average London home, £526,000 in today's market, the average Londoner will need a 266 per cent pay rise, according to the National Housing Federation. Only those earning in excess of £100,000 are currently able to buy a home in more than half of London's boroughs.

"If the industry were able to ramp up supply by building new homes, which always seems impossible for some reason, then house prices may stabilise or even drop. But by restricting the supply of new homes, house prices stay high, valuations stay high and house-builders’ profits stay high in return."

Sun 9 Oct: Totteridge Walk


The Guardian: "Everyone loses out when corporate governance falls by the wayside" (we know that at Brent Cross Cricklewood, don't we?)

"Companies that put shareholders first disregard their impact on others, as the Deepwater Horizon disaster demonstrates"

Link to web site

"Many companies, particularly smaller ones, will tell you they exist for their employees and customers, as much as for shareholder gains. Yet those who want to serve a wider base of stakeholders may find themselves hamstrung by a legal system that appears to put shareholder interests centre stage. For all their willingness to do good, is it not the primary duty of company directors to create value for shareholders?

"... But campaigners for a different kind of capitalism say it does not have to be this way. A growing movement is putting forward a new model, where directors answer to a range of stakeholders, such as employees and the environment, not just investors. Those pushing for change may dare to hope their calls will be answered now that Theresa May is vowing tackle corporate irresponsibility and 'reform capitalism so that it works for everyone not just the privileged few'.

"The good news for the prime minister is that a simple amendment to company law could make a big difference."


Drapers: "Brent Cross, the UK’s original regional shopping centre, turns 40"

Link to web site

"Forty years ago Brent Cross shopping centre first opened its doors. The development not only changed shopping for the residents of north London, it spurred a new brand of regional shopping mall that took the UK by storm.

The 898,000 sq ft centre opened with established names such as John Lewis, Marks & Spencer and Fenwick – all of which still have stores at Brent Cross – along with brands that have fallen by the wayside including Radio Rentals, C&A and fashion brands Lady M and Lord John.

"Stephen Springham, head of retail research at property agent Knight Frank says it broke new ground. 'It was the UK’s first truly modern covered shopping mall. It may be hard to believe now, but back in 1976, the mainstay of the UK retail scene was still traditional high street shops,' he says.

"... 'Brent Cross brought the world's best brands to north London and gave people a place to shop that was undercover, where they didn't have to battle the elements or dodge cars,' Brent Cross general manager Tom Nathan says. He adds that Brent Cross' accessibility was critical to its success. It is served by the North Circular, A1 and M1, a tube station and is home to the third busiest bus station in London.

"Jenny O'Donoghue, regional director of department store Fenwick, says free parking was also a unique selling point for consumers and continues to be the case today."


PBS (from 2014): "Navigating the Robot Economy"

Link to web site

" 'Technology has always been replacing jobs, and it's always been creating jobs,' Erik Brynjolfsson, director of the Initiative on the Digital Economy at MIT, says. This time might be different, though. 'Recently, we’ve been seeing more of the replacement, more of the automation, and less of the complementing and creating of new jobs.'

"David Autor, a professor of economics at MIT, argues that, unlike the transition that occurred in the Post-War boom, automation is hollowing out the workforce rather than fattening it. Middle-class jobs are being replaced by robots and computers. As workers are forced out of good-paying factory and clerical positions, many take what they can find, maybe working as a janitor or preparing food at McDonalds.

"Those jobs never paid very much to begin with, and the oversupply of applicants depresses wages further, reinforcing the hollowing out. For now, many of those low-wage jobs appear safe. Cleaning office buildings and cooking and serving food is currently hard to automate, at least with the level of service people demand. But as robots get better, those jobs could be in jeopardy, too. Eventually, we’ll all have to find some skill that can’t be substituted by automation."


[Reposted] The Brent Cross Gyratory: Hammerson's 21st Century low-impact design for the North Circular Road. (Part of. There's more.)

New Scientist: "Mall tales: an artist’s take on modern retail psychology"

"Shopping malls are hot property in the Arab Gulf states, but Sophia Al-Maria doesn't exactly warm to them in her new video installation"

Link to web site

"The Gruen transfer was once a uniquely American phenomenon. Named for Victor Gruen, the Austrian-born architect who designed the first indoor climate-controlled shopping mall, the Gruen transfer occurs when people, entering a space designed to be visually disorientating, are confused into a state of unplanned consumption.

"Their desire to purchase one thing, say, a birthday card, has been transferred, against their will, and in a deliberate, even predictable way onto a slew of entirely different items. An iced caramel mochaccino. A pair of trainers. A rubber Totoro smartphone cover. While shopping malls aren't necessarily thriving now in the US, the mall concept has spread around the world, and the Gruen transfer with it. It’s not stretching the definition too far to see it at work on the landing pages of shopping websites like Amazon.

"It's as a direct response to the malling of the Arab Gulf states that the Qatari-American artist Sophia Al-Maria has created her video installation Black Friday (pictured above), on view at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City."


[Reposted] The Observer: "The death of neoliberalism and the crisis in western politics"

"In the early 1980s the author was one of the first to herald the emerging dominance of neoliberalism in the west. Here he argues that this doctrine is now faltering. But what happens next?"

Link to web site

"The western financial crisis of 2007-8 was the worst since 1931, yet its immediate repercussions were surprisingly modest. The crisis challenged the foundation stones of the long-dominant neoliberal ideology but it seemed to emerge largely unscathed. The banks were bailed out; hardly any bankers on either side of the Atlantic were prosecuted for their crimes; and the price of their behaviour was duly paid by the taxpayer.

"Subsequent economic policy, especially in the Anglo-Saxon world, has relied overwhelmingly on monetary policy, especially quantitative easing. It has failed. The western economy has stagnated and is now approaching its lost decade, with no end in sight.

"After almost nine years, we are finally beginning to reap the political whirlwind of the financial crisis. But how did neoliberalism manage to survive virtually unscathed for so long? Although it failed the test of the real world, bequeathing the worst economic disaster for seven decades, politically and intellectually it remained the only show in town. Parties of the right, centre and left ... all bought into its philosophy."

BusinessDay: "JSE gets a new property leader in Hammerson"

Link to web site

"Hammerson, a FTSE 100 retail property powerhouse became on Thursday the largest listed property company on the JSE. The company, which has a market capitalisation of R91.6bn, has joined the bourse, as it looks to add another geographic area to its wide shareholder base.

"It relegates Intu Properties, which owns shopping centres in the UK and Spain, to second spot in terms of JSE-listed property companies by market cap. Intu’s market cap is R81.6bn.

"CEO David Atkins said:
"This is an important event for Hammerson, as our shares are admitted to the JSE, and we further broaden our global investor reach and deepen the liquidity for all shareholders.

Our business is in great shape [sic] and this listing will allow a wider pool of investors to participate in the company's future returns. We look forward to building long-term relationships with existing and South African investors."


[Reposted from Feb 2012] Westfield White City (John Lewis mega-site) approved [2015 update: John Lewis announces no new store at Brent Cross]

Link to council web site

"Major regeneration and development plans for White City were approved on 16 February, by Hammersmith & Fulham Council’s planning applications committee.

"The £1billion scheme by shopping centre owners, Westfield, includes plans to build up to 1,522 homes, a new public green, offices, and an extension of the existing shopping centre in Wood Lane with new restaurants, cafes and a leisure complex.

"The development, which has been scaled down since it was originally submitted in August, is made up of accommodation, ranging from four to 12 storeys in height, with one feature building that is 20 storeys high. There will be 250 affordable homes and more than 59,000 sq ft is devoted to a new mall with a large ‘anchor store’." [With 'John Lewis' on the outside?]

Link to
and link to


Create Streets: "Green wedges - are there alternatives to greenbelts?"

"Greenbelt land should be built on, but only in certain areas where the transport conditions are good. Meanwhile the footprint of buildings should be confined within a distance to the metro stations with relatively high density. In that case, the greenfield land will be preserved and the total spatial cost will reduce."

ECF: "Watch out for laws that demand cyclists get out of the way of driverless cars"

Link to web site

"The past can tell us a lot about the future, and the past tells us that we’re very poor at predicting the next transport revolution. 18th-century folk thought canals would last forever. Early 19th-century folk thought the same about turnpike roads. And for those who grew up in the 'railway age', the only future imagined was of steel rails and steam trains. Few predicted the motor car's eventual dominance, and it’s reasonable to assume that the same inability to accurately predict the future afflicts us, too. As 'car age' people, we tend to extrapolate into the future of transport using what we know, and that's car-shaped objects on roads.

"Driverless cars – known to futurist wonks as AVs, autonomous vehicles –  are not, in fact, the disruptive technology that many think it is. I’ve been using driverless cars for a great many years, cars which scuttle away and hide when not needed. I can summon one with an app when in a meeting and it will appear outside and whisk me to wherever I want to go. I’m talking about taxis. When I use taxis, including Uber, I can kick back and let the driver – a silent automaton if I so will it – worry about the road ahead.

"Where autonomous vehicles might change the world – if we let them – is over who has priority on roads. Currently, driverless cars are programmed to avoid cyclists and pedestrians. In a city full of cars driven by onboard computers it will be a great game to ride or step in front of them, safe in the knowledge they’re programmed not to touch you."

The Observer: "Forget ideology, liberal democracy’s newest threats come from technology and bioscience"

"A groundbreaking book by historian Yuval Harari claims that artificial intelligence and genetic enhancements will usher in a world of inequality and powerful elites. [Like Barnet, then.] How real is the threat?"

Link to web site

"... Determinists ... believe that technology drives history. And, at heart, Yuval Noah Harari's new book, Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow is .. determinist too. The author writes:
'In the early 21st century, the train of progress is again pulling out of the station – and this will probably be the last train ever to leave the station called Homo sapiens. Those who miss this train will never get a second chance. In order to get a seat on it, you need to understand 21st century technology, and in particular the powers of biotechnology and computer algorithms.'
"He continues:
'These powers are far more potent than steam and the telegraph, and they will not be used mainly for the production of food, textiles, vehicles and weapons. The main products of the 21st century will be bodies, brains and minds, and the gap between those who know how to engineer bodies and brains and those who do not will be wider than the gap between Dickens's Britain and the Madhi's Sudan. Indeed, it will be bigger than the gap between Sapiens and Neanderthals. In the 21st century, those who ride the train of progress will acquire divine abilities of creation and destruction, while those left behind will face extinction.'
"This looks like determinism on steroids. What saves it from ridicule is that Harari sets the scientific and technological story within an historically informed analysis of how liberal democracy evolved. And he provides a plausible account of how the defining features of the liberal democratic order might indeed be upended by the astonishing knowledge and tools that we have produced in the last half-century.

"So while one might, in the end, disagree with his conclusions, one can at least see how he reached them."


LSE: "Creating communities in London's new villages"

"LSE London and Berkeley Homes have been working in collaboration to produce a report on creating new communities in London. This film looks at the report's main findings. We identified six characteristics of a new London village:
1) It's small and intimate and can be comfortably covered on foot,

2) It's unique, and has an identifiable centre with its own atmosphere and sense of place,

3) It's designed for social interaction with plenty of public and green space, and places for community events,

4) It's locally driven and locally responsive, and residents are involved in decisions,

5) It's functional; well served by public transport and with good access to core services like a doctor's surgery, food shops and schools, and

6) It's mixed – the community has a mix of ages, backgrounds and tenures; there are long-standing residents as well as new arrivals."