.

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

2014-03-31

Until 9 May: Transport for London consultation: "Draft Pedestrian Safety Action Plan"


Link to web site

"As a relatively flat and compact city with spacious parks and attractive, historical streets, London is a city perfect to enjoy by foot. Walking enhances the lives of Londoners, as a transport mode, leisure activity and form of exercise.

"We are committed to increasing the numbers of walking trips in the Capital, by a million additional trips a day by 2031, whilst ensuring that this is not accompanied by an increase in the numbers of pedestrians harmed on London’s roads. The draft Pedestrian Safety Action Plan (PSAP) therefore sets out a strategy for improving the safety of pedestrians in London.

"... Extensive data analysis has helped identify the places where pedestrians are at greatest risk in London, the groups of pedestrians that face a disproportionate risk, as well as how and when casualties happen. This draft Plan draws upon all of this evidence, and outlines actions and interventions designed to improve their safety on London’s streets."

"Sir Terry Farrell's review of architecture and the built environment" (perhaps he should have started with the Brent Cross dystopia)

2013:
Link to GOV.UK

"Creative Industries Minister Ed Vaizey has asked Sir Terry Farrell CBE to make recommendations to inform DCMS’s approach to promoting high standards of design.

The review will look at four main areas:
  • Understanding the Government’s role in promoting design quality in architecture and the built environment
  • The economic benefits of architecture – maximising the UK’s growth potential
  • Cultural heritage and the built environment
  • Promoting education, outreach, and skills.




And the report, just published...

Link to web site

Daily Telegraph:
"Planning champions for every area of country to fight unsightly developments"

"Planning 'champions' should be appointed in every community in the country to oppose unsightly unpopular developments, an independent report for the Government says today.

The 200-page review by leading architect Sir Terry Farrell said every council should nominate a 'civic champion' to 'improve design quality'.

"... It says that 'architecture, the built environment and an understanding of "place"' should be taught in some subjects at school, but not as a standalone subject.

"Other suggestions include giving councillors who vote on planning decisions 'basic training', to ensure that new developments are sympathetic to their surroundings.*



Link to
The Farrell Review



* "giving councillors who vote on planning decisions 'basic training', to ensure that new developments are sympathetic to their surroundings" 
- as with Barnet's Jan 2014's decision?

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

The Observer: "London is being transformed with 230 towers. Why the lack of consultation?" (Twenty of them are in Barnet!)


"An explosion of high-rise buildings will change London forever. Now 80 public figures, shocked at the scale of the plans, are demanding a say in the way the city is reshaped"

Link to web site

"When the appearance of a great city is about to be radically transformed, it is a good idea for its citizens to be shown what is going to happen and have a say in it. It is also a good idea if the city's government has a vision, or at least an overview, of what is happening.

"Neither of these applies to the wave of towers about to hit London. There are plans for more than 230, at the last count. They range in height from 20 storeys to more than 60, in central and suburban locations. Yet it has taken a privately funded organisation, New London Architecture, to discover this number. When Kit Malthouse, deputy mayor for business, was presented with this figure, he was not only ignorant of it, but denied it could be possible. 

"... The majority of the tall buildings now proposed are residential. There is, of course, an acute shortage of homes in London, but stacks of high-rise, high-price flats are not what the city needs. In a recent Ipsos Mori poll commissioned by New London Architecture, a majority of Londoners said they would not want to live in towers. The transformation of the skyline is not driven by serving their needs, but by a bubble of overseas investment in high-end residential property. Many of these flats are likely to be left empty."


Link to web site

"Campaigners fight to save London skyline from 230 more skyscrapers"

"Some of Britain's most influential figures in the arts, politics and academia have launched a campaign to save London's skyline from being dominated by more than 200 additional skyscrapers.

"In a statement in the Observer, signatories from sculptor Sir Antony Gormley to philosopher Alain de Botton, author Alan Bennett, Stirling prize-winning architect Alison Brooks, and London mayoral hopefuls Dame Tessa Jowell and MP David Lammy warn: 'The skyline of London is out of control.'

"... The mayor's spokesman said that 'virtually every one' of the towers had the support of local politicians and English Heritage, adding: 'The mayor needs to balance an array of challenges and competing interests across a rapidly growing city. He recognises the concerns around the architecture of London's skyline, but tall buildings beautifully designed in the right location and in harmony with their surroundings help to meet the challenge of a rapidly growing city.'

"The NLA says that of the buildings being planned, 189 (80%) are intended to be residential, but do not meet London's housing needs because of their price and dimensions. A further 18 are planned as office developments, eight as hotels and 13 are due for mixed use, while one tower is to be an educational institute."

2014-03-30

"Investors sought for £4bn Brent Cross Redevelopment" (Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here)


Left: Phase One, cherry-picked sites by Hammerson.
Right: Later Unsustainable Phases, after Hammerson has gone.
(Link to Movehut web site)

"The three-way partnership behind the Brent Cross Cricklewood regeneration project say they are still searching for new investors despite a ministerial decision to delay the calling in of revised plans for the multi-billion pound north-west London scheme. [Hammerson just wants to clear off. The transport assessment is only tested later!]

"Brent Cross Shopping Centre owners Hammerson and Standard Life and Barnet Borough Council are looking for a new lead investor to help deliver the £4bn Cricklewood project and turn the area into a 'thriving town centre'. The ongoing project is expected to span two decades and will include retail and other commercial space alongside 7,550 new homes. [Now 10,000 are mentioned. Grid-locked roads!]


"It is believed the partnership has already been approached by several large corporate funds, one from overseas. The process of selecting a new backer will start in summer 2014, with site work getting underway by early 2015. [Welcome to the Corrupt London Borough of Barnet.]


" 'This initial stage will provide valuable feedback as we continue to finalise our requirements and ensure we are attracting the strongest field of partners possible,' said council leader, Richard Cornelius. 'With the London property market showing strong signs of recovery, this is the perfect time for the council to attract significant investment into Barnet.' [Barnet has a PR department.]


"London is the hottest place in UK... but Met Office issues LEVEL TEN alert for high pollution." (Think what Hammerson's Brent Cross 'Living Bridge' would be like!)


Phew, What a Scorcher!
(Link to Evening Standard)

"Parts of Britain basked in weather warmer than mainland Spain and Ibiza, as temperatures reached over 20C today.

"London was the hottest part of the country, with temperatures reaching a maximum of 20.4C (68.7F) at St James's Park at 1pm, according to the Met Office.

"This made the capital hotter than Madrid (17C/62.5F), the Balearic Islands (18C/64.5F) and the French Riviera (16C-17C/61F-62.5F), weather forecaster MeteoGroup said.

"However the Met Office said there was a pollution warning level ten, the highest on their scale.

"A level this high means that adults and children with lung problems, adults with heart problems, and older people should avoid strenuous physical activity, according to the Met Office."

Barnet Press (Roads-v-Rail), and Barnet Times x2 (West Hendon, and A1/A41 Apex Corner)





(West Hendon is in same Planning Guidance area as Brent Cross)



Cheap fashion at Brent Cross? "Revealed: The high-street shops that do not pay their garment workers a living wage"


Link to Independent on Sunday

"Debenhams, Matalan and The North Face are among the worst high-street clothing shops at paying a fair wage to those who make their products, according to a report to be published tomorrow.

" ... Half of the companies surveyed had wording in their codes of conduct specifying that wages should be enough to meet workers’ basic needs. But only four brands – Inditex, Marks & Spencer, Switcher and Tchibo – were able to demonstrate clear progress towards implementing them. 'Labour Behind the Label', a campaign for workers’ rights, says even these four have a long way to go before a living wage is realised for garment workers.

"Rushanara Ali, MP for Bethnal Green and Bow and Labour’s education spokesperson, is Britain’s first MP of Bangladeshi descent. After the Rana Plaza disaster, she was forthright in her demands for better worker protection for those making clothes that are sold in the UK."

Link to 'Labour behind the Label'

2014-03-29

April 2014 [in March]: "Draft for London Assembly: HOMES FOR LONDON: The London Housing Strategy"


Link to web site (and then PDF)

"London is booming. Our economy is growing. The result - more jobs, more prosperity, and more people - puts even greater pressure on infrastructure, and in particular housing. Since 2008 London’s population has increased by 600,000. By 2020 we will have nine million Londoners, by 2031 we are predicted to blast through the ten million barrier.

"My 2020 Vision set out the scale of the challenges we face in maintaining London’s position as the best big city in the world. Rising to our housing challenge is an economic as well as a social imperative.

"We need to help find every way possible for hard-working Londoners to access decent low-cost affordable housing at a time when for many it appears all that is on offer is ever more unaffordable. I published a draft housing strategy in November, setting out how I want London to rise to this challenge. It has had a tremendous response and every good idea has been included.

"While this housing strategy is not only about supply, it is clear that supply above all else is central to London’s housing needs. With increased supply come opportunities to address affordability, help for people to meet their aspirations, improved quality, renewal of post-war estates, and the ability to tackle entrenched issues like homelessness and overcrowding.

"Post-recession London is seeing a vast expansion of house-building. A record number of new homes were registered to be built in 2013, while construction orders for new housing rose to £5.3 billion. Affordable house-building is on track to deliver 100,000 homes by 2016, a record in the history of City Hall.

"Yet the challenge is enormous, because historically the number of homes being built was too low. For the last 30 years or more, housing delivery has all but flatlined at around half the level we now need. Housing in the capital has been a story of boom then bust, of economic cycles that follow their inexorable cycle paths, of governments of all political colours that rise and fall but simply don’t grip or change the fundamental story - we just do not build enough homes.

"This all leaves London facing an epic challenge: to double house-building and build 42,000 new homes a year, every year, for the next twenty years. That’s a level of house-building unseen in our great city since the 1930s and then only for a few short years. And of course, unlike in the 1930s, we do not have the option of simply building over miles of virgin countryside.

"London has some of the most exciting development opportunities in the world. From Battersea to the Royal Docks, from Croydon to Brent Cross. [Good grief.]

"As far as the eye can see, the cranes that speak of the scale of opportunity in the capital dot the landscape. In truth, we need more of them."



"Mayor’s plan to turbo boost housing to 1930s levels"

  • Plan to double house building
  • Protection for leaseholders to halt spiralling service charges
  • Bold new objectives for acquiring strategic land to accelerate development
  • Strong new standards to improve private rented sector
  • Housing Zones to increase development of homes including more affordable housing
  • Accessible homes on town centre developments for older people to enhance independent living
  • Er, that's it.

GOOD NEWS ON HOUSE PRICES: "Battersea Power Station: bedsit studio flats to sell for £800,000"


Link to Evening Standard

"The redevelopment of Battersea power station will see studio flats go on sale for an incredible £800,000, according to prices and designs unveiled by the site's developers.

"Prices for the 254 homes planned for the iconic building could reach £4million for four bedroom properties, details released to shareholders revealed.

"The Battersea Power Station Development Company (BPSDC) announced that guide prices for one-bedroom flats would start at £1-million, while two-bedroom flats would start at £1.5-million, and three-bedroom homes would be on the market from £2.7-million."



Link to web site
Evening Standard:
"London is living through biggest house price bubble ever"

"The average London house price surged to a record £414,356 last month as a new report said the capital's boom is now the biggest property bubble in history.

"Experts said the London market is now “detached from reality”, as prices rocketed by 13.8 per cent in the year to February — the fastest rate since 2007 — according to latest Land Registry figures. An explosion in the number of first-time buyers scrambling on to the ladder and easier access to mortgages have contributed to heating up the market.

"Another factor is the tidal wave of foreign cash drawn by London’s status as the world’s premier 'safe haven' investment. The latest increase means that the typical London home has gone up in value by just over £50,000 in a year, far outstripping the capital’s average salary of £36,781 in 2013.

"But it immediately revived fears that the 'dysfunctional' London property market is now out of control, with frenzied buyers creating a new bubble that will end in a disastrous crash when interest rates start to go up."

Boris's Roads Task Force: "Future Streets Incubator Fund"


For web site, click pause

"Roads, streets and underused public spaces across the Capital will be transformed with funding from the £1.8m Future Streets Incubator Fund."

"We are looking for small-scale pilot scheme submissions from local boroughs, Business Improvement Districts and community groups to award funding to over the next three years.

"From ideas such as temporary public plazas to new street layouts, technology and infrastructure, the fund will be a great way to try out innovative low-cost measures.

"This will help to deliver recommendations made by the Mayor’s Roads Task Force, which aims to radically improve London's roads, streets and public spaces."

2014-03-28

CARBUNCLEGATE: Rich, Over-Privileged, Out-of-Touch Dreamer, who Meddles in Politics, speaks out on "Do we want High-rise or Medium-rise London Housing?" So does Prince.


"Boris Johnson rejects Prince Charles's answer
to London's housing crisis"

Link to Evening Standard

"Prince Charles’s vision of more 'mid-rise' mansion blocks and Victorian-style streets and squares, to help solve London’s housing crisis was roundly rejected by Boris Johnson today.

"The Mayor said it would be 'absolutely crazy' to rule out building more towers, as the heir to the throne had suggested, when they could help accomodate the capital’s booming population.

"The Prince made a dramatic intervention earlier this week with a warning that soaring prices would drive a generation of young people out of the capital. He said buildings of between five and eight storeys are more in keeping with London’s traditions than soaring skyscrapers."

2014-03-27

7-21 April: Brent Cross Shopping Centre: "Charity Easter Treasure Hunt"



Charity Easter Treasure Hunt
7 Apr - 21 Apr 2014

"Can you find all the eggs hidden around Brent Cross?

"Join Noah's Ark at Brent Cross during the Easter school holidays and enjoy the Noah's Ark Easter treasure hunt.

"The Easter treasure hunt will be taking place 7th April - 21st April, excluding Sunday when Brent Cross will be closed.

Suggested donation - £1.00 per child/per entry.
Every child that takes part will receive a prize.
 
"Images of Easter Eggs will be hidden in shop windows across the shopping centre. All you need to do is pick up an entry form from the Noah’s Ark Desk and fill in which store you’ve spotted the eggs in.

"The Noah’s Ark desk will be located on the Upper Mall, near John Lewis.

"Please ask one of the friendly volunteers for terms and conditions."

Demos: "The true cost of debt"



"Nine out of ten adults in Britain are in debt, but the emotional and social impact[s?] often overshadows the financial cost.

"Demos's new report reveals Britain's £5bn of hidden debt, developing a Harm Index to highlight the most harmful types of borrowing. [Correct but awkward grammar.]

"Read the report. Read the blog. Come to the event." [Use longer sentences.]



"On April 1st, responsibility for the regulation of consumer debt will pass from the Office of Fair Trading to the Financial Conduct Authority. The Borrowers, a new Demos report supported by the Barrow Cadbury Trust, is a timely intervention in the debate about different types of personal debt.

"This innovative piece of research and analysis develops a new 'bottom-up' typology of personal debt, which moves away from industry-led product definitions. The report examines how different types of debt impacts on individuals and explores why some people are more affected than others.
"Join us to discuss the report's findings and hear from a panel of expert speakers:
  • Yvonne Fovargue MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Debt and Personal Finance
  • Councillor Lib Peck, Leader of Lambeth Council
  • Julia Daniel, Financial Inclusion Manager, London Community Finance
  • Sara Llewellin, Chief Executive, the Barrow Cadbury Trust.
"Jo Salter of Demos and author of the report will chair the discussion.
"The event will take place on Tuesday 1st April in Westminster. The event will start promptly at 9am and finish at 10.30am. Refreshments will be served from 08.30am.

"For more information about attending or to discuss any access queries, please contact us at events@demos.co.uk or 0207 367 6331."

2014-03-26

"London's new infrastructure plan to look at new towns and green belt reviews, says GLA planner"


Link to Planning Resource

"London's new strategic infrastructure plan is likely to examine potential reviews of the green belt and whether new towns are needed to support the capital's growth, a top planner for the mayor Boris Johnson has said.

"Speaking at a briefing on the proposed revisions to the London Plan, John Lett, strategic planning manager at the Greater London Authority (GLA), revealed that the mayor’s upcoming, long-term '2050 Infrastructure Plan' would be 'asking unmentionable questions'.

"He said: 'It will be asking: Where is London going to grow? What’s the infrastructure needed to support that growth? It will be looking at green belt development, new towns, expanded towns.'

"Lett also promised that it would look at the possibilities of airports closing and new ones opening.

"He added: 'These are issues that are outside the planning system, but this debate is beginning.'

"Last July, the GLA revealed that the mayor would publish a strategic infrastructure plan alongside a revised version of the London Plan.

"According to the GLA, an interim report on what it describes as a long-term infrastructure investment plan is due this spring with a final report in the summer. It has said the plan would consider London’s needs up to 2050, examining a number of scenarios including airport locations, densities and the impact of technological change.

"Meanwhile, the draft Further Alterations to the London Plan (FALP), published in January for consultation, raises the capital’s housing target to 42,000 homes a year up to 2036, up from 35,000 a year in the current plan."



Link to LONDON.GOV.UK

Call for written evidence (now closed)
"The Mayor of London has commissioned work to create the capital’s first Long Term Infrastructure Investment Plan.

"We want London to have the infrastructure needed to remain one of the best cities in the world to live, work and do business in. But we all know that London’s infrastructure is under pressure even as London’s population continues to grow. Current projections suggest London’s population will hit 10 million by the early 2030s. Climate change presents further long term challenges.

"Our aim in developing a long term infrastructure investment plan is to help the city prepare better for this growth over the very long term, while working out how we can overcome current problems and bring fresh thinking into delivering the infrastructure the city needs today.

"To that end, we are making a high level assessment of the full range of infrastructure delivery in the city, looking at how it is managed currently and what could be improved, and considering London’s strategic infrastructure needs up to 2050. The scope covers public transport, roads, energy, water, sewerage, waste, broadband and green infrastructure. Critical social infrastructure is also included – in particular the overall amount and approximate distribution of housing (including affordable housing) and school places. We also want to assess the magnitude of cost associated with the city’s infrastructure requirements; and consider how best to fund and finance our needs.

"Of course the city’s needs will change over time, and technological developments will affect what type of infrastructure is needed and how it is delivered. As such, we anticipate that the Infrastructure Investment Plan will be revisited periodically. We are taking a deliberately long-term perspective to ensure that over time plans can be revised to take account of changed circumstances.

"The first Long Term Infrastructure Investment Plan for London will be produced in two stages – an interim report (inviting comment) in February 2014 and a final report in Summer 2014.

"As we work towards the first stage, evidence would be welcome on the following five core questions:
  • What aspects of London’s infrastructure will come under most pressure as London continues to grow?
  • What will London’s high level infrastructure needs be over the period to 2050? What will be the key projects for London? How could we fund these projects?
  • How can we change behaviours to reduce demand for key infrastructure? To what extent could demand side changes affect, for example, our energy needs or over-crowding on London’s transport?
  • What can we learn from other cities in terms of infrastructure planning, delivery and financing?
  • What are the main barriers to delivering infrastructure in London (at local as well as regional levels)? How might these be overcome?

Evening Standard: "Tottenham in £1 billion turnaround "


"Haringey council’s 20-year vision to make the most of the £1 billion private and public funds earmarked for the borough offers a foundation of hope for one of London’s poorest areas, says Robert Bevan"

Link to web site

"Last Tuesday, after long consultation, Haringey council’s cabinet agreed its Strategic Regeneration Framework, a 20-year vision for transforming riot-damaged Tottenham with 10,000 new homes, sports facilities, transport upgrades and improved health, schools and local job opportunities for its residents.

"The report into the 2011 disturbances, 'It Took Another Riot', took its name from Lord Heseltine’s report into the 1981 unrest that shook London and Liverpool, and led to inner-city investment in both cities. In 1985, the area was disturbed again when Tottenham’s Broadwater Farm estate erupted in deadly violence, and efforts to regenerate the area since have included an arts centre, a new Tottenham Hale station and the building of a big box retail park nearby. It remains, however, one of the poorest areas of London.

"Today, more than £1 billion has been earmarked to rebuild Tottenham once again and 'reimagining the built environment' is at the top of the post-riot agenda. Some of the team who created the Olympic Park, including Mayoral adviser to the Games Neale Coleman, are on board. Transport for London is investing almost £250 million, and the private sector £700 million, with the Mayor’s office underwriting a £500  million loan guarantee to developers."


Rudi.net: "Ebbsfleet in Kent is to morph into a garden city with an initial 15,000 homes, says Government"


Link to web site

"George Osborne said the government's initial plan was to build 15,000 new homes in Ebbsfleet:
"We're going to create an urban development corporation, so we're going to create the instrument that allows this kind of thing to go ahead and cuts through a lot of the obstacles that often happen when you want to build these homes.

There are already some homes being built on the site, so progress was under way, but it was on a much, much smaller scale and with much less ambition than what I'm setting out."
"... But the Town and Country Planning Association says Britain needs dozens of new garden cities, and they won't be as easy as Ebbsfleet to get built.

"With planning permission for 8,000 homes already in the bag, its close access to Bluewater shopping centre, the A2 and M25, as well as sitting on the fastest rail track in the country, Ebbsfleet is the low-hanging fruit."



Link to web site

Planning Resource:
"MP urges high standards of design at Ebbsfleet garden city"
"The Tory MP who drew up the party's planning proposals when in opposition has said that the government must ensure that the proposed garden city at Ebbsfleet is not made up of 'rabbit hutch' homes.

"Speaking during a debate on measures in the Budget, Henley MP John Howell, who wrote the Tories' Open Source Planning green paper when in opposition, said that a 'key element' of the Ebbsfleet garden city 'must be an emphasis on design'.

"Howell said:
"It is essential that it is an attractive place where people want to live. Design must play a key role because of the important that the project will have in the minds of other people who are thinking about having a garden city.

We do not just want rabbit hutches and boxes to be built. All eyes will be on this city in determining whether communities are willing to participate."
"... Meanwhile, Tory MP Gareth Johnson, whose constituency includes the site of the proposed Ebbsfleet garden city, said:
"The scheme is bold and forward thinking and, if implemented correctly, will enhance the local area and help ease some of the pressure on housing in the South-East.

It is crucial that local people form part of the decision-making process. ... There must be opportunities for local people to input their thoughts and suggestions, as the concept simply will not work if the development is imposed on local residents." [Didn't stop Barnet Council and Hammerson at Brent Cross, though, did it?]

Barnet-Capita Planning Service: Public query desks


(May take a few seconds to run smoothly.)
 

2014-03-25

Tumbleweed blows around Brent Cross (partly due to incompetence). But BBC asks: "Is THIS the secret behind financial crashes"?


Link to web site

"American economist Hyman Minsky, who died in 1996, grew up during the Great Depression, an event which shaped his views and set him on a crusade to explain how it happened and how a repeat could be prevented, writes Duncan Weldon.

"Minsky spent his life on the margins of economics, but his ideas suddenly gained currency with the 2007-08 financial crisis. To many, it seemed to offer one of the most plausible accounts of why it had happened.

"His long out-of-print books were suddenly in high demand, with copies changing hands for hundreds of dollars - not bad for densely written tomes with titles like 'Stabilizing an Unstable Economy'.

"Senior central bankers, including current US Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen and the Bank of England's Mervyn King, began quoting his insights. Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman named a high-profile talk about the financial crisis 'The Night They Re-read Minsky'."

Dave Hill, The Guardian: "The Osbornomics of Barking Riverside"


"Greater London's largest housing development scheme remains stalled by an austerity mentality"

Link to web site

"His big pal Boris Johnson talked it up, their political opponents talked it down. But even if George Osborne eventually stumps up for an extension of the Overground to the very large and very stalled Barking Riverside housing scheme, many people will go on wondering what took him so long.

"Critics feel the project's timeline does their talking for them. The 443 acre former power station site beside the Thames was bought by developer Bellway 20-odd years ago. In 2002 the Greater London Authority took a 49% stake and a joint venture, Barking Riverside Ltd, was formed.

"Five years later, Ken Livingstone's City Hall gave the green light to plans for a massive 10,800 new homes to be built there - the equivalent of a whole new Sevenoaks - nearly a third of them with three or more bedrooms, and more than 4,000 of them affordable. That's about as good as it gets in the big, bad metropolis these days."



Barking Riverside:
 Link to LONDON.GOV.UK

Evening Standard: "Rival royals in £120m bidding war for giant Octopus block in Chiswick." (Worth posting? Has this story got legs?)


Click on the cephalopod for web site

"Two rival royal families are set to go head-to-head in a £120 million bidding war for one of London’s most divisive buildings.

The wife of the former Emir of Qatar and the current ruler of Dubai are said to be in talks with the developers of the remarkable Blade Runner-style London Octopus office block in Chiswick.

The proposed 50 metre-high modernist structure — which will be draped in Britain’s biggest advertising hoardings — has been bitterly opposed by locals who claim it will turn Chiswick roundabout into a garish Piccadilly Circus of the west.

Joint developers London & Bath Estates and Galliard Group will begin officially marketing the building this week. They say it has already attracted international interest because the LED screens covering a third of an acre —three times as much as the Piccadilly Circus lights — will be passed by estimated 300,000 vehicles a day."

The Guardian: "Chipperfield Architects and Beautiful Cities". (Will Brent Cross under Hammerson be a beautiful city? Thought not.)



GOOD NEWS ON HOUSE PRICES: BBC: "UK house prices accelerate, ONS figures show"


Link to web site

"UK house prices in January were up 6.8% compared with a year earlier, official figures show.

"This was an acceleration compared with the previous month and was driven by a 13.2% increase in London, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

"Excluding London and the south east of England, house prices were up 3.8% in the year to the end of January."

2014-03-24

IanVisits: "TfL Roundels — as a '2048' game"



How to play:
Use your arrow keys to move the tiles.
When two identical tiles touch, they merge
and become the next level of tile.
Get a tile to the eleventh level to win!

2014-03-22

"Climate change is putting world at risk of irreversible changes, scientists warn"


Link to The Guardian

The world is at growing risk of 'abrupt, unpredictable and potentially irreversible changes' because of a warming climate, America’s premier scientific society warned on Tuesday.

In a rare intervention into a policy debate, the American Association for the Advancement of Science urged Americans to act swiftly to reduce greenhouse gas emissions – and lower the risks of leaving a climate catastrophe for future generations.

"In a new report, 'What we know', the AAAS said: "As scientists, it is not our role to tell people what they should do,”

But we consider it our responsibility as professionals to ensure, to the best of our ability, that people understand what we know: human-caused climate change is happening, we face risks of abrupt, unpredictable and potentially irreversible changes, and responding now will lower the risks and costs of taking action."



"The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is the world’s largest non-government general science membership organization and the executive publisher of 'Science', a leading scientific journal.

Our mission is 'advance science for the benefit of all people.' Our goals include providing a voice for science on societal issues and promoting the responsible use of science in public policy. There may be no more pressing issue intersecting science and society than climate change and the What We Know initiative was born in response to that reality.

The What We Know initiative is dedicated to ensuring that three 'R’s' of climate change communicated to the public.

  • The first is Reality 97% of climate experts have concluded that human-caused climate change is happening.
  • The second is Risk that the reality of climate change means that there are climate change impacts we can expect, but we also must consider what might happen, especially the small, but real, chance that we may face abrupt changes with massively disruptive impacts.
  • The third R is Response that there is much we can do and that the sooner we respond, the better off we will be.

The What We Know initiative will include outreach to scientists, economists, community leaders, policy makers and the public at large over the following months via meetings and media outreach.

To guide the What We Know initiative, AAAS convened a group of prominent experts in climate science to address the fact that many Americans still erroneously believe that the scientific community is divided on the issue and that Americans are largely unaware of the full spectrum of climate risks – both what is likely to happen and what might happen — that human-caused climate change presents to Americans now and in the future."

Link to The Guardian
"The climate change deniers have won"

"Scientists continue to warn us about global warming, but most of us have a vested interest in not wanting to think about it.

"The American Association for the Advancement of Science came as close as such a respectable institution can to screaming an alarm last week. ... In other words, the most distinguished scientists from the country with the world's pre-eminent educational institutions were trying to shake humanity out of its complacency. Why weren't their warnings leading the news?

"In one sense, the association's appeal was not new. The Royal Society, the Royal Institution, Nasa, the US National Academy of Sciences, the US Geological Survey, the IPCC and the national science bodies of 30 or so other countries have said that man-made climate change is on the march. A survey of 2,000 peer-reviewed papers on global warming published in the last 20 years found that 97% said that humans were causing it.

"When the glib talk about the 'scientific debate on global warming', they either don't know or will not accept that there is no scientific debate. The suggestion first made by Eugene F Stoermer that the planet has moved from the Holocene, which began at the end of the last ice age, to the manmade Anthropocene, in which we now live, is everywhere gaining support. Man-made global warming and the man-made mass extinction of species define this hot, bloody and (let us hope) brief epoch in the world's history.

"If global warming is not new, it is urgent: a subject that should never be far from our thoughts. Yet within 24 hours of the American association's warning, the British government's budget confirmed that it no longer wanted to fight it."

GLA: "Families missing out in Mayor’s drive for density"


(12 March: The GLA Planning Committee is undertaking a series of meetings in preparation for responding to the Mayor’s consultation on proposals to revise the London Plan. The Committee will submit its final comments to the Mayor by 10 April.)

Link to web site

"Housing in London is under strain from a growing population and the pressure is set to increase over the coming years. The London Assembly Planning Committee heard today about how the drive to accommodate new homes being built in London is resulting in increased densities, but not higher numbers of family homes.

"The density matrix, one of the key tools in deciding the density levels of new development in London, is overdue for a review, guests argued.[1] The Committee heard that the density matrix is contributing to the low amount of affordable family housing delivered in the capital because it encourages developers to build one- and two-bedroom flats, which offers higher returns.

"Nicky Gavron, Chair of the Planning Committee, said:
"To deliver better outcomes for families, the density matrix must be reviewed to ensure London gets the family-sized housing it needs.

"At the moment, the market is driving developers to build small one- and two-bedroom flats, but this is not what London’s families need. Planning policy must not allow the need for high density to override the need for homes for families on low and modest incomes."


Link to
"Draft Further Alterations to the London Plan"

And an earlier plan...
 
"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?"

[Reposted] Thurs 27 March: Finchley Society: "Do Front Gardens Matter?"



(Questions can still be submitted.)

2014-03-21

[Reposted from Jan 2013] "An extraordinary part of London is taking shape" - it's just not in the London Borough of Barnet


'The Story So Far'

"After a decade of careful planning [same as Hammerson at Brent Cross, then] and a lot of very hard work, with many partners, [oh, that's where Hammerson fell down] the first phase of King's Cross is now open to the public. [Meanwhile, tumble-weed blows across the Brent Cross development site...]

"The location, the connections, the canalside setting, the rich and varied heritage, an exciting cultural scene, a thriving business community, and a strong sense of local community. All these things come together at King’s Cross to make it unique, exciting, and really quite special."

"50 new buildings, 2,000 new homes, 20 new streets,
10 new public squares, 67 acres, 45,000 people who live,
work and study in the area"
(Click image to enlarge)

"In Victorian times, King’s Cross was an industrial heartland. But by the late 20th Century, the area known as the railway lands had become a series of disused buildings, railway sidings, warehouses and contaminated land.

"Earlier plans for redevelopment fell through. But the 1996 decision to move the Channel Tunnel Rail Link from Waterloo to St Pancras became the catalyst for change. The landowners - London & Continental Railways Limited and Excel (now DHL) decided to develop the land.

"In 2000, Argent was selected as the developer. A masterplan for the development was prepared by Allies and Morrison and Porphyrios Associates. The London Borough of Camden granted outline planning permission for the scheme in 2006.

"In 2008, Argent, London & Continental Railways and DHL formed a joint partnership: Kings Cross Central Limited Partnership. The partnership is the single land owner at King’s Cross. 

"Since then, the partnership has invested over £300m. To date, most of this money has been spent on key infrastructure such as roads, bridges and utilities. Only now, with the opening of the University of the Arts London, Granary Square, King’s Bridge and King’s Boulevard, are we beginning to see the impact the development will have on the area.

"Across the site projects are underway such as five new office buildings, new homes, student housing and the refurbishment of the Great Northern Hotel. By 2016 most of the 67 acres will be developed."


View and pan around the
KINGS CROSS
WEB CAM

yourself (assuming no-one is doing so)!


Architects:
Contractors involved in the project include:

King's Cross Visitor Centre

"The Visitor Centre is now located in the Granary Building,
the new home of the University of the Arts, London.

"You can find out what to see and do. Learn about
the history of the area. And see how the development
will unfold over the next ten years.
There’s an amazing interactive model, photo displays,
and all kinds of information and goodies."

[Has anyone ever detected anybody in Hammerson,
talented enough to pull off this sort of thing?]