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


WestTrans: NW London: Orbital Rail Connections?

(Click to enlarge)

"WestTrans is a partnership of the six West London boroughs of Ealing, Brent, Hammersmith & Fulham, Harrow, Hillingdon and Hounslow. Led by Ealing Council, and joined by key stakeholders including West London Alliance, West London Business, BAA and the Park Royal Partnership, it works with Transport for London to identify, develop and implement transport projects to the benefit of the subregion.

"It also contributes advice to West London leaders relating to the development of an appropriate transport strategy for West London and provides a platform to lobby regional and national government in a cohesive manner on behalf of the sub region."

[Reposted from Jan 2013] Hammerson & Standard Life reinstate larger Welsh Harp, in radical public-transport-based rethink of Brent Cross plans

"See. We're not the greedy and talentless corporate dunderheads that our critics like to make out!" they said in a joint statement.

Aerial view of Custom House Station (Crossrail to left, existing DLR to right) looking east towards Connaught Tunnel



London Borough of Brent:
Strategic Plan
North and West London Light Railway Routes in Brent

Why not fly over the area yourself?

Do a victory roll over John Lewis!
Fly through the upper sales floor of Fenwicks!
Link to software that puts YOU in control!

Link to:
"Despite the quick-profit horizons of the developers, it was decided..."


[Reposted from 2012] Tales from the Brent Cross Shopping Mall

"From one of the UK’s most acclaimed literary and film talents, Tales From The Mall is a mash-up of fact, fiction, essays, true stories and multi-format media, that tells of the rise of one of the most defining and iconic symbols of the modern age - the shopping mall.

"Why would one woman threaten to kill another for a pair of shoes in the bargain bin? Why do shopping malls evict old ladies? Why are transvestites drawn to mall car parks? Why are malls dying in the USA? What do impulse buys have to do with rioting? And why are market research companies hiding the truth from us? If you want to work out how the modern world works, then ask Ewan Morrison.

"For the last three years he’s been scouring the shopping malls of Britain uncovering the secrets of retail heaven and hell, to tell us how malls manipulate our emotions in twenty cleverly calculated ways; how some malls are ‘vampiric’ and other malls are ‘pregnant’, and how malls are an ideal space to meet a new lover or to kill yourself. 

"From over a hundred interviews and confessions, Morrison re-tells the true-life tales of those who work, shop and sometimes even make love inside their walls. As shopping malls spread round the globe at the amazing speed of one new mall every seventy two hours, and everyone, in every country ends up wearing the same fashions, Tales from the Mall gives us a page-turning tour of the history of the mall, and a vision of our coming future.

"Wry, humourous and fast-paced; packed full of terribly tweetable facts and gut wrenching, sometimes hilarious stories; it will change the way you think about your hair colour, your loyalty cards, the global economy and your boyfriend … forever."

The Guardian:
"The strangely touching little back stories humanise the evocation of a place that is like everywhere else, and which insists the characters there are like everyone else. These range from the woman who knows, from her call-centre job, to which demographic category she belongs, to the weekend dad who isn't allowed to take his children to fast-food shops, but somehow knows the entire menu, to the wife-to-be whose final fling is structured around brands and what they might mean, or fail to mean."

The Independent:
"... Stories such as 'Recycling' and the oddly compelling history of the shopping mall deserve the reader's full attention. Morrison glides us through people's lives, picking up tips for creating havoc at malls, digesting facts and stats, dipping into the loneliness at the heart of consumerism. The effect is, like a mall, mostly dazzling."

City AM: "Gold-plated rules stop Londoners getting the homes they most want"

Link to web site

"House prices in London are soaring, with the Office for National Statistics identifying a 8.7 per cent rise in the past year alone. But on top of this, Londoners are not getting the homes they most want – terraced houses and flats. According to research we’ve just published, London’s gold-plating of national housing standards is to blame.

"The rejection of terraced streets (as opposed to multi-story estates) in London comes despite apparent support from Boris Johnson for a 'street-based urban arrangement', and the fact that conventional streets are overwhelmingly popular and can reach very high densities. (Kensington and Chelsea, for example, is the most densely populated part of the UK)."

"The bicycle highway: Plans unveiled for £220m 'Skycycle' that lets riders commute far above the railways of London"

Link to Daily Mail

"Plans for a network of cycle pathways high above the streets of London have been unveiled by one of the world's most prominent architects.

"SkyCycle is a 135-mile network of roads that would be constructed above existing suburban rail lines to create new cycle routes throughout the capital and has been developed by cycling enthusiast Sir Norman Foster, who designed St Mary Axe, known as 'The Gherkin', and the new Wembley Stadium.

"The three-storey high routes would be accessed via ramps at more than 200 points.

"The first phase is a four mile stretch from east London to Liverpool Street Station would cost an estimated £220m.

The Independent: "Exhibition reveals how London could have looked if radical development projects from the past century were given green light"

Link to web site

"Elevated walkways taking pedestrians over a multi-lane highway in Piccadilly Circus, Covent Garden covered in concrete terracing, and pleasure boating in Soho. These are just a few of the radical development projects from the past century that could have 'irreparably altered' London, as shown in a new exhibition.

"Plans to demolish some of London’s treasured historic sites, including many of the the Edwardian and Victorian buildings in Whitehall, are among those explored in Almost Lost: London’s Buildings Loved and Loathed.

"... Sir William Holford of the London County Council wanted to introduce more road lanes, with pedestrians elevated on high-level walkways. His radical ideas also envisioned four 200ft towers between Piccadilly and Leicester Square, containing hotels, offices, flats and restaurants."

"Millions set for debt crisis if interest rates rise warn experts as figures show number of families that spend half their income on repayments could treble by 2018"

Link to Mail on Sunday

"The number of British families who spend more than half their disposable income on debt repayments could treble by 2018 if interest rates rise faster than predicted, a leading think tank has warned.

"Fearing that politicians are ignoring a looming crisis in household debt, think tank the Resolution Foundation has urged banks to start checking on debtors now, in case they are caught off guard when the cost of borrowing goes up.

"... Most of the UK's household debt is composed of mortgages, with the rest taken up by credit cards, personal lending and payday loans. Since household consumption accounts for about 65 per cent of GDP, any drop in disposable income could have a huge effect on recovery."


"Chinese government has role in £500m Crystal Palace scheme"

Link to 'Inside Croydon'

"The major financial backer behind the ZhongRohn Group, which wants to build a £500million replica of the Victorian Crystal Palace as a hotel and entertainment complex, on public open space at the top of Sydenham Hill, is the Chinese government.

"And according to sources working on the development, Ni Zhaoxing, one of China’s richest men and the property magnate behind ZhongRong, is unusual among successful businessmen, because he is unconcerned about getting any profit from his half-billion expenditure on the project.

"... The Crystal Palace Park Community Stakeholder Group has already written to complain about a 'drop-in' consultation event staged by Arup at the start of December, which was so poorly publicised that 'only a small part of the community knew about it' – a classic developer’s ploy in paying lip-service to the requirement to 'consult'. [Can't think where they might have learned that technique from.]

"With the £1 billion Westfield and Hammerson mega-mall being planned for central Croydon just a few miles away, a £500-million shopping venue at Crystal Palace – which is not known to have the best of transport links – could be a strategic planning shambles." [Can't think where they might have seen that elsewhere.]

New York Times: "In a Car-Culture Clash, It’s the Los Angeles Police vs. Pedestrians"

Link to web site

"... When bartender Adam Bialik stepped off the curb on his way to work at the Ritz-Carlton, a few blinks after the crossing signal began its red 'Don’t Walk' countdown, he was met by a waiting police officer on the other side of the street and issued a ticket for $197. 'I didn’t even know that was against the law,' he said.

"These pedestrians are confronting not only the police, but a historically entrenched car culture that has long defined the experience of living and working in Los Angeles. With its wide streets, and aggressive motorists zipping around corners, cutting in and out of lanes and sneaking past red lights, Los Angeles is hardly built for people who prefer to walk.

"Yet times may be changing. There are an increasing number of people using bicycles, taking advantage of an expanding network of bike lanes. Los Angeles is in the midst of a major expansion of its subway and bus system. Much of the urban planning in recent years, particularly downtown and in Hollywood, is intended to encourage people to give up their cars in favor of public transit, walking or biking."

"Critics claim grand plan for car-free roads and green corridors will allow private developers to wreck Spanish capital's heritage"

Link to The Guardian

"Madrid may soon be a city of grand boulevards, pedestrians and public transport, rather than one plagued by dwindling tourism and crippling public-sector strikes.

It is part of the vision laid out in Madrid's general urban plan, a blueprint designed by the city every 15 or so years to guide its next decade of development.

"This time around, the city wants big changes. Car lanes will be replaced by bicycle lanes, trees will be planted to line the streets, and green spaces across the city will be connected through a series of corridors.

"Paz González, the city councillor responsible for urban planning, said:
"It's a plan that will take the corset off the city. It's the 21st century – we can't have our city all tied up."

URS (formerly Scott Wilson): "Brent Cross Cricklewood Regeneration"

"Brent Cross Cricklewood is one of the largest mixed use regeneration projects in the UK. The £4.5bn scheme includes the transformation of Brent Cross shopping centre, improved highway and public transport infrastructure and 7,500 new homes. Transport improvement plans include the comprehensive redesign of major road junctions, a new railway station, bus station and improved bus services, as well as enhanced pedestrian and cycle networks. The scheme is expected to support up to 27,000 full time jobs and will be a huge economic boost for the area.

"URS has been involved with the project since 2005 [so after publication of the '29,000 extra cars/day' figure by LB of Barnet]. delivering a range of services to support the Brent Cross Cricklewood Development Partners with its plans for the redevelopment.

"Services include the delivery of transport planning and infrastructure engineering advice to support the scheme’s planning application, which was approved by Barnet Council and the Mayor of London in 2010. Ongoing services include the preparation of extensive transport modelling, as well as detailed designs for new infrastructure at the 250-acre site.

"The first phase of the scheme includes new pedestrian bridges, the new bus station, improvements to the River Brent, the key road junction works and around 1,250 new homes. Construction of this phase is expected to start in 2015 and there are a further six phases of development planned over a 20-year period."

"Croydon’s retail heart transplant"

Link to The Croydon Citizen

"The positivity surrounding the approval of Westfield and Hammerson’s plans for the regeneration of the retail core of the town mostly focused upon the development itself. Aside from providing a pleasant place to spend a Saturday, what can both Croydon residents and businesses expect the benefits to be from the £1 billion investment?

"... [A] new walkway will considerably cut the time taken to get between Croydon’s main transport hub and its main retail hub, and also link East and West Croydon stations via a 24-hour walkway through the centre.

"... Indeed, looking towards Westfield in Shepherd’s Bush and Stratford, the [public] transport improvements have been considerable; [in west London] White City tube station was modernised, Wood Lane underground station was built and Shepherd’s Bush underground station was rebuilt, whilst Stratford has benefited from considerable development of its train station.

"[In Croydon] there will also be £10 million worth of investment in buses, and £15 million in the tram network." [And no Brent Cross area 29,000 extra cars every day, then.]

Link to web site

Croydon Advertiser:
"Government will not intervene on Westfield Hammerson plan"

"THE government will not stand in the way of Westfield/Hammerson's £1 billion town centre regeneration project.

"Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said today (Wednesday) he will not intervene in the plan to redevelop the Whitgift Centre.

"Mr Pickles did have the power to take a closer look at the proposal, potentially delaying a scheme which will create a new shopping centre, hundreds of new homes and up to 5,000 new jobs."


BBC: "End of the road? Are major routes through cities outdated?"

Link to web site

"A report looking at Birmingham's transport network for the next 20 years has concluded the future of the Queensway tunnels should be examined. It is not the only place in the UK that relies on a route for cars through the city. So are such roads outdated?

"When it emerged Birmingham's Queensway tunnels would be closed for six weeks over the summer, it is no surprise there were predictions of 'chaos'.

"The main through route for the A38, the tunnels are used by thousands of drivers each day and have been an integral part of the city's transport network since they were built in the 1970s.

"There was some surprise, therefore, when the anticipated gridlock did not materialise."

[Reposted] County of London Plan (The year 1945: Ken was born, but Boris was just a Powerpoint presentation)

"The Blitz has cleared some sites and we must clear many more - but for what? Has the Blitz cleared our vision too, and made it possible to see what London might be?

"And if we can see this, shall we return ... to the same old wild activity of private speculation? ... The land speculator's boards are up..."
(Almost written with Brent Cross's Hammerson in mind.)

Link to 'London County Council' images,
which can be magnified to see more clearly.

"This report lists four defects: traffic congestion, depressed housing, inadequacy and maldistribution of open spaces, and, finally, the jumble of houses and industry.

"Other defects are 'the absence of coherent architectural treatment in recent rebuilding', and the unplanned development of the railways."


The Guardian: "Vince Cable: interest rates may have to rise to combat housing boom"

"Business secretary warns of danger that London may be largely inhabited by 'foreigners and bankers', as house prices spiral"

Link to web site

"The business secretary, Vince Cable, has warned that interest rates may have to rise to constrain a 'raging housing boom' in London and the south-east.

"Speaking on BBC1's Andrew Marr Show, he said if interest rates were not increased by the Bank of England, there was a danger that large parts of London could be inhabited only by foreigners and bankers, as house prices spiralled.

"He added that, on the other hand, if interest rates were increased it would have a negative impact on UK manufacturing, since exchange rates would rise, making exports harder."

Barnet Times: "Compulsory purchase orders could clear path for West Hendon Regeneration"

Link to web site

"Owners of residential and commercial properties in the West Hendon Estate could be forced to hand them over to Barnet Council to make room for a major redevelopment.

"... But some people living on the estate have attacked the plans for causing a 'severe threat' to wildlife in the nearby Welsh Harp nature reservoir, and are worried they will not be able to afford to live in the new homes being built.

"Chairman of West Hendon Residents’ Association Derrick Chung said:
"We’re going to lose our homes and we’ve been given nothing to convince us that there will be new affordable homes. They’re making a profit out of our misery."

Question: With the feared car-based Brent Cross expansion, why is Denmark, for instance, so pro-bike? Answer: it always has been

Link to web site

"The Copenhagen Approach To 'Traffic' Could Transform Your City!"
"Copenhagen has almost 40% of all their overall trips by bike, a staggering figure that is already the best in the world. And yet they're not satisfied.... their goal is to raise that to 50%, and they've got aggressive strategies to do it. This is a lesson to cities that think it's too hard to double their mode bike mode share, from, say, 2% to 4%.

"... (On a related note, this past week another speaker in town, Thomas Campanella, author of The Concrete Dragon, commented that in China bikes are seen as passé and connected to the poverty of the past, and cars are now trendy. This is a scary thought, and disappointing given that bikes could be such a natural part of China's sustainable future.)

"... Copenhagen strongly believes in 'traffic trials' to test what would happen to traffic under different circumstances. They do such trials frequently and very inexpensively, often just by simulating construction ('putting out a few traffic cones').

"For example, Niels spoke of when they closed down the medieval part of the city to traffic for a month, to see what would happen. A great way to test and challenge assumptions about what will happen to traffic, often showing it 'just disappears'."

"In this talk, John Pucher documents the boom in cycling in European and North American cities. He discusses how cycling can thrive even in cities with no history or culture of daily, utilitarian cycling, but only if government policies provide safe, convenient, and pleasant cycling conditions.

"He also addresses the fact that government policies are key to encouraging walking and making it safer. Safe infrastructure is a prerequisite, but must be complemented by many other supportive measures."


"Cricklewood Renaissance" (Innovative flowering of Latin and vernacular literatures, development of the conventions of diplomacy, and in science an increased reliance on observation? Apparently so.)

Click on Cricklewood for 'Future of London' web site

"Spread across three wards in three different boroughs – Barnet, Brent and Camden – Cricklewood faces issues common to town centres across the Capital, but which are exacerbated by the difficulties of providing services to an area crossing borough boundaries.

"Issues such as street cleaning, rubbish collection, parking management and anti-social behaviour become more difficult to manage when there is no unified authority dealing with them. This can lead to confusion and inaction, which impacts on the quality of life of residents and the viability of businesses.

"Residents and businesses in the area worried that the lack of unified services was having a detrimental effect in Cricklewood, with confusion over policing, amenities, parking, and anti-social behaviour. As in other boundary-straddling areas, local businesses and residents were often unclear as to who to contact to resolve issues, and found differing regulations and service arrangements confusing.

"To address the situation, Cricklewood residents have taken the initiative by establishing a community group to deliver improvements to the local high street and promote a distinct identity for the area."

Link to web site

"Gearing up for Infrastructure Investment: Stakeholders target needs"
"Mayor of London Boris Johnson announced London’s first long-term Infrastructure Investment Plan at his Vision 2020 launch in June, and the GLA has been busy scoping the project since. On December 16th, Future of London joined the first IIP stakeholder day at City Hall, to explore options for meeting London’s growing infrastructure needs.

Central to the success of the IIP is a clear understanding of context. London’s population is booming, projected to grow to 11.3 million people by 2050. How will the Capital’s infrastructure handle the demands of 3 million more Londoners when systems of all kinds are already straining to serve today’s population?

Aimed at central and local policymakers, investors and the general public, the Plan sets infrastructure as an absolute requirement for a resilient and competitive London. Transport, energy, waste, water, green infrastructure, telecommunications, and social infrastructure – including housing – all fall within the IIP’s wide remit."

TfL: "Get Cycling / Central London Grid"

Link to web site and PDF files

"The Central London Grid will be a mixture of Quietways and Superhighways in the City and West End.

"Superhighways are mostly segregated and on main roads, while Quietways, will be lower-intervention and mainly on streets with less traffic.

"Transport for London, in partnership with seven London boroughs, the City of London, the Greater London Authority, the Canal and River Trust, and The Royal Parks, has developed proposed routes for the Central London Grid."
"To comment on the proposals, contact your local authority, or email TfL with any general comments by 14 February 2014 to grid@tfl.gov.uk

"Comments sent to TfL will also be shared with the borough whose road it is. If you could indicate the borough(s) to which you are referring, we will ensure that these comments are forwarded on."
"TfL will continue to develop route proposals with our delivery partners. A revised map of the Grid will be published in 2014.

"Boroughs will consult locally once designs are developed, and the first improvements will be delivered in 2014."

BBC: "London draining life out of rest of country - Vince Cable"

Link to web site

"London 'is becoming a giant suction machine draining the life out of the rest of the country', Business Secretary Vince Cable has warned.

"Mr Cable made the comment while saying that he believed regional airports should be expanded rather than London's Heathrow Airport.

"The Lib Dem minister told BBC Radio 4's Today some 'more balance' was needed.

"But Mayor of London Boris Johnson said Mr Cable's assertion was 'stupefying and ridiculous'."


Evening Standard: "Anthony Hilton: Sacrifice is needed to stop this slide into poorer times"

Link to web site

"So where did all the money go? If Thatcher really did change the British economy for the better, how come the generation that spent most time working in it is worse off than the generation earlier, which had to make its way in the 1960s and 1970s?

"... If she really did transform the economy, then those working in it should have prospered in a way they clearly have not. Perhaps in general terms it is time to question whether the Thatcher revolution was all it was cracked up to be — or at any rate justifies the eulogies heaped on it by a modern generation of politicians who were barely around at the time.

Perhaps it was not such a bright idea to rely solely on market forces and encourage such a massive bet on financial services. Perhaps our post-Thatcher economic performance is a lot less than it seems.

"... This news ought to be a wake-up call. To maximise our chances of delivering long-term prosperity, we need to run the country with an eye to the national balance sheet.First, we need to calculate how much we have to set aside simply to maintain the quality of what we have inherited as economic infrastructure — to prevent the deterioration of roads, rail, electricity, health and educational institutions and so on. ..."


"Economic analysis: Carney Christmas Carol, but harder times ahead?"

Tap Miss Piggy's nose, for Evening Standard

"Mark Carney was in festive spirits in New York this week as he called on A Christmas Carol to paint a largely optimistic picture of the UK’s recovery prospects. After recent disappointments, the Bank of England Governor said:
"It seems reasonable to expect the hopes and dreams of the holiday season to be fulfilled."
"Carney's Dickensian adaptation of the three spirits that visited Scrooge set the scene: the Ghost of Christmas Present is a 'cheerful spirit' buoyed by good news but the Ghost of Christmas Past reminds us that the economy is a long way from normal.

"The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come is a vision of 'aggressive' monetary policy, with low interest rates to entrench recovery, while the Bank uses levers such as recent tweaks to Funding for Lending to ward off a housing market pushing 'warp speed'.


Daily Telegraph: "More consumer spending doesn’t mean we have the wrong sort of recovery"

Link to web site

"By now, it has become a well-worn refrain that this is the wrong sort of economic recovery, driven by debt-fuelled consumer spending. In fact, the truth is more complex – and somewhat more reassuring.

"... Talk of a debt-fuelled surge in consumer spending is well wide of the mark. While the increase in consumer credit has averaged £0.6bn over the first 10 months of this year, this is well short of the £1.5bn monthly average in the decade before the financial crisis. What will happen from here? I am optimistic that inflation will continue to fall next year.

"... Admittedly, the period when real earnings increase at their historical average of about 2pc is likely to lie beyond the election. And at that stage, for the recovery to continue, it will have to have broadened out to include substantial growth of exports.

"If that has not happened, then the recovery will surely founder, not least because at some point the housing market rally will come under pressure. But, for now, there is no need to fret about the fact that consumer spending is rising modestly."

Link to web site
"How fragile is the 2014 recovery?"

"The economic recovery we've witnessed in almost all the developed and big economies this autumn will continue through most of 2014, and in some cases - including the UK's - may gain momentum.

"The 'flows' in the global economy - temporarily at least - are not as strong a brake on growth as they were: the pace of tax rises and spending cuts has slowed almost everywhere; consumers are more confident, largely because there haven't been any truly hideous shocks for almost two years; and businesses are a bit more confident.

"And, of course, central banks have continued to create free money and cheap credit as if there is no tomorrow - to offset the intractable reluctance of commercial banks and financial institutions to create credit.

"Hey presto, this is the jolliest Yule for six years. And if you don't want to spoil the festive mood, stop reading now."

Buying some new technology this Christmas? The downside

"Grim forecast for e-waste, as technology trash will top 65-million tons by 2017"

Link to Independent on Sunday

"... Britain is a major contributor, ranking sixth in the world in terms of the total amount - creating about 1.4 million tons of waste a year. From unwanted flat-screen TVs to mobile phones, from fridges to microwaves, the UK is the worst offender in the EU. And Britain is also among the worst-performing countries regarding the amount of e-waste produced per head of population. Britain ranks 22nd – at 21.8kg a year.

"Although there is ample information about the negative environmental and health impacts of primitive e‑waste recycling methods, the lack of comprehensive data has made it hard to grasp the full magnitude of the problem,” says Ruediger Kuehr, StEP’s executive secretary. Having a more accurate idea of the scale of waste will help “lead to better awareness and policy-making”, he adds.

"But while governments struggle to deal with the problem, the cost of safely disposing of such materials has resulted in large quantities of e‑waste exported to developing countries. There it is often simply dumped or broken down for scrap – often by child workers exposed to dangerous fumes from crude attempts to burn off materials."

Link to web site

The Observer:
" 'This is not a good place to live': inside Ghana's dump for electronic waste"
"'Electric waste comes here from all over the world – but especially from Europe,' says Karim, 29, who, like almost all the scrap dealers at Agbogbloshie, originally comes from northern Ghana, but has been salvaging, buying and selling at the dump for 10 years. 'We get a lot of health problems here, but we manage, because we need the money.'

"Last week, the UN's 'Solving the E-Waste Problem' initiative (Step), which was set up in 2007 to tackle the world's growing crisis of electronic waste, warned that the global volume of such refuse is set to grow by 33% over the next four years.

"Much of it will be dumped in sites such as those in Agbogbloshie, increasing the risk of land contamination with lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic and flame retardants."