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


The Brent Cross light railway?

Link to 'Express & Star' web site

"It covers less than a mile and trundles along at a maximum speed of 20mph with the engine of a car [which spins up a fly-wheel at the two ends of the journey] – but the Stourbridge Shuttle is being held up as the way forward for the national rail network.

"... Author David Henshaw says the Parry People Mover rail bus, which ferries over 500,000 passengers a year on the three-minute link between Stourbridge Town and Junction stations, could be used to bring back into use branch lines which were axed by Dr Richard Beeching 50 years ago.

The ultra lightweight piece of rolling stock, which has been in operation on the Stourbridge line for four years, is made by Cradley Heath based Parry People Movers Ltd and is powered by a 2.3 litre [petrol] engine."


Barnet Press and Barnet Times

"Regeneration in London has pushed poor families out"

Link to The Guardian

"Regeneration in London appears to be having some positive impacts: new developments have been built on sites that were once industrial, and long-term population decline has been reversed.

"Despite this, urban regeneration has both created and reproduced widening economic and social inequalities in the capital. The trickle-down benefits promised by regeneration schemes, that support of businesses would eventually benefit middle and lower income families, have not materialised.

"... London's regeneration has become little more than the private sector building expensive properties. More and more housing is being built on and around council estates, led by the government under the guise of the 'mixed communities policy'.

"... Local authorities in London must halt this process and pull back from property-led regeneration schemes that are widening inequalities across London and endangering the distinctive quality of life in the capital. Instead of bulldozing council estates, many of which are structurally sound, and building new so-called 'mixed income communities', they should be looking to refurbish existing property, keeping tenants in situ, and learning the lessons from the failures of urban renewal in the 1960s and 1970s."

North Circular Road: "Green Party campaigners say DEFRA is cutting local air pollution monitoring funding with no alternatives in place"

Link to Waltham Forest Guardian

"Air pollution monitoring sites could soon permanently close and leave people unable to protect themselves, according to the Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party.

"In June, a Freedom of Information request submitted to Transport for London revealed that a section of the A406 North Circular Road, which runs through Walthamstow, is the most polluted road in London.

"The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) consultation, which was due to end on Friday, has now been extended by two weeks."


[Reposted] GLA: "London’s population surge (to 10 million) could mean 300,000 more school places needed by 2031"

18 April 2013

"The number of school children in London is set to increase by 25 per cent over the next 20 years as London’s population is projected to exceed 10 million, the London Assembly heard today[1].

"At a meeting of the Assembly’s Planning Committee, Demographic consultant John Hollis said based on current projections, by 2031 there will be 300,000 more 4-15 year olds than there are today and overall London is likely to be home to more than 9 million people by 2020 and 10 million by the 2030s.

"He also said that the capital is likely to need an extra 50,000 homes a year over the next 25 years to cope with the increase in residents.

"The Committee heard how London’s predicted growth could have a significant impact on people’s quality of life and demand for community facilities. For example, the predicted population growth would mean an additional 16 million square metres of playing fields based on current levels of provision.

"Martin Crookston, an urban economist and planner, said:
“There is not going to be much room for extra houses if you want 16 million square metres of playing fields. Something is going to have to give, in terms of how you apply your standards. You are going to have to change them”
"The expert panel discussed with Members options for accommodating the capital’s growth, including greater use of London’s brownfield land, enhancing suburban town centres within London, focusing development around stations within London and transport corridors, and building on green spaces, including the green belt.

"Nicky Gavron AM [right], Chair of the Planning Committee, said:
"London is facing extraordinary growth, with its population set to increase by around a million over the next decade and another million by the 2030s.

That will have a major impact on people’s lives. Where will 300,000 more children go to school? Where will the jobs be? Where will 50,000 new homes be built every year?

The Mayor has committed to ensuring Londoners enjoy a good and improving quality of life[2] but to achieve this in the face of such population growth, he faces some difficult decisions. He needs the very best evidence and research to help make them.

We need to be ready for the challenges ahead. The Committee will continue to investigate this issue and identify new ideas, financing and partnerships, and lessons the Mayor can learn from other European cities when he comes up with his revised plans for London.”
"As a follow up to today’s meeting, the Committee plans to hold a seminar on London’s population growth later this year. The Mayor will shortly set out his 2020 vision for London and his Statement of Intent for major revisions to the London Plan."
  1. Watch a webcast of the meeting
  2. See the Policy 1.1 of the Mayor’s London Plan
  3. The Chair of the Planning Committee, Nicky Gavron AM, is available for interview!
  4. As well as investigating issues that matter to Londoners, the London Assembly acts as a check and a balance on the Mayor. (Boris: "Crickey! Does it?")

Barnet Council: "Plans to makeover Cricklewood Town Centre go on show"

"Barnet residents will be able to have their say on plans to revamp Cricklewood Town Centre, thanks to a £1.6m grant from the Mayor of London’s Outer London Fund.

"The plans to make-over the town centre area include planting trees, installing new street furniture and repairing carriageways, paving and footways. As well as many more improvements it is hoped that the end result will see Cricklewood Town Centre transformed into a more cohesive and vibrant place to visit and shop.

"The detailed plans and designs will be available for residents to view at the Crown Moran Hotel, 142-152 Cricklewood Broadway, London NW2 3ED from 12pm to 8pm on Thursday 5 September and 12pm to 6pm on Saturday 7 September at the Silk Road Festival.

"Residents will also have a chance to make their thoughts known on plans to transform Cricklewood Playground. The park will have better connections to the town centre, trees will be planted, a new play area will be installed as well as a multi-use games area and a communal garden space.

"The council will host an activity day at Cricklewood Playground on Saturday 21st September, from 10.00am to 1.00pm. At this event council officers will be showing plans of the park, answering questions and residents will be asked to fill in questionnaires to register their views.

"Barnet Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, Councillor Dean Cohen, said: “These are challenging times for all of the country’s high streets. This is an opportunity to bring together residents, business owners and all three local authorities with responsibility for the area to start on the road to transforming the town centre into a vibrant place for all. I look forward to hearing residents views on these plans.”

"The town centre improvements consultation starts on 4th September and ends on 20th September. The consultation for Cricklewood Pocket Park will also start on the 4th September and will run until the 16th October 2013. Residents can register their views at one of the public events or alternatively they can visit http://engage.barnet.gov.uk/.

"For more information please contact the Town Centre Projects team by emailing regeneration@barnet.gov.uk or ring 020 8359 3124."

GOOD NEWS ON HOUSE PRICES: "Deposit for first home in London hits all-time high of £64,000"

Link to Evening Standard

"The average deposit for first-time buyers in London has hit an all-time high of £64,000, figures reveal today.

"Rising prices and lenders’ refusal to advance 'high-risk' mortgages means they are being forced to find ever more cash to own a property.

"The hurdle has not stopped a flood of first-timers returning to the housing market with £2.5 billion worth of mortgages advanced in the spring, up by almost half on last year.

Property experts said buyers have been encouraged by record low mortgage rates, schemes such as 'Help to Buy' and a fear of being left behind by a rising market."


Daily Telegraph: "John Lewis to open Westfield London store" (that's White City or Shepherd's Bush to you)

Link to web site

"The department store chain John Lewis is close to agreeing a deal to open its fourth London store at an extension of the Westfield shopping centre.

"It is understood that the retailer is keen to open at the west London site but a final decision will be taken at board meeting for the John Lewis Partnership scheduled for next month.

"Westfield has drawn up ambitious plans to extend its shopping centre in Shepherd’s Bush, which opened in 2008. It has outline planning permission for work to begin on a £1bn scheme next to the existing centre that includes 550,000 sq ft of retail, led by a department store, along with 1,500 homes, restaurants and offices."

London Communications Agency successfully places story about Wembley Designer Outlet in the Evening Standard (bit more difficult with Brent Cross, eh?)

[Didn't give it a relevant picture though]
Link to Evening Standard

"London's first designer outlet village offering discounts of up to 70 per cent on top brands is set to open this autumn near Wembley Stadium.

"The London Designer Outlet will be the first centre of its kind inside the M25 with names such Superdry, Nike and LK Bennett already signed up.

"... Detailed plans for the new centre - just ten miles from the West End - are set to be unveiled by developers Quintain next month with an opening date slated for October. It will have 85 shops, 15 restaurants and a nine-screen cinema.

"... James Saunders, chief operating officer at Quintain, said:
"London has plenty of standard shopping centres. We are three miles from Brent Cross and five miles from Westfield. It didn’t need another standard shopping centre." [Well, quite.]


[Reposted from Sep 2011] Evening Standard: "Mega-malls 'are sucking the life out of small shops' "

Link to Evening Standard

"London's new mega-malls are putting local shops under pressure - with many owners afraid their businesses may not survive.

"On the day that retailers face their quarterly rent deadline - paying three months' rent in advance - shop owners at Vicarage Field shopping centre in Barking said the opening of the vast Westfield Stratford City shopping mall nearby had already 'sucked the life out' of their site."


The Guardian: "Minister fails to back call for crackdown on 'rabbit hutch' homes"

Hop to web site

"Communities minister Don Foster on Tuesday failed to back calls for a crackdown on 'rabbit hutch' house building which has seen the size of new homes shrink by almost half since the 1920s.

"In a much-anticipated consultation paper, Foster said he would seek views from industry and others, but dashed campaigners' hopes that the government would come out in favour of new minimum space standards for new homes.

"... The wording was in sharp contrast to outspoken remarks from Foster's departmental boss, communities secretary Eric Pickles, who in March blamed aspects of the previous Labour government's housing policy – which have since been ditched – for condemning families to be "trapped in rabbit hutch homes too small for their needs"."


The Independent:

"'Rabbit hutch' housing
to be curbed by Government"

"The Department for Communities and Local Government
said it was considering forcing architects to design bigger rooms."

New John Lewis Brent Cross planned for next to the North Circular Road

Link to BBC web site

"Have you ever wondered where you or your children may be living in 2050? Experts predict that by then, three-quarters of the world's population will live in cities. For part of its Tomorrow's Cities season, the BBC takes a look through the crystal ball to imagine what city life might be like in 40 years' time."

[Republished, because BX's transport consultants "don't recognise" the figure] London Borough of Barnet's estimate of over 29,000 extra cars a day in the area...

Note: The Barnet document (copied below) is part of the 'Supplementary Planning Guidance', approved by Barnet Cabinet, on which the 2009 planning application was then based!

Remember now?


Good News on House Prices: "Warning of London housing bubble as mortages soar by 29%"

Link to web site

"A dramatic surge in mortgage lending today sparked fresh fears about a dangerous house price bubble in London.

"Banks and building societies advanced home loans worth £16.6 billion last month, up 29 per cent on last year and the biggest rise for seven years.

"... Mark Field, Conservative MP for the Cities of London and Westminster, said:
"The London market has never really been in the doldrums. The danger here is that affordability of property prices becomes ever more a fantasy for more and more people."

[Reposted from June 2011] Ham & High: "Barnet audit reveals serious failings at billion pound council"

Link to web site

"Barnet’s billion pound budget is larger than 23 of the world’s national economies, and 220,000 residents rely on its services, but a report revealed this week that it was commonplace across departments that long, expensive arrangements with companies are being entered into without formal contracts. Monitoring is often ineffective, or non-existent.

"In the case of security firm MetPro Rapid Response which, for the first time in the council’s history, was subject to an individual audit, this failure meant that a company operating without proper licenses was paid £1.4million over six years, without any record of a formal contract.

"Despite working with vulnerable people, MetPro was not forced to undergo appropriate CRB checks and was not held to any specific set of requirements for the payments it received.

"The findings were presented at a meeting of the audit committee last Thursday. The meeting, which seldom attracts public interest, was attended by around 40 residents."

... including Mrs Angry...

Link to 'Broken Barnet'

Daily Telegraph: "Britain's ugliest new buildings named." (No, Hammerson haven't started building the Brent Cross caropolis, silly.)

Click on a ninth-floor window to see the web site

"The shortlist for the 2013 Carbuncle Cup, awarded by Building Design magazine, has been unveiled. The annual prize recognises the very worst in modern architecture.

"Among the listed designs is The Premier Inn (above), Lambeth. Built on the site of a neo-Georgian 1930s red-brick building, it is described by its nominator as an 'abysmal, identikit' building. 'It’s hard to imagine a less inviting frontage,' they add.

"The Port Eirias Watersports Centre (above) in Colwyn Bay is also in the reckoning for the gong. It is 'oppressively bland, shaped like a dumpster, and totally insensitive to the beautiful surrounding coast,' according to the magazine."


The Observer: "Home ownership: how the property dream turned into a nightmare"

"In this exclusive extract from his book, The Default Line, the economics editor for Channel 4 News traces the origins of the housing bubble, and argues that we're condemning a whole generation to paying absurd prices for what is a basic human need – and it doesn't have to be this way"

Link to web site

"... Remarkably, through the credit bubble, the likes of Northern Rock and Bradford & Bingley boasted to investors that Britain's 'very limited' rate of housebuilding supported their doomed strategies. Successive governments delivered that help.

"The deal for Britain's young has transpired as follows:
pay taxes,
pay high rents, and
endure the sharpest points of austerity,
in order to help support a housing system that is delivering wildly expensive houses, or none at all, and to help bail out the failed banks that were built on that system.

"Are we going to load the burden of adjustment from a decade-long bubble on to people who happen to have been born in the 1980s and 1990s? Progressive voices keen to redistribute through benefits have said very little about the overarching negative redistribution caused by the trebling of house prices. All political parties claim to want to foster 'social mobility', yet it seems that where you live will be determined more now by where your parents lived.

"The recent history of property in Britain is wrapped up in notions of freedom and the social mobility of owner-occupation and right-to-buy. Yet right now, Britain faces a return to a more traditional relationship with the land, in which property is the principal agent for holding back opportunity for all."

The Independent: "CBI ups growth forecasts but warns over economic recovery"

Link to web site

"The UK economy's gathering momentum saw the CBI today raise its growth forecasts for 2013 and 2014, but the business group warned that Britain is still falling short of a 'sustainable recovery'.

"The employers' body is forecasting growth of 1.2 per cent this year – above its May forecasts of 1 per cent – and a stronger 2.3 per cent advance in 2014, after a better-than-expected second quarter and a broad-based rise in confidence across services, construction and manufacturing sectors.

"But efforts to rebalance the economy towards exports and investment are still struggling to get out of the starting blocks, according to the CBI's director-general John Cridland, who said trade was making a limited contribution to the recovery."


GOOD NEWS ON HOUSE PRICES: Sunday Times: "London house prices ‘poised to soar 40%’"

Link to web site (subscribe for full story)

"SURVEYORS have predicted that London house prices will soar 40% over the next five years, renewing fears that government policies are stoking a property bubble.

"The upturn in the housing market is putting the government under pressure to rethink its controversial Help to Buy mortgage guarantee scheme, which starts in January. Critics say further taxpayer support could pump up prices to unsustainable levels."

The Independent:
"Beware of the bubble as home prices climb"

Thanks to Boris and Hammerson, book a place to discuss Croydon's ambitious five-year plan

Someone who won't be there
Link to Croydon Guardian

"Get the chance to discuss the five-year plan for Croydon town centre at a conference this November.

"By 2018 Croydon will have a Westfield  and Hammerson shopping centre at its heart, thousands of new homes, new offices, roads, bridges, schools and public courtyards, which will transform the area."

Brent & Kilburn Times, and Barnet Times (x2)


New York Times animation: "From buildings to bike lanes to painting over Broadway, how New York changed in 12 years of Bloomberg"

Open animation (in new window)
(Begin, then use up/down arrows, top-right)

"Mr Bloomberg and Amanda M. Burden, director of the Department of City Planning, rezoned 37 percent of the city and claimed credit for creating opportunities for high-density growth along subway corridors, while preserving low-density neighborhoods. Critics said that this simply cleared the way for gentrification and that the city fell behind on building affordable housing for lower-income New Yorkers.

"An often-cited example is the dilapidated industrial waterfront in Williamsburg, now the city’s nascent fifth skyline. Whether the luxury high-rises of Williamsburg are good or bad for the city is a matter of continuing debate among city politicians and residents, and is even a plot line in the HBO series 'Girls'.

"... The mayor fought a war of attrition with the automobile. He sought to transform bicycling from a recreational activity into a real alternative to cars. By 2013, the city had added about 450 miles of bike lanes, carved mostly from the city's roadways."

"Hammerson ‘could retain ownership’ of city retail quarter land"

Link to web site

"The saga of Sheffield’s new city centre retail quarter took a fresh twist this week, as it emerged that property firm Hammerson could still work on part of the development - despite parting ways with the council over the complete scheme.

"... Hammerson said it had not decided when to begin work on Sheffield’s scheme because it had taken on other commitments including centres in Leeds and Croydon.

"... Sheffield Council leader Councillor Julie Dore said:
"The details of the major development agreement with Hammerson are complex but, one thing is for sure, Sheffield will not be held to ransom by anyone." [Not something Barnet's Richard Cornelius is ever likely to say.]

The Economist: "Living standards: Squeezing the hourglass"

Link to web site

"... A Spartan future awaits the 40% of working-age Britons who are falling behind. They are in the bottom half of the income scale but, unlike the poorest 10%, predominantly live off wages, not benefits. Their predicament dates to the early 2000s, when GDP and earnings peeled apart. Living costs have since left median wages far behind (see chart).

"The plate tectonics of the labour market offer the best explanation for this. With a declining industrial base, the British economy needs fewer mid-level skilled workers. Most new posts are low- or high-paying ones (see chart 2). Many in the middle lack the skills to move up and are pushed towards the low-wage end of the economy. Machinists and tradesmen become cashiers and call-centre workers."

"The notion that the Bank of England base rate is dominant and we should all go shopping has already been punctured"

Link to web site

The Guardian: "No, this is not the road to recovery. It's the road to Wongaland"

"Before becoming chancellor, George Osborne provided a sound analysis of the British economy. In his Mais Lecture of February 2010, he said: "The overhang of private debt in our banking system and our households weighs heavy on future prosperity." A new model, he announced, rooted in more investment, more savings and higher exports, would require "new policies and new institutions".

"... [However,] for three years the government has revived and propped up a very old, Victorian model of the economy. Just as in the 19th century, bankers or creditors dominate policymaking, ensuring that the value of their assets (mainly debt) is not just stable but rises relative to profits, wages and incomes.

"... Far from pursuing a 'new economic model' based on investment, savings and exports, it's back to the old inflate-the-housing-market-and-boost-consumption meme – but this time with a high-debt, low-wage economy. That is the road to Wongaland."

Link to web site

Daily Telegraph: "Are we in a new 'Alice in Wongaland' spending bubble? No: consumer confidence is up, but that's a good thing"

"Ann Pettifor, director of Prime Economics, is a fantastic economist. She was way ahead of her peers in 2006, when she published her prophetic booklet “The Coming First World Debt Crisis”. She never sought out the limelight, like rivals  who had only loosely identified the looming crisis, but instead stuck to valuable forensic research.

"And now, following stonking retail sales growth in July, she has coined one of the catchphrases of the year with her claim that Britain has an 'Alice in Wongaland economy' reliant on the ephemeral 'confidence fairy'.

"This time, though, I can’t agree with her. There is no new consumer debt bubble. Households are not 'plundering their savings', as she put it. House prices are not spiralling out of control. There is a fear that the Government is stoking another bubble, but it is no more than that for now – a fear."


Sun 18 Aug: Walk on the abandoned railway route from Mill Hill East

"The Northern Line is not running next weekend, from Stockwell to all points north. Replacement buses will be running. Try to be on time (11-45 am for 12-00 noon start) but we will wait for replacement buses to arrive at Mill Hill East tube station."


"Good news and bad. Good news first - the weather forecast for Sunday is cloudy and sunny, no rain and 20 degrees C. Perfect walking weather.

"Bad news - Security has vetoed our visit to the National Institute for Medical Research library, after the Director's office approved it. The Director's office said: 'If you want to visit the library I can arrange it.' Then just: 'I'm afraid your proposed visit on Sunday cannot go ahead, for safety and security reasons.'

"Still, we've got plenty of other things to see on Sunday."

[Friday repeat] "OK Hammerson, you've got your eight discs, and your luxury of avoiding London Communications Agency, so what book would you want to take with you?"

'I'll take this, Kirsty'

"Urban plans help shape the future of a community by addressing everything from housing and transportation to natural resources, public utilities, and more. You don’t have to be a professional urban planner to get involved in planning your community’s future.

"Whether you participate in the planning process, serve as a local planning commissioner, or help carry out your community’s plan, you can play an important part:
  • Land use:
    The land use component of an urban plan assesses how land is being used by different kinds of activities (for example, residential or industrial). It also lays out a plan for the future, showing how land will be used for different activities. The land use component of a plan not only looks into what areas of the community are most suitable for future development or need to be conserved, but also helps a community establish zoning codes and other land use regulations to guide future development.
  • Housing:
    Cities and towns are home to many different types of housing, including everything from small houses to high-rise apartment buildings. The housing component of an urban plan determines what types of housing are present in the community today and what types of housing may be needed in the future. It addresses the housing needs of people with disabilities, low-income families, and other people with specific needs.
  • Transportation:
    The transportation component of an urban plan assesses the overall transportation system serving the community, including everything from roads and highways for cars and trucks, to subways and buses for public transportation, to dedicated paths for walking and bicycling. Planning for transportation helps ensure that every part of the city is adequately served by the transportation system and that all the people in the community can get where they need to go."

Daily Telegraph: "Britain has 'Alice in Wongaland' economy"

Smash with hammer for web site

"Retail figures, published by the Office for National Statistics this morning, showed that people are returning to Britain's High Streets.

"Sales rose at their fastest annual rate in over two years in July, official data showed on Thursday. Volumes rose 1.1pc on the month, almost twice as fast as expected to give an annual rise of 3pc and the highest since January 2011.

"Experts have said that the warm weather, increased consumer confidence and the 'feel good factor' created by the Royal Wedding stimulated growth.

"However Ann Pettifor, of Prime Economics, warned that the improved figures were fuelled by debt and will ultimately prove to be 'unsustainable'."

The Guardian:
"Does Britain have an
'Alice in Wongaland' economy?"


"London's new great-looking, low-energy 'green' homes" (At Brent Cross? No, Hammerson's getting out, and Barnet's not found anyone yet)

Link to Evening Standard

"For decades, 'green' housing existed only on the margins of the property market, dismissed by the public as faddish and unreliable — the fixation of overzealous eco-architects. But attitudes have changed and eco-homes are entering the mainstream.

"... Developers no longer have the choice. Regulations insist on eco-friendly construction to meet the Government’s target for all new homes to be carbon-neutral by 2016: those who fail to rise to the challenge risk being refused planning permission."

"Since April 2008, all new developments have been covered by a code grading properties on a scale of one to six, using criteria such as water-saving features, on-site power generation and solar technology. Level six is the best, most 'sustainable', rating.

"Currently, most new homes are level three or four, which should guarantee at least 30 per cent cheaper fuel bills. Code six homes are rare — there are fewer than 20 in the UK and most are single houses, according to the Department for Energy and Climate Change."

A View from the Cycle Path: "All those myths and excuses in one post"

"Busting cycling myths is a part of what needs to happen if cycle campaigners are to campaign more effectively. Asking for half-measures won't do it. You need to ask for the best possible conditions for cycling if you want cycling to become a mass activity as it is in the Netherlands.

"Recently I've started to refer to these as 'myths and excuses', and included links to each type of 'excuse' on the View from the Cycle Path web site.

"Here they are again, with longer descriptions. Click [on the image above, and then] on the links provided there, either in or after each topic, to find the references for each statement:
  • Our streets are too narrow
  • Providing for cyclists is too expensive
  • Our population is too spread out
  • We have hills
  • Our distances are too great
  • It took decades in the Netherlands
  • It's because of the price of petrol/diesel
  • It's the weather
  • Cycle-paths are slow."
  • (plus many more have been added)


Hammerson's new Brent Cross cycle parking area

Link to BBC web site

"Before World War II, journeys in the Netherlands were predominantly made by bike, but in the 1950s and 1960s, as car ownership rocketed, this changed. As in many countries in Europe, roads became increasingly congested and cyclists were squeezed to the kerb.

"The jump in car numbers caused a huge rise in the number of deaths on the roads. In 1971 more than 3,000 people were killed by motor vehicles, 450 of them children.

"The Dutch faith in the reliability and sustainability of the motor vehicle was also shaken by the Middle East oil crisis of 1973, when oil-producing countries stopped exports to the US and Western Europe.

"These twin pressures helped to persuade the Dutch government to invest in improved cycling infrastructure and Dutch urban planners started to diverge from the car-centric road-building policies being pursued throughout the urbanising West."

The sign reads 'Bike street: Cars are guests'

GOOD NEWS ON HOUSE PRICES: Daily Telegraph: "Rising house prices not necessarily a good thing, says minister"

Link to web site

"The Government announced 10,000 people have taken part in the new Help to Buy scheme which is designed to stimulate the market in the past four months.

"That came as other figures showed a 30 per cent surge in the number of first-time buyers who have been given mortgages.

"Communities secretary Eric Pickles said:
"Housing supply and confidence is [are?] now increasing, and has [have] turned a corner since the unsustainable housing bubble burst under the last Administration."

RetailWeek: "Retail landlords still need to get real"

Link to web site

"I couldn’t help smiling, albeit through clenched teeth, while reading the interview with Hammerson boss David Atkins last week on Retail-week.com.
"Not that I found any humour in his assessment that business rates make about as much sense as an Eric Pickles parking scheme, I think that’s a given now, at least to anyone outside the ivory towers of the Treasury.

"No, it was the jarring irony that his comments came as part of his revelation of a 9.9% or £140m increase in Hammerson’s net rental, which struck my funny bone, as it encapsulated the inveterate myopia shared by so many in the commercial property industry."


Barnet Times: "Bee colony moves into Brent Cross Shopping Centre"

Link to web site

"Teresa Walden, the shopping centre’s commercialisation [sic] manager, has become the first official Brent Cross Beekeeper.

"She said: 
"We are constantly trying to think of ways to mitigate potential impacts on the environment."

Link to:
"29,000 extra cars a day":