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


London Assembly: "Cycling Report - An Update"

Link to report (PDF)

"The London Assembly Transport Committee conducted an online survey of cyclists from November to December 2013, that received 6,333 responses (the online survey was self-selecting so it is not representative of all Londoners, but it did provide a way of gathering lots of views).

"Cyclist casualty rates fell by 46 per cent between 2000 and 2006, but have risen every year since then. In 2012 there were 25 casualties for every million cycle trips, compared to 19 in 2006.

"One year on from our investigation, it does not seem safer to cycle in London and there is a shortfall between what cyclists want and what is being delivered.

"The Committee has made nine recommendations to the Mayor and TfL. The recommendations include:
  • Stop underspending the cycling budget. If there is underspending on the cycling budget in one year, TfL should spend the underspend on cycling in the following year
  • Deliver improvements to the cycle superhighways and to at least 10 traffic junctions by 2015
  • Publish details of the plans for more enforcement of road safety for cyclists."


Birmingham Post: "Revealed: 25-year Masterplan for Curzon Street and Birmingham city centre"

Link to web site

"A Metro extension, major retail renaissance and parks in the sky are set to form part of an ambitious vision to transform vast swathes of Birmingham city centre.

"The Birmingham Curzon HS2 Masterplan, which was revealed to the Post, will be one of the biggest urban regeneration schemes in Britain and see 141 hectares of the city centre transformed.

"The proposals, the biggest redevelopment announced in the wake of the high speed rail link, represent a 25-year vision to realise the potential of neglected areas of Digbeth and Eastside."


"PLANNING FOR A BETTER FUTURE - the POS planning manifesto for the next government"

Link to web site

"The Planning Officers Society (POS) has been looking ahead to the national parliamentary elections in May 2015. The main parties are drafting their manifestos; POS has been looking at what it can do to help them.

"POS has produced 'Planning for a Better Future'. It's [sic] core message is that planning is key to meeting housing needs and delivering economic growth through the creation of sustainable development, and POS invites a new Government to work with it to build a more efficient and effective planning system. The document is limited to four key areas: 'Making Great Places', 'Simpler Planning' and 'Tools for the Job' but the main focus is 'Meeting Our Nation's Needs'.

"Mike Kiely, President of POS, said:
"Our offer is to help ensure that a community's needs, particularly for housing, are met through the planning system. We consider that there are features of the current system that need refinement, to ensure that they work better and serve our communities well."

BBC: 'The Planners'

Barnet Times: "Plans to improve Cricklewood get underway"

Link to web site

"A new market space, trees and cycle stands are just some of the ways the Mayor’s Outer London Fund will be spent on a revamp of Cricklewood.

"Work is due to begin to widen a section of pavement running along Cricklewood Lane, close to the B&Q store, to make space for the developments as well new lighting, seating and a community notice board.

"... But some campaigners have said the plans could have been better if the £4billion Brent Cross Regeneration project had not been approved last month."

Thurs 27 Feb: Creative Cricklewood

Web site


Evening Standard: "Glittering array of talented architects on Crystal Palace exhibition centre shortlist"

Link to web site

"A stellar line-up of British architects has been shortlisted to rebuild the Crystal Palace exhibition centre.

"They include Olympics aquatic centre designer Dame Zaha Hadid, in collaboration with artist Sir Anish Kapoor, and London Eye architect Marks Barfield.

"Others on the list of six include David Chipperfield, who designed the River and Rowing museum in Henley and Sir Nicholas Grimshaw, the architect behind Waterloo’s international station and the Eden Project in Cornwall."


Thurs 27 Feb: Barnet Cycling Campaign

Link to web site (Pic: source)

"At the borough elections in May, the London Cycling Campaign (LCC) wants to make sure that cycling features on the agenda of incoming ward councillors. Getting the positive changes we’ve been promised depends on strong political leadership at all levels, from the Mayor to local neighborhood representatives. So we are calling on candidates across central, inner and outer London to support pro-cycling policies and measures.

"LCC’s elected Policy Forum has developed a menu of six policy themes – ratified by our 2013 AGM – which form the basis of the pro-cycling measures we’ll be calling for. LCC local groups are identifying single policy themes for each ward in their boroughs. They are the kinds of measures seen in high-cycling cities and countries. LCC wants to see all these measures consistently applied across London."


The Guardian: "Air pollution: European commission launches legal action against the UK"

Link to web site

"The UK faces fines of up to £300m a year and embarrassing court appearances after the European commission launched legal proceedings against it for failing to reduce 'excessive' levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) air pollution from traffic, despite 15 years of warnings and several extensions and postponements granted to the government.
"Other European countries have also failed to meet the air quality directive – that should have been adopted in 2008 – but the EU environment commissioner, Janez Potočnik, has singled Britain out for its 'persistent' breaches of the air quality directive.
"... While most British cities have plans to reduce traffic fumes to within the legal limit by 2020, London has insisted that it could not meet its NO2 targets set in 1999 until 2025 at the earliest. London has the highest levels of NO2 of any European capital city and the UK has the highest proportion of zones breaching legal limits."


GOOD NEWS ON HOUSE PRICES: "London house prices rocket to 20% above pre-crisis peak"

Link to Evening Standard

"London house prices have streaked further ahead of the rest of the country to hit a new record more than 20% above their pre-crisis peak, official figures showed today.

"Prices in the capital grew at an annual pace of 12.3% in December to hit an average £450,000 according to the Office for National Statistics. This was more than double the 5.5% growth seen across the rest of the UK, where prices stand at £217,000 on average.

"... London is one of only three regions in the UK where prices are above their January 2008 peak, standing 20.3% higher than they were before the financial crisis. The South East and East are 1.9% and 1.4% above their pre-recession zenith respectively."

Link to web site
Evening Standard:
"Bubble trouble: Danny Dorling's new book on the problem with London's property market"
"Danny Dorling's ... new book, All That Is Solid is the most lucid and urgent account of the UK’s housing crisis you’ll read this year. It deserves a place at the top of Cameron’s reading list. In fact, one would like to hand-deliver it to every minister. It is very hard to read it and retain any confidence in the Government’s housing policies. 'Sometimes it is tempting to suggest that policymakers should simply look at what the current Prime Minister is suggesting and do the opposite,' Dorling notes.

"A professor of geography at Oxford, Dorling has become something of a cult figure in recent years for his publications on population and inequality as well as his incisive TV appearances. However, he established his academic reputation at Sheffield as an obsessive number-cruncher. His ideas are testament to years spent away from the London-centric media, deep in census figures, tracking not only how demographics have changed but how attitudes have shifted too.

"It is hardly news to Londoners that housing is unaffordable for too many of us. It’s perhaps the most anguished of family discussion topics, the rantiest of pub conversations. The average British home now costs five times the average income."


Evening Standard: "Hammerson boasts a full house as Britons get out and spend"

Shop until you die

"British shoppers finally recovering their mojo has been good news for Hammerson, the developer whose UK retail empire stretches from London’s Brent Cross to Glasgow.

"... In London, the firm will spend £500 million over the next three years to expand the Brent Cross shopping centre, as well as its joint venture in Croydon with Australian shopping centre giant Westfield. Atkins said:
“Retailers want to take more space - and London is a beacon of investment for the world." [Brent Cross is more a dodgy torch.]

"Cities in motion: transport is as key to urban character as buildings or accents"

Link to The Guardian

"My recent, first trip to London presented me with two surprises: the reach, convenience, and frequency of the tube, and the volume of Londoners' complaints about the reach, convenience, and frequency of the tube.

"English friends had explained to me, not without pride, the importance of grumbling to the national character, but I still want to stress to every Londoner I meet that — take it from a visiting Los Angeleno — the tube exists, and that counts as no trifling achievement. Beyond that, and like every other means of urban transport system around the world, it tells you nearly everything you need to know about the city it serves.

"If you wish to understand London or any place else, look no further than how people move through it. This goes not just for subways, but overground trains, buses, cycleways, rickshaws, and every mobility solution in between. You can learn a great deal from robust transport systems, and even more from underdeveloped ones."


"30 years ago, GLC video promised 1,000 miles of safe cycle network in London. Don't let this fail to happen all over again"

Link to 'Cyclists in the City'

"I was 10 years old when the Greater London Council filmed 'Cycling for London' in 1984. It is a fascinating video. It shows cycle schemes across central London that I have used every week since I moved here; cycle schemes that - for the most part - are still exactly the same as they were 30 years ago.

"The film also shows people in normal clothes on bikes, no helmets and little hi-viz in action. Tellingly, it shows scenes with lots of children pedalling about the place - something that is non-existent in central London these days.

"And the film shares a tonne of language with the language we still use today. It criticises urban street design where:
"Pedestrians were funnelled underground; cyclists were ignored altogether and often forced to compete with fast-moving traffic."
"The same could be said of most UK towns and cities today. The GLC representatives promise that:
"We won't just be advising cyclists to wear bright clothes at night; we'll be dealing with safety problems on the roads and creating 1,000 miles of safe cycle routes."
"Similar sorts of promises are making the rounds these days as well."

So then, who's going shopping in a future up-market Brent Cross?

Link to web site

"A deep divide has opened among Britain’s high earners, with an 'über-middle' elite reaping the rewards of globalisation, while millions of 'cling-on' professionals struggle to sustain a middle-class lifestyle.

"An analysis of almost 40 years’ worth of data on salaries for the Financial Times has found that a large, highly qualified group has slipped down the economic league table. The findings starkly illustrate the growing inequality, driven by the highest earners, that policy makers are grappling with. President Barack Obama has identified the divide as a central theme of his second term."

GOOD NEWS ON HOUSE PRICES: "Mark Carney says UK housing market is in widespread recovery"

Link to BBC web site

"Bank of England governor Mark Carney says the UK housing market is generally recovering.

"... Prices in London are rising by about 10% a year, but Mr Carney said a change in interest rate policy - not on the cards in any case until the recovery is well established - would not cool the market. as a significant number of properties were bought without a mortgage.

"Asked if he was concerned about the very fast-spiralling London property market, Mr Carney said:
"Much of what's driven in London, of course, is not mortgage-driven, but is cash-driven.

It's driven, in many cases, by foreign buyers. We, as a central bank, can't influence that.

We change underwriting standards - it doesn't matter, there's not a mortgage. We change interest rates - it doesn't matter, there's not a mortgage, etc.

"But we watch it, and we watch the knock-on effect."


Wembley Observer, Brent & Kilburn Times, Barnet Press, and Barnet Times

Apparently, "not in Phase One"
was changed from "now in Phase One"

Surveyor: "Hammersmith 'flyunder' plans could be self-financing, council claims"

Link to web site

"Replacing the Hammersmith Flyover with a tunnel could take just three years and in theory might be self financing by releasing around £1bn worth of former highway land, according to the local council's latest study.

"Hammersmith and Fulham LBC’s ‘flyunder’ feasibility study - developed in partnership with Halcrow engineers - has produced three possible options for replacing the elevated section of the A4. The plans vary from being 1 mile to 2.5 miles long and costing between £218m and £1.7bn.

"The council has long been campaigning to replace the aging structure, with the calls increasing in volume in recent years due to the flyover being plagued by lane closures since the Christmas of 2011 when structural weaknesses caused by water damage necessitated major repair works."

Alison Hopkins, Liberal Democrat Councillor for Dollis Hill Ward

"I, along with many others, attended the Planning Committee meeting at Barnet Council on 30 January. All but two of us spoke against various aspects of the plans – the only two in favour were the manager of the shopping centre, and the developer, Jonathan Joseph!

"A vote was taken – the Barnet Lib Dem councillors voted against, but that wasn’t enough, the plans still got passed. However, this isn’t the end of the fight. We can and will object to further details of the proposals and we’re also looking at possible legal action. We want the certainty that the dump won’t happen, ever and we don’t want massive extra numbers of cars on our roads."

[Reposted from Oct 2011] Mmmm, lots more lovely traffic, Hammerson! The road to success at Brent Cross?

BBC: "M25: 10 ways it has changed lives" 
Link to BBC web site

"The M25 is celebrating its 25th birthday. The 117-mile (188km) road that orbits London has changed life in the UK in many ways, says Radio 2's traffic news announcer Sally Boazman.

"Labelled by many as the 'UK's biggest car park', the M25 got many questioning our relationship with the car. Soon after it opened, traffic levels were exceeding maximum designed capacity. Several widening schemes have been announced over the years, sparking public inquiry after public inquiry. Some were carried out and others successfully challenged by protesters. 'Its like digging a ditch in a bog, it always fills up,' says Stephen Joseph, chief executive of the Campaign for Better Transport.


Evening Standard: "Quintain toasts London Designer Outlet success"

Link to web site

"More than one million shoppers have hit Quintain Estates’ London Designer Outlet in Wembley since it opened at the end of October.

" 'It has proved very successful with the local catchment area,' said finance director Richard Stearn. 'Now we are broadening the marketing out further.'

"He said the outlet centre was now 87% let with some three quarters of the stores open for business."

"Copenhagen's 'Strøget' Turns 50"

"I dipped into the archives the other day and found an interesting article from 1913 about traffic on the main thoroughfare in Copenhagen - 'Strøget'.

"In the early 1960's Strøget, the main street running east-west through the city centre, became quite famous. It was closed off to cars and transformed into a pedestrian zone.

"There were protests back then. Cries of 'We're not Italians! We don't want to walk!' were heard in the city. Shopkeepers feared for their businesses. Fortunately, the idea was implemented by the City of Copenhagen. They had seen some of the great ideas by urban planner Jan Gehl.

"This was a turning point in the modern life of Copenhagen. Cars were taking over, fewer people were cycling and the city was congested and polluted. Visionary political decision-making and urban planning was needed and it arrived.

"Since then, Copenhagen hasn't looked back. The fears of the shopkeepers were soon allayed - indeed there is nowhere in the world where pedestrian zones or bike lanes have caused commerce to suffer. These two urban planning instruments only serve to increase the number of pedestrians and act as a form of traffic calming. Streets become, quite simply, nicer places to be."

Link to 'copenhagenize.com'.

“Borehamwood is full” ... "There is no future of building in Borehamwood, the future has to be green belt sites.”

Link to Borehamwood & Elstree Times

" 'Borehamwood is full' was the overwhelming message as more than a hundred people gathered to make sure their views on development in the town were heard.

"Elstree and Borehamwood Town Council last night held a public meeting at The Ark Theatre in Thrift Farm Lane to answer questions about the recent draft of the Elstree Way Corridor Area Action Plan.

"Councillor Pat Strack, who chaired the meeting with Councillor Graham Franklin, made it clear the council had no control over development but could pass on the views of the townspeople to those who did."


Brent & Kilburn Times, Barnet Times (x3), and Barnet Press (x4)

Daily Telegraph: "John Timpson: We need steady rain to flush out today's toxic throwaway culture"

Link to web site

"For years, I have been telling anyone who will listen that our throwaway culture is becoming toxic. Young people buy cheap clothes from Primark that they toss out a few weeks later. People don’t seem to mend things any more.

Yet recently, a government adviser recommended that we repair stuff, particularly household appliances, rather than throwing them away. As a leading businessman in the mending business, how can we encourage consumers do 'fix up and cherish’ rather than 'bin and buy new’?

Brent Cross Shopping Centre: "Pandora - the perfect gift." (Shame Brent Cross uses such a low-quality image, but there you go)

"Find the perfect gift for a loved one...or for yourself...this Valentine's Day at PANDORA.

"The beautiful and romantic Valentine's Day collection of flirty hearts and fun bling has arrived at PANDORA Brent Cross.

"The collection features sparkling diamonds, pretty pink stones, bright and clear cubic zirconia and touches of edgy black set in sterling silver and gold. The charms, bracelets, stacking rings, necklaces and earrings will be a sophisticated and stylish addition to your jewellery wardrobe."

[Reposted] The Brent Cross Railway proposes new on-road route. (Or: "Donald the Diesel was having a bad day")

Click to enlarge
(Look closely - there are two diesel engines there,
one above the other!)

Link to Transport page.


The Guardian: "'Affordable housing' does not mean what you think it means"

Link to web site

"In the good old days, councils and housing associations built social rented housing – often called council housing. It was a simple idea in which rents were based on a formula that combined local wages and local property values so that, for much of southern England, rents would be set at around 50% of local market rents – even lower in very expensive areas. Social housing rents allowed people to work without being dependent upon housing benefit.

"No more. Now, councils and housing associations have been told to replace social rented housing with a new product called, confusingly, affordable housing.

"In a move worthy of George Orwell's Ministry of Truth, affordable rent will be higher than before, set at up to 80% of the local market rent. Across whole swathes of southern England affordable rented properties will simply not be affordable to people on low incomes."

[Reposted] London's Other Railway: the Croydon Tram

Link to 'London Reconnections' web site
"The (Croydon) Tramlink: Part 1"
12 September, 2012, by Pedantic of Purley

"... ... As [this] hopefully shows, Croydon was lucky. 

"A disused rail alignment, two further railway lines in use but ripe for conversion, and a short but critical strip of land, safeguarded for a subsequently-abandoned road scheme [shown above], meant that on-street tram running would be minimal.

"Furthermore, suitable new road and traffic management schemes could divert traffic away from nearly all the stretches that were to be shared with other traffic. It is unlikely such an opportunity will present itself again.

"Readers, especially those in North London, may point to proposals for some kind of Light Rapid Transit based around Brent Cross. 

"TfL have never shown enthusiasm for this, however, [yes and no] and have even gone as far as stating that, if the Dudding Hill Line were to have passenger services restored, they would rather it were by a London Overground service. [Better than nothing! But see our Transport Page. for the, maybe, 'Old Oak Common to Alexandra Palace Light Railway'.]

'GAME' collapse: Hammerson takes a Hammering; Land Securities loses its Security; British Land lands in... (This headline isn't really working, is it?)

"Landmark Court of Appeal ruling over tens of millions in retailer's unpaid rent could change high street rules"

Link to Sunday Telegraph

"A collection of Britain’s largest property companies and the computer game retailer Game will clash in the Court of Appeal in the coming week over tens of millions of pounds of unpaid rent.

A consortium of landlords including Land Securities, Hammerson and British Land claim they missed out on rental payments when Game called in the administrators in March 2012.

"... The hearing is also seen as a 'test case' and could lead to major changes in how administrations work in the UK, giving greater priority to property companies. Landlords have complained for years that they are being short-changed by the administration process in the UK."


Birmingham Post: "Crack the code and this could be the best place to live"

Link to web site

"A masterplan is a strategic method of ensuring the coherence and continuing quality of a large development: particularly one which, like the Loop, will be built by a number of different developers, in a number of phases over many years.

"A good masterplan does not specify detail, but fixes parameters for such critical matters as density, street patterns, land uses and building heights.

"It builds in flexibility for when economic circumstances change during the development stages, which they invariably do."

[So Brent Cross is a bad masterplan, because it was replaced by a sinister, single approved planning application, for the whole area, covering several square miles!]