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


Brookings Institution: "Inequality Rising and Permanent" (so where will regeneration capital give an acceptable return?)

Link to web site

"The distinction between permanent and transitory inequality is important for various reasons.

"First, it is useful in evaluating the proposed explanations for the documented increase in annual cross-sectional inequality. 
  • For example, if rising inequality reflects solely an increase in permanent inequality, then consistent explanations would include, for example, skill-biased technical change or long-lasting changes in firms’ compensation policies. 
  • By contrast, an increase in transitory inequality could reflect increases in income mobility, driven perhaps by greater flexibility among workers to switch jobs.

"Second, the distinction is useful, because it informs the welfare evaluation of cross-sectional inequality increases. 
  • Specifically, lifetime income captures long-term available resources, and hence an increase in permanent inequality would reduce welfare according to most social welfare functions. 
  • By contrast, increasing transitory inequality would have less of an effect on welfare, especially in the absence of liquidity constraints restricting consumption smoothing.” 


Estates Gazette: "Prioritise pedestrians on the high street"

Link to Estates Gazette

"An interesting press release from an organisation called Living Streets came rattling into the in-box a few hours ago.

"It's [sic] headline screams 'Cars have driven shoppers off our high streets'. It is a response to the CLG publication 'The Future of High Streets', which considers the work done as a consequence of the Portas Review in 2011. ...

"So... Living Streets has produced a report 'Making the Case for Investment in the Walking Environment' which totally challenges the CLG proposals to relax parking restrictions in high street locations to encourage custom.

"The report evaluates the health, economic, social and environmental benefits of investment in walking friendly public spaces, and finds that investing in walking environments can support local economies by increasing footfall, improving accessibility and attracting new business and events."

Trending City: "Snapshot of the Bicycle Renaissance"

Link to web site

"Bikes are the talk of the town these days, and for good reason. Their renewed surge in popularity has been immense. Italy has recently recorded that bike sales have outstripped car sales for the first time since World War II; the number of commuter cyclists in new York has doubled over the last five years; and for the first time in decades, a London borough (Hackney) has recorded that more people cycle to work (15%) than drive (12%). But all of this isn’t just a fad. To prove my point, I’d like to give you a brief snapshot of some of the amazing things happening across the globe in terms of bicycle infrastructure…

"Since you’re reading the Europe section of Trending City, I’d better start with the UK…

"London mayor Boris Johnson last week announced that the city will invest about £1 billion into cycling infrastructure over the next decade (with most being spent in the next few years). Yep, £1 billion! That’s a lot of money. So what’s actually happening? In addition to further investment into the Barclays Bikes Scheme (‘Boris Bikes’), 80,000 new cycle parking spaces are to be added, new cycle routes will be built, public pumps will be installed, junctions will be redesigned and signage improved. 

"And perhaps the most exciting thing in my opinion is investment into new Cycle Superhighways, similar to those in Copenhagen. These will not only give cyclists the opportunity to cover large distances at fast speeds without the hassle of private vehicle congestion, but will also help link up some of London’s more deprived outer boroughs into the inner city cycling network."


"Regenerating London: to develop, don't destroy"

"The capital's planning authorities should be keener on building up what is good in areas they wish to improve, and more cautious about knocking bits of them down"

Link to The Guardian

"...  Participation, in terms of democracy and London's ever-shifting demographic landscape, [is] all rather untidy. Untidiness makes work, and sometimes crystalises tensions, as the exercise of new neighbourhood planning powers has been demonstrating in part of Hackney and in Bermondsey.

"Maybe those powers have been badly defined, and are at risk of being misused by selfish, unrepresentative interests. But that wouldn't change the fact that local insights and local strengths should be bedrock factors guiding any programme of regeneration, especially if homes, shops and familiar facilities and are being earmarked for demolition in the name of improving the lives of those who inhabit and use them.

"In Responsible Recovery, a recent paper for think tank ResPublica, Julian Dobson writes – in a chapter called 'redefining regeneration' – that too often this has all got the wrong way round:
"In the most challenged places [across the country], people cling on. In streets earmarked for clearance under the Labour government's housing market renewal programmes homeowners, and tenants would often refuse to leave. People's attachment to place, family and community will often defy cajoling, compensation or coercion.

It can be tempting for policymakers to imagine that the problem is the stubbornness of the people. But look from the other end of the telescope, and you get a different view. From here, those who are 'hard to reach' are the policymakers and professionals."

Thurs 28 Mar: "Brent Cross Shopping Centre Spring Fashion" (Phew, What a Scorcher!)


"Ditch the woolly hat and leather gloves and leave the wellies at home. It’s time to get inspired for SS13 with the ultimate shopping and pamper event at Brent Cross, in partnership with Heart FM."

"On Thursday 28 March from 12pm – 4pm, you can take advantage of exclusive treats and discounts from some of your favourite stores and restaurants at Brent Cross, while you shop the new collections, and indulge in a pamper session or two with a FREE manicurist and make-up artist on hand.

Plus there is the chance to win a £1,000 Brent Cross Gift Card!" [It is not clear if that is guaranteeing that one will be won.]

"Excited? We thought so.

"Stay tuned, as we’ll be announcing a series of exciting offers and discounts in the run-up to the event."

The Grocer: "Town centres need 'night-time economies', report urges"

Link to web site

"The government needs a major rethink on its policy to town centres, including a drive to promote 24-hour economies, according to a new report out today.

"The findings, based on a pathfinder group set up by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills in Gloucestershire, claims policies have ignored the importance of the night-time economy in town centres."

Barnet Times: "Cricklewood Play Area to get £40,000 makeover"

Link to web site

"A play area in Cricklewood is set to have a £40,000 makeover as part of a new initiative to transform underused urban spaces in the capital.

"The money will be spent on providing Cricklewood Play Area with trees, shrubs, seats and paths, as well as a new children’s play area, picnic tables, and a communal gardening space."

[Reposted (Gettit?)] Top hats to Totteridge (Mrs Angry is on the left. And gets off before then.)

Link to Stamp Magazine

"Royal Mail will release an issue on the London Underground on January 9, 2013.

"The issue date coincides with the precise anniversary in 1863 of the first part of what was to become London’s Underground: the steam-driven Metropolitan Railway running between Paddington Station and Farringdon Street via King’s Cross."

(Pedantic note: the Underground only ran to Totteridge from 1940.)

StreetFight: "Local Retail Won’t Disappear - Mobile Will Transform the In-Store Experience"

Link to web site

"E-commerce sales topped $1 trillion for the first time in 2012 and the recent struggles of once-dominant big box retailers have led many to think that technology will win entirely, an retail apocalypse is near.

"But the belief by notable investors like Marc Andreessen, that web-enabled remote commerce will simply absorb the physical economy, underestimates the impact of mobility, and overlooks a more interesting question: What will buying things locally look like in 10 years? 

"Beaten in both price and product availability by e-commerce players, local retailers will need to rely on the third-leg of the retail stool: in-store experience."


[Reposted from Dec 2012] BarnetBugleVision presents: BBC's Sunday Politics Show

"Richard Cornelius interviewed on BBC Sunday Politics. Also interviewed are two others from Totteridge, Barbara Jacobson and estranged Barnet Councillor Mr Brian Coleman. Follow us on @barnetbugle"

"Housebuilding sets David Cameron and George Osborne against 'nimby' Tories"

(Thanks to news feed of Barnet Bugle)

Link to The Guardian

"David Cameron and George Osborne face a divisive battle with Conservative town halls over their £15bn plan to fuel a housebuilding boom, after a new 'nimby index' revealed that eight out of 10 Tory councillors believe their areas are already overdeveloped, or fine the way they are.

"In the wake of the chancellor's budget announcements aimed at boosting housebuilding, a poll by ComRes revealed that only a quarter of councillors from all parties believe their local areas are underdeveloped, while 87% of the public can be classed as nimbys.

"The extent of 'not in my back yard' resistance to development emerges in the week that Osborne introduced incentives for developers to build new homes by creating a £3.5bn scheme for interest-free loans to be available to buyers of such properties from next month. Ministers have also relaxed planning rules limiting construction on greenfield sites."

"Next chief blames incompetent councils for failing to regenerate high streets"

Link to The Guardian

"The head of fashion chain Next has blamed 'incompetent' local councils, who are resistant to change, for the grim state of some of the country's high streets, as he revealed 'quiet' trading since January.

"Lord Wolfson, a Conservative peer and government adviser, said:
"There is a big opportunity to grow retail in the UK by providing people with better shops. [There are] many towns and cities where the stock of shops is inadequate.

Some high streets have been neglected for 20 or 30 years and those are the ones that will die."


"Planning minister Nick Boles: New developments are 'quite likely to be ugly'" (Have you seen Hammerson's new Brent Cross Cinema?)

"The planning minister has admitted that new developments are 'quite likely to be ugly' and will put pressure on the local infrastructure, with few obvious benefits to communities."

Link to Daily Telegraph

"Nick Boles made the comments at a meeting with some of the country’s biggest property developers on Wednesday, as he privately promised that planning laws would be liberalised to create a building boom. [sic]

"He said:
“We’ve long believed that the fundamental problem is that nobody really has an incentive not to object to a new development.

It’s quite likely to be ugly, it will definitely add to the pressure on the road, the pressure on the doctor’s surgery and everything else, and it doesn’t ever seem to result in a cut in your council tax or in any other financial benefit.”

[Reposted] NINE PER CENT RISE IN A YEAR: As the media would say: "Good News on House Prices"

"Kensington and Chelsea sees 6.2 per cent monthly rise in asking prices, and up by average of 1.9pc in London since February"

Link to Evening Standard

"Sellers are in the strongest position in the most desirable areas of central London, with Kensington & Chelsea seeing a 6.2 per cent monthly rise in asking prices to £2.32 million, up 15.8  per cent on the same time last year, according to property website Rightmove.

"Westminster properties came to the market in March priced at an average of £1.58 million, up 5.8 per cent in a month or 14 per cent in a year.

"The biggest annual rise was 16.8 per cent in Hammersmith and Fulham, where average asking prices breached £1 million for the first time.

"Across London, average asking prices are 1.9 per cent higher than in February, at £496,298, and nine per cent higher than last year."


"Housing crisis means half of London's 'generation rent' have given up all hope of buying property"

Link to Evening Standard

"More than half of 'generation rent' have given up all hope of ever buying a home in London, an alarming new survey reveals today.

"Housing charities said the findings show how the homes crisis is “crushing aspiration” by pricing young Londoners off the property ladder for good. They come the day after Chancellor George Osborne unveiled a raft of emergency Budget measures to help first-time buyers, including state guarantees of up to £130 billion of mortgages.

"The research by campaigning group Shelter found that 55 per cent of private renters do not believe they will ever own the roof over their heads because of soaring property prices and the challenge of raising vast deposits."

Polis: "Suburban Transit Revolution" (Coming to Londres bientôt?)

Link to web site

"Paris is on the verge of a massive transportation upgrade, largely for the benefit of its long-neglected suburbs. The Boulevard Périphérique is currently a physical and psychological border between two unequal worlds. 

"The 2.2 million residents of Paris intra-muros rarely set foot in the banlieue, home to a lower-income and more ethnically diverse population of 9.5 million."


[Reposted] 20 Feb 2012: "Business Planning 2012/13 – 2014/15"

"This report sets out the Corporate Plan, Budget,
Council Tax and Medium Term Financial Strategy
for the period from 2012/13 to 2014/15"
(Click above for the full monty)

"(page 305: Appendix 10: Risk Register)
RISK ORG0010 –

Reputational/Strategic Development and Infrastructure –
"Development within the Borough through the medium-term is planned to deliver 8,800 new homes and an increase in population of 20,000 by 2015.
"There is a risk that funding and delivery mechanisms will not be in place to deliver the necessary physical, green and social infrastructure to accommodate the requirements of an increased population."
Current Assessment
Impact: Major (score 4)
Probability: Likely (score 4)
Rating: High (score 16:  RED  )
Control Actions
  • "Explore other innovative forms of funding Regeneration Board set up - 1st meeting February 2011"
    Implemented (100% complete)
    Target Date (Priority): Complete
  • "Section 106 negotiations underway for BX and other major developments as required
    Completed for BX, underway for Mill Hill East"
    In Progress (100% complete)
    Target Date (Priority): Complete
  • "Consider opportunities around Tax Increment Financing (TIF), particularly for BX/CR
    TIF Board established, appointed external consultant to consider options, development partners providing necessary information on infrastructure costs"
    In Progress (20% complete)
    Target Date (Priority): 30/09/2012 (Normal)
  • "Adopt a Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) charging schedule for Barnet
    Draft tariff estimated
    Report to Regeneration Board July 2011
    Adoption by June 2012"
    In Progress (30% complete)
    Target Date (Priority): 29/06/2012 (High)
  • "Develop a corporate approach to infrastructure delivery and securing of funding
    Develop a robust Infrastructure Delivery Plan and funding delivery matrix" [Ah, The Matrix!]
    In Progress (50% complete)
    Target Date (Priority): On-going
  • "Development of CIL tariff for Barnet, anticipated introduction Summer 2012" [Did you see ex-Barnet Stewie's figure, in Redbridge?] [2013 update: Stewie now works for Boris at the GLA]
    In Progress (0% complete)
    Target Date (Priority): On-going
Target Assessment
Impact: Moderate (score 3)
Probability: Possible (score 3)
Rating: Medium High (score 9:  ORANGE  )

[So that's okay then!]


"Boris Johnson has designs on making the capital one of world’s fittest cities." (Then, when he's PM, ...)

Link to Evening Standard

"Boris Johnson today backed proposals for a new 'fit city' design centre to help Londoners get healthier as they move around the capital.

"The organisation would look at ways of improving the design of streets, public spaces and buildings — for example by creating mini-parks, setting up sports facilities or by making cycling more accessible.

"Experts from New York’s Center for Active Design, attending a conference hosted by the Mayor, revealed they would be interested in helping to set up the new office in London.

"The influential body is behind projects such as the 'High Line', the public park and cycle route built on a rail line elevated above the streets on the West Side of Manhattan."

ARUP: "World-leading cities of the future will have to embrace the humble bicycle if they want to get ahead of the pack"

Link to Manchester Evening News

"That is the view of Mark Watts, director of multinational design firm Arup and a leading expert on sustainable planning.

"Mr Watts told the MIPIM property conference in Cannes that cities faced unprecedented challenges - with the population soaring, and human beings now consuming more natural resources than the earth was able to replace.

"But he said there were enough examples of smart, green thinking throughout the world to make him optimistic about the future.

"Mr Watts outlined a model 'future city' investing heavily in cycling, electric buses, energy-generating buildings and urban farms. And he said that ecologically sound policies adopted throughout the world had often been adopted for economic, rather than environmental, reasons."

Link to Cycling In The City
web site

"Earlier this week, the industrial giant Siemens published a report written by Professor David Begg who is, among many other things, publisher of Transport Times - a UK trade magazine for transport professionals. It's the sort of thing that talks about rail networks, road infrastructure, government policy.

"Siemens's report is entitled 'London’s Transport: Progress and Future Challenges' and it has a lot to say about cycling. Most noticeably, it has this to say:

"If [Boris Johnson] wants to go down in history as one of the world’s great radical Mayors then he must make bold decisions on how he wants to allocate road space. The litmus test will be how he responds to his Roads Task Force which will report shortly. If he wants to make London a city which is more associated with walking and cycling, with an urban realm to be proud of, then he needs to support a roads hierarchy whereby walking, cycling and buses are prioritised over cars at appropriate locations."


AtlanticCities: "A Brief History of Suburbia's Rise and Fall"

"The suburb has a claim to being one of the most successful and least loved inventions of the modern era.

"Many intellectuals, being city people at heart, find the suburb a hard place to love."

Link to web site

"So writes city historian Graeme Davison of Monash University, in Australia, in a recent issue of the Journal of Urban History. Davison goes on to chronicle a brief though rather complete rise and fall of the suburban lifestyle. Concentrating on England, but drawing support from the United States and Australia, Davison tracks suburbia from its ideological roots in the Victorian era, to its harsh detractors in the present.

" 'Like a hardy hybrid, the suburban idea has flourished even in environments remote from its origins, and outlived most of the criticisms hurled against it,' he writes."

PPS: "Stronger Citizens, Stronger Cities: Changing Governance Through a Focus on Place" (better than a new out-of-town Brent Cross cinema)

Link to web site

"As the link between bustling public spaces and economic development has grown stronger, some [US] government officials have started advocating for change in this arena. 

"After so many decades of top-down thinking, the learning curve is steep, and many officials are trying to solve human problems with design solutions. But a new citizen-centered model has also begun to emerge, that we’ve come to call Place Governance.

In Place Governance, officials endeavor to draw more people into the civic decision-making process. When dealing with a dysfunctional street, for instance, answers aren’t only sought from transportation engineers—they’re sought from merchants who own businesses along the street, non-profit organizations working in the surrounding community, teachers and administrators at the school where buses queue, etc. The fundamental actors in a Place Governance structure are not official agencies that deal with specific slices of the pie, but the people who use the area in question and are most intimately acquainted with its challenges.

Officials who strive to implement this type of governance structure do so because they understand that the best solutions don’t come from within narrow disciplines, but from the points where people of different backgrounds come together.

The Guardian: "High street sees rise in number of shoppers"

Link to web site

"Britons are shunning out-of-town shopping centres and returning to the high street, according to a new report. The British Retail Consortium and Springboard said the number of shoppers on the high street rose by 2.7% last month compared with February 2012, while shoppers in out-of-town locations dropped by 1.5% and in shopping centres by 1.6%.

"Diane Wehrle, research director at Springboard, said:
"For the high street, one swallow does not make a summer, but these results might hint at the green shoots of recovery, or at least some stabilisation in the current environment."


CyclistsInTheCity: "Transport for London admits that investing in cycling makes transport cheaper and more efficient"

Link to web site

"This [new TfL] business model has been the norm for decades in countries like Denmark and the Netherlands. In both, they invest in cycling because it makes economic sense. And it does that because they account for cycling properly: The Cycling Embassy of Denmark pointed out last year that the country 'saves approximately £0.30 per cycled compared to per driven kilometre'.

"If you base your business case on that sort of statistic, then investment in cycling flows just like any other transport investment, not as a sort of unloved last minute add-on. If, as in the UK until now, you base your business case on short-term benefits and disbenefits that don't count cycling properly, you get virtually no investment in cycling.

"What you get when you do the maths properly is something that looks and feels very different to the UK, where we design our transport systems based on flawed business case models."


Sunday Express: "Crisis as we all stop shopping" (But what would Diana have done?)

Sky News video:
"Artists Find New Use
For Shuttered Shops"

[Reposted] Cricklewood Forum opposes Brent Cross plan (Barnet Times, 14/01/2010)

Vanity Fair: "A Tale of Two Londons"

Link to web site

"The really curious aspect of One Hyde Park can be appreciated only at night. Walk past the complex then, and you notice nearly every window is dark. As John Arlidge wrote in The Sunday Times:
“It’s dark. Not just a bit dark—darker, say, than the surrounding buildings—but black dark. Only the odd light is on. . . . Seems like nobody’s home.”
"That’s not because the apartments haven’t sold. London land-registry records say that 76 had been by January 2013 for a total of $2.7 billion—but, of these, only 12 were registered in the names of warm-blooded humans, including Christian Candy, in a sixth-floor penthouse. The remaining 64 are held in the names of unfamiliar corporations: three based in London; one, called One Unique L.L.C., in California; and one, Smooth E Co., in Thailand.

"The other 59—with such names as Giant Bloom International Limited, Rose of Sharon 7 Limited, and Stag Holdings Limited—belong to corporations registered in well-known offshore tax havens, such as the Cayman Islands, the British Virgin Islands, Liechtenstein, and the Isle of Man.
[Brent Cross's Hammerson has its employee share scheme administered from an off-shore tax haven. Hammerson has also jointly developed part of the Brent Cross Cricklewood redevelopment site with a company based in another off-shore tax haven. 

In addition, 'Clean Power Properties Ltd.', an off-shore tax-haven company, has stated its intention to build a waste incinerator at Brent Cross Cricklewood, in association with Network Rail. It might well have noticed the so-far-unbuilt Hammerson Brent Cross waste incinerator, for which Barnet council granted planning permission in 2009.

Just saying.]
"From this we can conclude at least two things with certainty about the tenants of One Hyde Park: they are extremely wealthy, and most of them don’t want you to know who they are and how they got their money."


ACS: "Help support and achieve diverse and healthy local centres"

Link to 'Association of Convenience Stores'

"This guide has been produced by ACS to help local businesses, communities and councils understand how town planning can be used to help support and achieve diverse and healthy local centres, which are at the hearts of their communities.

"It sets out practical guidance on how and when to get involved with shaping and influencing the planning policies and decisions which affect local centres, now and in the future. The document also assists understanding on how the range of ‘planning tools’ available can be used to positively support town centres."

"The ghosts of 2012 have faded but new life is flooding into the Olympic Park"

Link to Evening Standard

"... Olympic Park — the focal point of the event — was off limits to the public within hours of the end of the Paralympic closing ceremony.

"Many felt that Boris Johnson, by allowing the gates to be padlocked, surrendered to the demands of engineers and project managers to have the whole site back for conversion work. The feelg-ood factor had been unnecessarily snuffed out, it was claimed.

"This week, the Evening Standard took a tour to check on progress of the £6-billion makeover of the Lower Lea Valley, and learn of the Mayor’s plans to connect the Games site to the residents who have been promised so much."


[Reposted from 2012, before Hammerson's surrender] CROYDON WHITGIFT: Hammerson's Titantic against Westfield's Iceberg (or the other way round)

 (click above)

Hammerson produces a soaring golden eagle
of a 'fly-through animation' video,
for its Croydon Whitgift development.

(It has never released its dead-pigeon fly-through
of its Brent Cross disaster.)


11 September 2012

"Residents and businesses of Croydon are invited to a week-long exhibition to view the emerging proposals for Whitgift Quarter.

"Whitgift Quarter will bring together a redeveloped Whitgift Centre together [sic] with North End and Centrale to transform the centre of Croydon with retail, restaurants and new homes. The development will provide in the region of 5,000 permanent retail and leisure jobs for local people.

"Robin Dobson, Hammerson Director for Retail Development said:
"We’ve spent many months working on our plans, and listening to local people’s views about what they want to see from the redevelopment of Croydon. But there’s still time for more people’s views to be heard, and this exhibition, and the launch of the Whitgift Quarter website, is an important part ensuring the scheme meets the needs of people who live and work in the town.

We very much hope that as many people as possible will be able to come and see the emerging plans. Representatives from the project team will be on hand to explain the scheme, talk to members of the public and answer any questions."

The public exhibition is being held at Centrale, in the North End Mall, adjacent to Café Giardino, which will be open from Mon 10 to Sat 15 Sept, from 10am to 5pm.

An additional exhibition will also be in North End, in between Centrale and The Whitgift Centre on:
Wed 12 Sept, 10am-5pm
Thurs 13 Sept, 12pm-8pm
Fri 14 Sept, 10am-5pm
Sat 15 Sept, 10am-5pm.
A website has also been launched [above] where local people can find out more, and provide feedback on the proposals at www.whitgiftquartercroydon.co.uk

Catrin Morgan, Hammerson 
0207 887 1063
Tim Danaher, Brunswick Group
0207 404 5959

What Hammerson says on this new web site, about itself:

"Hammerson has been creating and managing some of the most exciting retail destinations for over 60 years.

"Our complex regeneration projects have delivered landmark architecture and thousands of new jobs helping our retail occupiers and local communities to thrive.

"We have a strong track record of successful partnerships with local authorities, landowners and developers.

"We have a well-earned reputation for delivering exceptional schemes, notably Bullring in Birmingham, the Oracle in Reading and Brent Cross in North London."
[We agree - Hammerson has a VERY WELL-EARNED REPUTATION regarding Brent Cross in North London.]


"Plans for Whitgift Quarter are being developed by the Croydon Alliance – a new partnership of leading property owners in Croydon, who are looking at how Croydon town centre can be transformed. The Croydon Alliance members are Royal London Asset Management, IBRC Assurance Company and Hammerson, - which between them own 75% of the Whitgift Centre and 100% of Centrale.

"Hammerson is the lead developer for the proposals, supported by the following team:
  • Urban Splash – Residential Developer
  • Farrells – Masterplanners
  • RTKL – Retail specialists."

[Rival Westfield (below) is supported by the Whitgift Foundation, as freeholder and 25% leaseholder of the Whitgift Centre.]

Link to the Alternative World of
(no fly-through yet, though)

So which is it going to be?

Which is the Titanic, and which is the Iceberg?

Avoiding Corruption in Croydon:


The Atlantic: "A Conversation With Fred Kent, Leader in Revitalizing City Spaces"

Link to web site

"For someone who makes a living revitalizing city spaces, Fred Kent has an interesting take on professional urban designers: he thinks they're overrated.

"The real urban design experts, he says, are the ordinary people who actually live and work within a community. And with his nonprofit organization, Project for Public Spaces (PPS), Kent is doing his best to empower them.

"Founded in 1975, Project for Public Spaces helps community members design, plan, and manage public spaces by considering their own needs and values. Kent calls this process Placemaking, and he has used it to transform popular landmarks around the world, including Detroit's historic Eastern Market, Houston's Discovery Green park, and New York City's Times Square.

"Here, he discusses the difference between Placemaking and traditional design, how public spaces can foster stronger communities, and why ordinary people make the best urban planners."

Brent Cross's Hammerson has connections with Off-shore Tax Havens - so here's a video just for you

The Barnet Cycling Superhighway

(Click to enlarge)

Watch the video on

"Councillors for hire who give firms planning advice"

Link to Daily Telegraph

"Councillors across the country are offering themselves for hire to property developers who are hoping to take advantage of relaxed planning laws which come into effect within weeks, a Daily Telegraph investigation reveals on Monday.

"Local government politicians are trading on their inside knowledge of the planning system to receive fees of up to £20,000 for advice on how to get developments approved, it can be disclosed.

"Despite apparently creating the potential for a conflict of interest, it is not illegal for councillors to work as paid consultants. Councils are expected to face an increase in applications for building when new planning laws take effect at the end of this month."


[Reposted from Apr 2012] London Communications Agency: "All the News that's Fit to Print! (except we won't, because we're a PR company)"

"London Communications Agency (LCA) are an award-winning specialist consultancy, focusing on London and London issues. Using our knowledge, expertise and insight, LCA bring you the latest on all the top London issues of the day." 

Plenty of London news!

For instance, as shown by the red arrows in the screen-print above, there is LCA news of a by-election result in Brent:

Link to LCA web site
[Feb 2013: Brent Town Hall is being sold,
to become a French secondary school]
"The Liberal Democrats retained their council seat in the Dollis Hill by-election held in the London borough of Brent.

Alison Hopkins won the seat with 1,205 votes, beating Labour candidate Parvez Ahmed by just 37 votes. 

Hopkins is a well-know local campaigner and has lived in Dollis Hill for over 55 years. Most recently she has been fighting the council plans to close half the libraries in the borough and the slashing of the borough’s street cleaning budget."

Strangely, there is no mention of Alison's long-standing campaigning against Barnet's and Hammerson's Brent Cross Cricklewood development!

Numerous on-line references have been available, all ignored by London Communications Agency, and details are repeated in this latest LibDem article:

New LibDem Councillor Alison Hopkins
(2nd from right) campaigning
 with Sarah Teather MP and 
Baroness Ludford MEP
"Local campaigner Alison Hopkins has become Brent's newest councillor, after winning the by-election in Dollis Hill. The Liberal Democrat candidate triumphed by 37 votes in the highly marginal ward.

"Alison is also one of the founding members of the Coalition for a Sustainable Brent Cross Cricklewood Regeneration, a campaign group that has worked with Brent Central MP Sarah Teather to fight Barnet's plans to build a massive rubbish dump on the doorstep of Dollis Hill." [And other aspects of the scheme.]

And WHY isn't 'campaigning against Brent Cross Cricklewood' mentioned by London Communications Agency in its 'London News'?

Oh, because (see yellow arrow below) the Brent Cross Cricklewood developers are clients of London Communications Agency, of course!

As a Brent Councillor, Alison joins existing Brent Cross Coalition member, Labour Councillor Shafique Choudhary.

Councillor Alison Hopkins, who lives in Dollis Hill, says:
“I’m so grateful to the people of Dollis Hill for their support, and for electing me to Brent Council. I have actively opposed the damaging and misguided Brent Cross Cricklewood Regeneration scheme for years. I will go on fighting to stop the current plans ever being implemented. My predecessor, the late Alec Castle, strongly believed the plans would destroy our community, and I totally agree with that view. The massive waste dump and disastrous road changes must be stopped. The scheme should be about people, with improved public transport and decent housing, not just yet more shops.”

Councillor Shafique Choudhary, who lives in Cricklewood, says:
“We are disappointed that our excellent Labour candidate narrowly failed to win the Dollis Hill seat last Thursday. The Liberal Democrats will need to work hard to stop us taking it next time. Nevertheless, I welcome Alison to the Council, and we will work together to stop the Brent Cross plan, on which Barnet Council completely failed to consult properly, here in the neighbouring borough of Brent.”