.

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

2012-08-31

Evening Standard - Hammerson's and Finchley's ex-Lord Mayor of London, Sir Michael Bear?



Link
and
Daily Telegraph

Daily Telegraph: "It's never been harder to get a mortgage"


"Five years after the Northern Rock crisis, banks still haven't recovered their appetite for lending."

Link to Daily Telegraph

"Over the past five years the number of mortgages available to first-time buyers has plummeted by 75pc. ...

"The value of mortgage lending has fallen by two thirds from a record high of £34bn in June 2007 to just £13bn in July 2012, while the number of house purchases has fallen dramatically. 

"According to the Land Registry, housing transactions reached 120,000 in July 2007, but they now run at fewer than 50,000 a month – a fall of 60pc. 

"To compound borrowers' misery, house prices have dipped sharply. The average property bought in the summer of 2007 would have been worth £200,623, while today the average property is worth just £162,126 – a drop of 20pc. 

"Grant Shapps, the housing minister, admitted this week: 
 "It's ridiculously expensive for people to buy houses in this country. I'm in complete agreement that there's a housing crisis."

BBC: "UK economy needs infrastructure stimulus, says BCC"


Link to BBC web site

"The British Chambers of Commerce has called for more government spending on infrastructure, as it predicted that UK GDP would shrink by 0.4% in 2012.

"... The Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, John Longworth, called on politicians to do more to help the economy grow. He told the BBC:

"There are only a 150 MPs out of 650 that have ever been in business, and only 30 have got any qualifications in science.

We've now got a political class that's divorced from the reality of business and economics."

Daily Telegraph: "Old-fashioned high street makes a comeback"


Link to web site

"A new breed of old-fashioned shop is replacing pubs, sandwich bars and ‘greasy spoon’ cafes on Britain’s high streets.

"Over the last year the number of old-fashioned tea rooms has risen by 15 per cent, while the number of butchers and fabric shops has risen by 21 per cent and 44 per cent respectively."

2012-08-30

Daily Telegraph: "City Diary: Marks & Spencer's Plan A meets its match in Cheshire"


Link to web site

"Chief executive Marc Bolland and chairman Robert Swannell seemed relaxed as they entertained analysts, journalists and staff at the new Cheshire Oaks store, the company’s second biggest in the UK and kitted out with all the latest e-commerce technology.

"... However, that changed when a member of the audience, though to be a local journalist, shouted:
“Why have you built this out of town? How sustainable is it to get here?"

BBC: "Portas' Pilots: Lessons from the shopping centre"


Link to web site


"It has come to demonstrate the impact of the recession - empty shops, dropping footfall and disappearing chains painting a bleak picture of England's High Street.

"The decline of town centres across the country has sparked a celebrity-backed government scheme, and media speculation on whether the High Street can recover from changing shopping habits and low consumer spending.

"In England, 27 areas have been chosen as Portas' Pilots projects aimed at breathing new life into the traditional centre of their communities.

"But the High Street is not the only place people go shopping - can lessons be learnt from a different kind of retail space?"

Barnet Press



BBC: "UK economy will contract 0.3% in 2012, says CBI"


Link to BBC web site

"The CBI, the lobbying organisation for big business, has cut its growth forecast for the UK economy "to reflect weaker economic conditions".

"It expects UK gross domestic product (GDP) to contract by -0.3% in 2012, it said in a statement.

"... But it said the economy would recover slightly in the second half of year and rise 1.2% in 2013, down from an earlier forecast of 2%."

2012-08-29

[Reposted] Out-of-Date Up-to-Date Information from 'Drivers, Jonas, Deloitte' (also known as 'Stronger, Faster, Higher'*)


"Brent Cross Cricklewood
Key details"

Borough:
"Barnet"
[Yes, that is absolutely true. Well known for the 'Five Bloggers'.]
Developer:
"Hammerson, Standard Life Investments and Brookfield Europe (Multiplex) - the Brent Cross Development"
[It tails off then. And including 'Brookfield' is two years out-of-date!]
Scheme mix:
"Total residential units: 7,323"
[Don't be too sure.]
Status and market commentary:
"Planning and construction status: Proposal or allocation"
"Projected programme: 2011-2031" [Ho, ho, ho!]
"Sales status: Unlaunched" [We'll bet!]
"£1 billion S106 package" [Not now there isn't!]


* "Drivers Jonas Deloitte is a trading name of Deloitte LLP, the official professional services provider to the London 2012 games."

Its web site reports:
"DJD's latest 'London Residential Crane Survey' has recorded a sharp decline in the number of new housing developments starting in the capital."

"... Anthony Duggan, head of research, Drivers Jonas Deloitte, said:
"While schemes started in the more buoyant 2010/11 period are now progressing through to delivery, meaning current completion levels are looking more healthy, this latest research shows a clear decline in the number of new schemes starting. While it is too early to call this slowdown in new activity a clear trend, it does reflect the unease in the wider London residential market.

Our data shows that developers are focussing their activity on the more resilient Inner London areas, which is indicative of rising caution with regard to the health of domestic buyers, and also the continued confidence in the prime markets and overseas buyers."

Evening Standard: "London house prices hit a new all time high"


Link to web site

"London house prices have hit a new all-time high, following a 6.5 per cent annual surge, official figures reveal today.

"The London property market has continued to defy gravity since it bottomed out in Spring 2009 after the City banking collapse. 

"Foreign buyers have flooded into London, drawn by the relative weakness of the pound and the capital’s status as a 'safe haven' from political and financial instability elsewhere in the world."

The Guardian: "Yeo's runway taunt is big-willy politics, and that is the most dangerous politics of all"


Link to The Guardian

"Not a day passes without a call for something big, brash and financially sexy: a road, an airport, a railway, a power station. Economists get on TV if they call for more infrastructure, even when such projects take years to get off the ground, and benefit only professionals and consultants in the short term.

"... It is thought vulgar to print money for people to spend through their wallets and credit cards. On the other hand, a stimulus that aids 'investment' is automatically good. 

"As we saw last month, Olympic stadiums are good, school playing fields are bad. Third runways are good, local transport bad. Developers want hypermarkets and eco-cities in the countryside, not healthier high streets and urban renewal."

News Shopper [sic]: "Plan for 22,000 Ebbsfleet homes in Kent Thameside scheme could create 60,000 jobs"


Link to web site

"MORE than 22,000 homes will be built on a brownfield site in Ebbsfleet during the next 20 years, as a long-term housing development gets the go ahead.

"... The development, which has been stuck on the drawing board for a decade due to concerns about necessary transport improvements, is set to bring as many as 60,000 new jobs to the north Kent area."

[Reposted] The Observer: "The inescapable power of architecture"


"In an extract from his new book, our architecture critic deconstructs the mysterious ways in which buildings shape our lives" 

(Hammerson's 'Pile 'Em High at Brent Cross'?)
Link to The Observer

"It is easy to see the absurdity of a belief in the healing power of masonry – it is a superstition, animism – but people fall for it again and again and they are not entirely wrong to do so. For, if it is a mistake to think that a house can mend a family, the opposite is also false. That is, the built background to our lives is not irrelevant, either. To put the case negatively, the wrong kinds of buildings can inflict misery and frustration. A world in which the dwelling becomes a purely technical question is not appealing.

"To be more positive, we want buildings to embellish, beautify, dignify, distract or divert. We want them to propose and to enable: to suggest what could be, to make things possible, to give freedoms. The idea of home, whether expressed as stable cosmos or as nomadic wandering, shows a basic truth, which is that the space we occupy is not neutral to us.

"We cannot look at it with detachment. We are in it, we make it and it makes us. What are mysterious are the ways in which physical surroundings interact with our desires. If Dean Gardens seems over-determined and clumsy, where exactly did it go wrong? How might a builder or an architect make a happier relation of stuff to humanity?"



2012-08-28

Daily Telegraph: "Despite the crisis, Britons are still spending like drunkards"


Link to web site

"In the 10 years before the credit crunch, our household debt rose from 90 per cent of disposable income to more than 160 per cent. It remains above 150 per cent today. A collective failure to grasp the scale of damage still being done to the economy by persistently overstretched consumers is why policy responses have been so ineffective.

" 'Unrealistic expectations for house prices and incomes,' says Fathom Consulting’s Danny Gabay, a former Bank of England economist, have left us with 'zombie households and banks'. Our underlying problem, he concludes, is 'excessive' private-sector debt.

"Yet the message from ministers and retailers is that we need to restore confidence, so that shoppers will start spending again.

The Independent: "Why exactly is it so expensive for us to own a home?"


Link to web site

"An average three-bed house cost £2,000 in 1952. In 2012 it costs £162,000. That’s an inflation of 8,000%. Have you ever wondered – I mean really wondered – why this is the case?

"... The conventional wisdom is that it’s a simple case of supply and demand. The UK is a small, densely-populated country. There simply aren’t enough houses. This high demand pushes prices up. Simple as that.

"But maybe it’s not that simple. The campaign group for banking and monetary reform, Positive Money, believe that it is the debt-based nature of our economy which has caused such huge increases.

"According to Positive Money, who draw on the work of economists such as Steve Keen and the head of the FSA, Adair Turner, it is the banks’ ability to create digital money when they make new loans that has driven the rise in house prices, and fuelled the most recent and catastrophic housing bubble."

2012-08-27

5 years on: British Council of Shopping Centres: "Future of Retail Property" (2007)

Link to PDF file

"Britain’s retail landscape has seen constant evolution since the 1950s. From post-war redevelopment in town centres, through retail decentralisation and the emergence of the retail warehouse park and out-of-town regional shopping mall, to greater attention to the quality of design and the treatment of public spaces, shopping places have transformed over time.

"The growth of chain stores, supermarkets and specialist retailers and the dynamism and innovation that inspired this growth has greatly influenced the evolution of the individual store.

"In the face of heightened competition and an increasingly savvy consumer, the industry is experiencing pressure to find the ‘next best thing’, securing a place in the hearts and minds of the consumer and achieving that all important competitive advantage.

But with potential limitations from finance, policy, and ownership, and with an ever rising environmental agenda, the key issue is how the industry responds to the ever changing needs and desires of the consumer. This report seeks to consider wide ranging influences in order to explore what type of shopping places we will see in ten years’ time [from 2007.]

"... Changes in out-of-town shopping places under single ownership is simpler, but subject to greater constraint. To seek a competitive advantage, high investment levels, dynamic branding, use of the latest technologies, and physical alterations are anticipated.

"While change in the out-of-town mall is expected to relate to limited expansion, new uses, internal reorganisation, and public realm treatment, the most radical transformation may be the evolution in out-of-town town centres, and the ‘mega-mall’. While the sustainable mall is an improbable future, sustainable features will certainly increase."

"... Transport remains a fundamental concern for the future shopper, who searches for a new convenience in terms of ease of use and cost of access. Underlining the demand for convenience from an ever more mobile consumer, car parking remains a priority.

"With the greatest growth in public transport markets for high-frequency and high-speed modes, future shopping will be increasingly integrated with major transport nodes, and more widespread consideration of access and transport needs in shopping places will be employed by enhancing circulation frameworks; future shopping areas and public transport will be better connected.

"However, ease of access also implies the delivery of information to the consumer both before and during his or her visit. Technology therefore plays a crucial role in the search for new convenience."

"The challenge facing the retail industry is multifaceted. Above all, shopping places must seek to engage with consumers’ real needs and dreamlike desires, securing a place in their hearts and minds."

Daily Telegraph: "Housebuilding boom 'would tip Britain back into crisis'"


Link to web site

"A state-backed housebuilding boom would not deliver the sought-after economic recovery, a leading consultancy has warned, but cause prices to crash and tip Britain's banks back into crisis.

"Policymakers are believed to be preparing plans for a major publicly-funded housebuilding programme to kick-start growth at the same time as addressing the perceived housing shortage. Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, has indicated plans are afoot, and an increasing number of economists have endorsed the idea.

"According to Fathom Consulting, however, the plan 'could have exactly the opposite effect from the one desired' – causing prices to fall by as much as 30pc, forcing banks to take large losses, and triggering a new credit crunch."



Link to:

On the other hand, by the same author,
"Interest rates may rise to 8pc within two years to choke off soaring inflation, according to radical new research."
(written in August 2010)



Don't know your
debts from your deficits?
"You're not alone: Public, MPs and even headline writers are confused"
Link to The Independent

2012-08-26

[Reposted] Adam Langleben's thoughts on 'Barnet, Europe and the Jewish World'. Plus the North London Strategic Alliance

Core Strategy
("But there's nothing there!")
(Link to web site)

"Last week, the independent Planning Inspectorate published its report on the London Borough of Barnet, composed by Vincent Maher MA. Whilst the report gave Barnet a ‘sound’ verdict, it did make some important recommendations, that have already been highlighted over the past few years by the opposition Labour group, and by the excellent Barnet blogosphere.

"I have highlighted the following areas listed that I and others have already noticed. (There were several other points, which was written in such cryptic language, I didn’t understand it.)
  • Increasing the proportion of affordable homes
  • Clarifying the situation surrounding the redevelopment of Brent Cross Cricklewood
  • Planning for a new housing development on the North London Business Park
  • Clarifying the criteria assessment relating to housing for gypsies, travellers and travelling showpeople
  • Clarifying that parking standards for residential development are maximum standards.

"Below is my take on these areas."
... ...

"Clarifying the situation surrounding the redevelopment of Brent Cross Cricklewood"
"The Brent Cross redevelopment has been an ongoing saga, that needs to be sorted out. Brent Cross Shopping Centre need to make a decision on what they want to do, and find the cash to do it, in consultation with residents. The Coalition for a Sustainable Brent Cross Cricklewood redevelopment has written extensively on this, and I would urge all to visit their website."



Link to web site of the 'North London Strategic Alliance'
(LB Barnet recently left this / was kicked out.
It is now in the 'West London Alliance' of boroughs)

"LB Barnet’s local plan has been ruled sound by a planning inspector. It is the second such plan to be ruled sound since the publication of the government’s National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and the first in London.

"The inspector said the core strategy and development management policy document were sound, subject to changing the wording on presumption in favour of sustainable development to the Planning Inspectorate’s 'model policy'.

"The council will also be required to review policy on Brent Cross Cricklewood after 2014, if required CPOs have not been made by then. This means the acceptance of the council’s five-year target of 21,720 new homes."

"See more from Planning magazine."

London Borough of Brent Civic Centre (with all-party support) opens 2013: "The greenest public building in the UK"





Photos (and scepticism):
Repost: Cllr Powney.



Open Doors Weekend
9-10 November 2012
Friday: 9am-4pm
Saturday: 9am-1pm

"A weekend of Open Door events inviting members of the public to visit working construction sites is being organised for the autumn by the UK Contractors Group (UKCG), the Industry Training Board and Sector Skills Council, CITB-ConstructionSkills, the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) and the Considerate Constructors Scheme.

"The collaborative initiative is the first of its kind for the sector and intends to raise the profile of the industry, challenge stereotypes and encourage greater engagement with the public and local communities to attract talent into the industry.

"The events will provide a unique opportunity for members of the public to witness first-hand the scale and complexity of major construction developments and also demonstrate an industry-wide commitment to welcoming a wider, more diverse range of talent into the sector.

"Want to know more about careers in construction? Then visit our case studies section.

"Open Door's weekend will take place on 9 - 10 November 2012 (Friday: 9am - 4pm and Saturday: 9am - 1pm).

"To find an event near you, check out our event map [which currently fails to show Brent Civic Centre!] Please note that sites will be added to the list until October 2012, so please regularly check and see the new sites added."

Link to


Note: 'Open Doors' is separate from
events on 22-23 September.

Evoke. We Give Hammerson More Feeling


"We create experiences and campaigns that give brands more feeling. Multisensory communications that tap into audiences' emotions, and fuel long-term brand loyality"


"Hammerson - Everyone's a Winner"

"The aim of this campaign was to drive extra footfall into Hammerson shopping centres and encourage sales with the many retailers based within the centres during the Olympics.

"The activity ran for two weeks at 9 Hammerson shopping centres where we set up a stand for consumers to interact with, on [sic] the stand we had an exercise bike for adults and kids as well as many other sporting and exercise based activities for consumers to engage with including a PlayStation Move console The [sic] offer was that for every active minute members of the public gave then Hammerson would donate money to a local sporting charity.

"There were also vouchers and coupons being given out at the stand that could be redeemed at retailers within the centres for money off purchases or a gift with purchase.

"The activity was heavily pre-promoted via Evoke and Hammerson twitter and Facebook channels as well via print and leafleting activity in the individual centres."


2012-08-25

[Reposted] "We questioned whether the development of the city centre had to be retail-led"


Link to web site

"London developer Hammerson promised to outline new proposals for the Barker’s Pool, Pinstone Street and Moorhead area this autumn.

"Construction was originally due to have started in 2010 with the first shops opening at the end of last year.

"Linda Cooley, spokeswoman for Sheffield City Centre Residents Action Group, said:
“We questioned whether the development of the city centre had to be retail-led, with prominence given to large retail establishments.

The group feels a city centre that caters for a variety of interests and age groups would support retail growth and establish the city centre as a destination not only for shopping, but also for cultural activities and socialising.”
"Hammerson project director Richard Brown said:
“Hammerson is still continuing talks with John Lewis as an anchor tenant for the scheme, alongside a range of other brands to complement the potential retail mix.

A retail-led scheme has been promoted in the city for many years, and is widely regarded to be essential to boosting the city; currently poorly represented in retailing terms.”

2012-08-24

[Reposted from Dec 2011] Mayor Boris Johnson and [now ex-] GLA member Brian Coleman share ironic smirk that Brent Cross has "potential"


"Landscaping [Brent Cross]"

"Building Less On [Brent Cross]"
Brian Coleman urges Boris Johnson to build less at Brent Cross


Cambridge Dictionary definition: "Smirk: a smile that expresses satisfaction or pleasure about having done something, or knowing something, which is not known by someone else."
[In this case, we all know Boris, we all know.]


DCLG: "Eric Pickles takes steps to kick-start stalled development"


Link to DCLG web site

"Expert brokers will spearhead a fresh drive to get stalled housing deals up and running and builders back on moth-balled sites, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has announced.

"Mr Pickles is concerned that too much development is being stalled because of economically unrealistic agreements negotiated between councils and developers at the height of the housing boom. This results in no development, no regeneration and no community benefits at all when agreements are no longer economically viable.

"The deals, known legally as Section 106 agreements, require developers to make a financial contribution to the community or provide housing, amenities or infrastructure as part of their planning permission.

"Teams of intermediaries will now offer a free-of-charge advice and support service to councils and developers and will be available to help kick-start renegotiations of these deals to stop them being a barrier to getting building underway.

"Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said:
"Tackling problems with stalled development is essential to getting builders back on moth-balled sites and building the homes we need. There is huge potential in sites to boost local economies and we simply cannot afford to have them lying idle because of earlier agreements that are no longer viable."



Link to DCLG web site

"Town Hall doors unlocked to social media and bloggers"

"New law changes to introduce greater openness and transparency in executive councils meetings will mean all decisions, including those affecting budgets and local services, will have to be taken in an open and public forum, Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles has announced.

"Ministers have put new regulations before Parliament that would come into force next month to extend the rights of people to attend all meetings of a council's executive, its committees and subcommittees.

"The changes will result in greater public scrutiny. The existing media definition will be broadened to cover organisations that provide internet news thereby opening up councils to local online news outlets. Individual councillors will also have stronger rights to scrutinise the actions of their council.

"Eric Pickles said:
"Every decision a council takes has a major impact on the lives of local people, so it is crucial that whenever it takes a significant decision about local budgets that affect local communities, whether it is in a full council meeting or in a unheard of sub-committee, it has got to be taken in the full glare of all the press and any of the public."
"Chris Taggart, of OpenlyLocal.com, which has long championed the need to open council business up to public scrutiny, added:
"In a world where hi-definition video cameras are under £100, and hyperlocal bloggers are doing some of the best council reporting in the country, it is crazy that councils are prohibiting members of the public from videoing, tweeting and live-blogging their meetings." [Pity people were not even allowed to take verbatum notes at the Brent Cross Cricklewood planning committee!]

2012-08-23

The Guardian: "While new retail space is being created at the lowest rate since the 1960s, Leeds is bucking the trend"


Link to web site

"Building shopping centres is fraught with difficulties. Just ask the people of Bradford. 

"Their city centre is blighted by a large building site, dubbed the Bradford Hole [right], where work on a new Westfield shopping centre was halted four years ago. Occupy Westfield protesters recently set up camp there for five weeks but have left again.

"In nearby Leeds, however, it's a different story. A new shopping centre the size of 13 football pitches and crowned by a sweeping glass dome is due to open there next year, the largest project of its kind in western Europe. Land Securities' Trinity Leeds will have a million square feet of space with 120 shops, 12 restaurants, bars and cafes and the biggest Everyman cinema in Britain. As if that were not enough, work is due to start on another huge city-centre mall in 2014.

"... Despite the problems in Bradford, Hammerson – one of Land Securities' biggest rivals – also believes it has the financial strength to make a new scheme work in Leeds. The company, which owns shopping centres around the country including Brent Cross in London and the Bullring [sic] in Birmingham, hopes to start construction of a £120m, 400,000 sq ft mall called Eastgate Quarters in 2014. It originally envisaged a £650m mall of the same size as Trinity Leeds, and the size of a second project phase will depend on market conditions."

Barnet Times


The Guardian: "Ministers consider new wave of publicly-funded housebuilding"


Link to web site

"Ministers are considering a new wave of publicly-funded housebuilding, to kick-start the ailing construction industry and ease the shortage of homes.

"... [A report] recommends that local authorities make fewer demands in return for planning permission, and review conditions attached to developments that already have planning permission but have stalled over cost concerns. In return, councils could impose other conditions on owners, for example that new homes have to be available to rent for 10-21 years.

"The report says the government and local authorities could donate land or even funding to reduce the initial outlay, and so the risk, for developers, in return for a share of the profits when schemes are sold, usually to big institutions such as pension funds which want a steady return for investors."



Link to BBC web site

BBC: "UK private rental sector must grow, says Montague report"

"Institutional investors could fund the large-scale building of private housing for rent, a report for the government by Sir Adrian Montague has said.

"He says a combination of recent tax changes and wider market conditions could help the sector to grow.

"Sir Adrian was asked for ways to tackle the UK's housing shortage, especially in the private rental sector."



Daily Telegraph: "Relax rules on cheap housing for the poor, says Shapps"

Link to web site

"The Minister said new rental developments without cheap housing are better than no new homes at all. His comments come after a new report from Sir Adrian Montague, a top businessman, warned graduates and young professionals face a shortage of private rented property.

"... He said:
"If the costs of building are so high that you end up with no development, no regeneration, no community benefits overall, then, actually, you’ve set the bar so high that it’s disadvantageous to [=bad for] everyone."
"... It comes as George Osborne, the Chancellor, prepares to unveil a major housebuilding programme this autumn."

2012-08-22

Barnet Times: "Barnet Council planners playing 'hide and seek' with Stonegrove estate development critics"


Link to web site

"Barnet council planners are playing 'hide and seek' with critics of a huge redevelopment on the Barnet and Harrow border, according to campaigners.

"Barratt Homes has been commissioned to demolish the 1950s [sic] Stonegrove estate, between Green Lane and Spur Road, as part of a multi-million pound council regeneration project in the area.

"... Neighbours on both sides of the development have criticised the designs, claiming the 'cardboard box apartments' and tower block flats will be an eye sore."

The Guardian: "New plans for liberalising planning laws, guaranteeing more house building and shaking up roads spending"


Link to The Guardian


"As fears grow among senior figures in both coalition parties that George Osborne is running out of time to meet his pledge to stabilise the public finances, Whitehall sources have spoken of a co-ordinated growth push in September. 

"There will be a particular focus on liberalising planning laws, guaranteeing more housebuilding and boosting infrastructure projects, as Osborne prepares to deliver a crucial autumn statement in November that could presage even deeper spending cuts.

"... The Highways Agency, which runs the network of motorways and A-roads, could be made more independent, most probably as a government-owned company or public trust, so it can borrow without increasing the public deficit. One government source said:
"We have already made a lot of growth announcements, but obviously the garden needs watering often."
"Stephen Joseph, chief executive of the Campaign for Better Transport, said:
"It's clear that ministers are now casting around for anything that might produce growth without thinking of the long-term consequences or value for money for taxpayers."

Radical architecture for Hammerson's Brent Cross extension*


Link to Daily Telegraph

"With cities running out of room, the world’s ever-expanding population may soon need to find new homes. But where? Sea, sky, [* not Brent Cross] or desert? We look at the alternatives...
  • "... Masdar City promises to be the world’s most technologically advanced eco-city: 40,000 citizens living in the world’s first zero-carbon, zero-waste metropolis.
  • "... China’s Tianjin Eco-City is trying something different. The first residents, who moved in last March, will not be forced to be fanatically green, a city spokesman said. Instead, its pioneers will be used to see what designs could work in a real city, with real people.
  • "... Britain too, is finding the biggest eco-city challenge may be what people are prepared to accept. ... In July 2009, approval was given for the first Eco-Town to enter the planning process. The only problem was that locals came forward with ideas for opposing them."

2012-08-20

[Reposted from 2010] Toxic Hammerson Power Grab Fury over LEP Control Threat (Mmm, not the clearest of headlines, possibly)

The subtle Hammerson method of town planning
(a PR challange for 'London Comunications Agency').
Why doesn't Hammerson stick to shopping centres?
2012 update: it does now!


Don't know what a LEP is? Here's an example.


"LEPs are likely to have powers over planning, housing, transport, employment and business support, carbon reduction, skills, and tourism."

See a later Local Enterprise
Partnership item here.
See an earlier Local Enterprise
Partnership item here.

2012-08-19

The Observer: "Stratford's future depends on a sympathetic approach to regeneration"


Link to web site

"At the moment, hopeful signs are emitting from the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC), the body in charge. Its new chairman, Daniel Moylan, declares that he wants the Olympic Park and its surroundings to be 'a very desirable area, and we would like as many people as possible to live there'. 

"He wants alternatives to 'the limited range of standardised products' that large house-building companies tend to produce. He wants property to rent as well as buy, and homes built by their owners.

"He challenges the common journalistic denigration of Stratford: 'This place is not a dump. There are lots of people who are entrepreneurial and enthusiastic'.

"... The real question is whether the current high ambitions can survive the pressures that will come to bear:
  • How inclusive can the new developments be, for example, when changes to housing benefit are likely to push people out of places like this? 
  • How kindly will the big house-building companies take to alternative models to their preferred way of doing things? 
  • What if progress is seen to be going too slowly, and pressure grows for quick results?"



Link to:
"The future of the Olympic Park – in pictures"
(too much colour saturation on the first one)

Sunday Telegraph: "The high street as we know it is dead"


Li nk to web site

"Simon Freakley is not afraid of being controversial. The chief executive of corporate advisory and restructuring firm Zolfo Cooper Europe thinks high streets outside London are dead and will never recover their former glories.

"... He is clear about the reasons for [recent retail] collapses – generally bad management, failure to grasp the opportunities presented by the internet and social media, and being squeezed by converging retail sectors. He is the retail doctor and sometime undertaker, and as such, his opinions matter."

2012-08-17

The Guardian: "House prices rise three times faster than wages over a decade"


Link to web site

"In 2001 the average price of a home in England was £121,769, and the average salary was £16,557.

"In 2011 the price of the average home was £236,518 – an increase of 94% – while wages had risen by just 29% to £21,330, the National Housing Federation said.

"The disparity is even greater in some areas. ... In Watford, the average house price is up 76% to £246,455, while the average salary has fallen by 13% to £15,272."


2012-08-16

[Reposted] Shock Brent Cross 'Living Bridge' Design over North Circular, by Hammerson: "We'll need to do a 'Section 73' with Barnet"


Link to BBC web site

"Guidance Notes for an Application by Hammerson for removal or variation of a condition following grant of planning permission for Brent Cross Cricklewood (since we ain't ever gonna build it all, and really, we were only ever interested in the retail; we can sell off all the other parts with a bit of luck, although will their valuation reflect on them having credible planning permission?)"
"Planning conditions are often applied to the grant of planning permission. These limit and control the way in which the planning permission may be implemented. Conditions may be imposed on the grant of planning permission for regulating development or use of any land under the control of the applicant, requiring the carrying out of works on any such land, the removal of any buildings or works authorised by the permission, or the discontinuance of any use of land so authorised, at the end of a specified period, and the carrying out of any works required for the reinstatement of land at the end of that period.
Section 73 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 allows applications to be made for permission to develop without complying with a condition(s) previously imposed on a planning permission. The local planning authority can grant such permission unconditionally or subject to different conditions, or they can refuse the application if they decide that the original condition(s) should continue.

"The original planning permission will continue to subsist, whatever the outcome of the application under section 73. Section 73 will not apply if the period in the previous condition limiting the duration within which the development could begin has now expired without the development having begun
.

"For more details regarding the use of conditions refer to Circular 11/95 http://www.communities.gov.uk/publications/planningandbuilding/circularuse

"It is often helpful to discuss your proposal before you send in your application, and to seek pre-application advice from your local planning authority. For details, please look at your local planning authority’s website."


Technology for the Brent Cross Railway?



"Central China produces super-capacity light rail train"

"CHANGSHA, Aug. 10 (Xinhua) - The world's first super-capacity light rail train was completed Friday by China South Locomotive and Rolling Stock Corporation Limited (CSR) Zhuzhou Electric Locomotive Co., Ltd. in Zhuzhou, central China's Hunan province. [It was nearly ready on Thursday.]

"The new type of electric locomotive can be fully charged within 30 seconds during its station stops, as it has a box-type super capacitor on the roof and charge spots at the foot of every compartment, Xu Zongxiang, general manager of the company, said.

"The train, which can hold a maximum of 320 passengers, does not need a traditional pantograph installed on the roof to get electricity from the high-tension lines along the track, according to Xu.

"Xu said the train, which features low energy consumption and occupies less land, can provide a new solution for the construction of highly cost-effective and environmentally-friendly urban rail public transport."