.

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

2011-08-31

The Guardian: "Planning reform will lead to development 'free-for-all' "

Link to The Guardian


"A planning free-for-all, leading to blighted landscapes, urban sprawl, more congestion, and an undermining of local democracy is inevitable, if the government insists on pushing ahead with proposals for new rules, say the UK's leading conservation, heritage and green groups.

"Greg Clark, planning minister, vigorously defended the proposed reforms, saying communities could draw up their own plans about where development should take place, and would be strengthened rather than weakened by the changes. He said:
"The reaction of these groups has been unfocused and misconceived. Decisions on development will be made by local communities. Their plans will be sovereign. This puts more power into the hands of local people, not less.

"I believe we will see a different type of development. Rather than huge, banal ones imposed from above [now where might that be?] you will have more sensitive location of homes designed to higher standards. We will move from types of mediocre development that have been resisted by communities, to developments that are more accountable." [Hurrah!]

Light-rail line through (well, under) Westfield Stratford shopping centre

This branch of the Docklands Light Railway, from Stratford International to Canning Town, opened this morning.

It runs underneath Westfield Stratford shopping centre, which opens in mid-September. This is an example of a 'public transport - commercial planning partnership', to actually benefit the public, of which Barnet Council and Hammerson seem incapable.

2011-08-30

Birmingham Post: Hammerson Copper Bull Rings

Link to Birmingham Post

"Bullring [sic] Shopping Centre owner Hammerson, as part of its planning consent for three new restaurants, agreed to pay up to £100,000 for the new piece of public art in the square.

"It appointed sculptor Wolfgang Buttress to create the piece, which is inspired by the philosophical question 'If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?' "

'Financial Post': Brookfield [ex-Brent Cross joint developer] Hires Martin Jepson [ex-Hammerson]

('Financial Post' is better at finance than photo-cropping)
Link to web site


"Brookfield Office Properties Inc. (NYSE, TSX: BPO) announced today that it has hired Martin Jepson as senior vice president, Development and Investment in its growing London, UK office. 

"Mr. Jepson is an accomplished and experienced real estate executive. He was most recently Managing Director of the London Group for Hammerson PLC, a leading European commercial real estate company."


2011-08-23

Shopping Centre: "Hammerson plots Croydon revamp" (well, it's London)

Link to Shopping Centre web site

"Hammerson is planning significant improvements to the 700,000-sq ft Centrale shopping centre in Croydon which it bought earlier in the year for £98m.

"Croydon has the 13th largest shopping population in the UK, with 455,000 people. It is an important site and a valuable addition to Hammerson’s portfolio."

[All quiet on the Brent Cross front, by the way.]

2011-08-20

BBC: "Historic Rise of London's Shopping Centres" (or, in the case of Brent Cross...)

Link to BBC slide show

"Britain's first shopping arcade was in Mayfair, when the Burlington Arcade opened in 1819. Lord Cavendish commissioned his architect, Samuel Ware, to design a covered promenade of shops, unofficially to stop ruffians from throwing quantities of rubbish, in particular oyster shells, onto his property."

2011-08-18

London Communications Agency: Lies about Barnet Planning Committee's 'Brent Cross Cricklewood' Vote: Shock update

Link to London Communications Agency

"A late, commercially-motivated local campaign [sic - and insulting, by the way] failed to impact the decision-making process, with the scheme enjoying cross party support, with only a single abstention and 

no votes against 

following a special two-day committee hearing."



We say: Tut, tut, LCA: That's telling porkies, isn't it?

And 'cross'? People were absolutely livid!




UPDATE: London Communications Agency changes its web site! 

New wording (feel free to improve the inadequate punctuation):
"A late, commercially motivated local campaign failed to impact the decision making process with the scheme enjoying cross party support with only a single abstention and one vote against following a special two-day committee hearing."

[By the way, the 'abstention' by Councillor Jack Cohen became a vote against, when the final vote was taken, late in 2010. So much for 'winning hearts and minds'!]

Willesden & Brent Times: Phone hacking by Hammerson

11 August (ok, we're a bit slow)

2011-08-17

BBC: "Why does regeneration create so many ugly buildings?"

Link to BBC web site

"Why has urban regeneration created so many ugly, bland buildings in the last 20 years, asks architectural critic Owen Hatherley. 

"A gigantic shopping mall complex, clad in wipe-clean surfaces, which suddenly subsumed around half of the city centre, swallowing everything else in its path, from office blocks to Georgian streets to factories. 

"It had a strange, cancerous effect on the area around - retail parks, vast empty car parks with long buildings behind them. You couldn't walk here, you could only drive."


"Under New Labour the future seemed to revive, at least briefly. ... What made it different was the gap between quality and quantity. Go to many of the new schemes, and you recognise that the order of modernism has been reversed.


"For better or worse, the buildings of the 1960s were designed from the inside out. Even the most reviled of blocks contain spacious apartments. Even the most alarming crumbling concrete hulks have residents who will say: 'But they're lovely inside.'

"The new blocks are designed from the outside in, irregular windows and brightly-coloured cladding hide the tiny, mean proportions and a total lack of planning for human use. Now the cladding materials are falling off, and the debts on the buy-to-lets are being called in. Was this another failed attempt at building cities of the future? Of building cities at all?"

Does Brent Cross have a "dirty reality"?

Evening Standard: "What now for the regeneration of London?"
Link to Evening Standard

"Riots always happen when cities consider themselves to be at a high point in terms of their urban development," says Dutch architectural historian Wouter Vanstiphout, speaking from his home in Rotterdam. "We've studied riots in every decade since the 1960s, and every time you can see that the officials of the city felt that on a planning level they were doing the most fantastic things."

"The riots should be a warning to all those involved in making the city - London's hubris in thinking itself such a sophisticated sculptor of communities has come home to roost."

"Now is the time for a new approach to the city that doesn't use the euphemisms of regeneration, but deals with the city in its dirty reality."

2011-08-16

Priority Estates Project Ltd: Whitefield Estate

Link to 'Priority Estates Project Ltd'

"PEP is about to start work as Independent Tenants Adviser on the Whitefield Estate, for the London Borough of Barnet. We are looking forward to working with all of the staff and residents."

2011-08-15

bdonline: "Vision for west London’s Old Oak Common area"

Link to bdonline web site

"Terry Farrell & Partners has unveiled its futuristic vision for the transformation of Park Royal City in west London.

"The area around Old Oak Common is earmarked to become Britain’s first 'high-speed rail super hub', together with 12,000 new homes and a waterside park."


We say: It has:
  • 'High Speed Two' platforms, and 
  • 'Great Western Main Line' (including Crossrail) platforms, 
plus, potentially, platforms for: 
  • the North London Line, 
  • the West London Line,
  • the Central Line, and perhaps 
  • the Dudding Hill Line to - wait for it - Brent Cross. 
(Since that all involves public transport, Hammerson would not be interested.)

2011-08-14

Journalgazette: "Malls get smart, go digital"

Link to journalgazette.net

"LONDON – The world’s largest mall owners are harnessing digital technology to stem an erosion in their tenant base by online retailing, and to keep shoppers coming to their centers. London-based Hammerson plans to use software that tracks visitors to its malls, using the signal from their mobile phones. 

"Online shopping is helping retailers reach their customers with fewer stores, making them pickier about the amount of space they lease, and where shops are located. Mall landlords, seeking to grow rental income and raise property values, are using technology to attract more visitors and track the habits and movements of shoppers, to better meet the needs of their increasingly selective tenants."

MoveHut: "Hammerson: The Napoleon Bonaparte Connection"

"And John Lewis is that way"
(Click above for web site)

"Speaking at the unveiling of Hammerson’s half-year financial results, David Atkins, when talking about the way major retailers are responding to the current economic climate, said:
"Customers want all of the outlets they are visiting to be in one shopping centre. As a result, retailers are shedding units in small towns and secondary high streets, but keeping positions in large shopping centres.”




"As a nation we are a lost tribe – disoriented, brooding and suspicious. There is no sense of collective purpose or shared destiny. It is a directionlessness intermingled with a destructive new conviction that a cornerstone of Englishness – a commitment to fairness – is being torched.

"Those at the top are in the forefront of the charge to grab what they can, without any sense of their proportional and due dessert, or accompanying responsibility to the society of which they are part.

"... Add to that picture, private shopping centres that allow no public place for kids to gather, inadequate and now closing youth clubs, being routinely questioned by police just for being under 25, and being ordered to disperse, even if there are only two of them – all these impact on an entire age group.

"The dutiful, non-rioting young may work hard for their qualifications, degrees and apprenticeships. But they too could be forgiven for asking themselves: for what?"


2011-08-13

Londonist: The Riots, with Roger T of Barnet Eye

Link to 'Londonist' web site and audio 
(from Monday 8 Aug.)

"The guests tackle recent London news, dominated by riots and looting. Other stories include Boris’ war on the plastic bag, redeveloping Broadgate, and the naming of five new London areas in the Olympic Park. 

"Jonathan [West Hampstead blogger] and Roger also highlight some of the issues currently affecting the local areas they represent, as well as discussing their very different styles of covering local news and politics."


Link to 'Barnet Eye' and to 'West Hampstead Life'.

2011-08-11

MoneyWeek: "Hammerson directors go shopping" (though not at Brent Cross)

Link to web site

"Two senior board members at Hammerson have both bought shares in the shopping centre operator, buying into weakness after a recent plummet in profits. 

"Chief Executive David Atkins made a purchase of 16,000 shares at 404.2p per share, while Terry Duddy, the group's non-excutive director, purchased 20,000 at 405.75p per share."

Evening Standard: "Quintain boss in call for an urban design rethink after the rioting" (Hammerson should have done that anyway)

Click above for Evening Standard.
(Picture of Adrian Wyatt and
additional article: Property Week)

"Veteran urban regenerator Adrian Wyatt has high hopes that some good can come out of the London riots.

" 'This must be the catalyst for people to sit back and rethink how we design our towns and cities,' the chief executive of Quintain Estates declared.

"He said: 'The state should enable and the private sector deliver. But it must be a real partnership involving all the local needs'."

2011-08-10

Reuters: "UK riots may curb property investment in suburbs"

Link to web site

"Property investors will think twice about pouring money into UK retail assets outside of central London after rioters damaged shops and malls around the country, undermining renewed interest in already-struggling secondary locations.
 
"International investors 'will probably be more wary of looking at some of the (London) suburbs,' said Richard Lewis, property director of developer Town Centre Securities."

Ian Bone (veteran anarchist) on shopping centres

Link to Ian Bone web site

"What is different, and so perplexes the cops, is the new Retail Shopping Centre riot, whether local like Tottenham Hale, or city centre like Oxford Circus and the Arndale.

"England’s dreaming - of Cabot Circus, the Arndale, Bluewater, Brent Cross, ...Westfields. ‘They’re only in it for the money,’ disillusioned anarchists tell me. 'Unlike the TUC marchers for gold-plated pensions,' I reply. There’s more than one way to redistribute wealth, comrades."


Ina Bone on BBC's 'Jonathan Ross':
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vciXxY5ADoA

2011-08-09

Evening Standard: "Shock and anger as city awakes to worst scenes since the Blitz"

Link to Evening Standard

"In Walthamstow, the scene of Sunday night looting, those units not being boarded up pulled down their shutters. It was the same on the shopping estates along the A406 North Circular Road.

"Tesco at Brent Cross was looted at 8pm.At 8.15pm, temporary Met commissioner Tim Godwin appealed to parents to get their children back indoors."

Willesden & Brent Times: "Police cars smashed outside Brent Cross Shopping Centre"

Link to Willesden & Brent Times

"A gang armed with metal poles threw bricks and bottles at police cars outside Brent Cross Shopping Centre in the early hours of this morning.

"Norman Black, head of marketing at the centre, said: 
“We are trading as normal. There is no intention to close shops early."

2011-08-01

Construction Enquirer: "Hammerson has £1.1bn in development pipeline" (nothing in pipeline at Brent Cross)

Link to Construction Enquirer

"Property giant Hammerson has new developments in the near-term pipeline worth £1.1bn as the market for office and retail construction continues to recover.

"The firm said:
"We will progress projects on the basis of sound financial analysis demonstrating good returns, when the relevant markets are sufficiently robust, and when we have the right level of interest from occupiers."


"So Brent Cross is currently a dead duck." [Our supposition.]


Phone hacking by Hammerson? Evening Standard: "Hammerson tracks mall shoppers by their mobiles"

Link to Evening Standard

"Shoppers at Brent Cross and other malls owned by developer Hammerson are being tracked by their mobile phone signals to help the landlord dissect footfall.

"The property giant today admitted it was:
"rolling out technology at all our shopping centres which uses mobile phone signals to analyse how customers navigate the centres and use stores, enabling us to plan for the optimal retail mix."