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


Drapers: Hammerson drops profits and turfs people out of homes

"Property firm Hammerson has reported a 9.2% drop in profit before tax to £329.4m as it experienced a drop in relation to property revaluation gains.

"For the six months to June 30 the business’s revenue from its joint venture projects fell from £183m to £121.1m.

"However stripping out valuation changes adjusted earnings per share increased 13.3% to 13.6p.

"However its portfolio experienced 2.1% like-for-like growth in net rental income, which was up to £159.5m from £146.9m for the same period in 2014.

"Sales across Hammerson's UK shopping centres increased by 2% as footfall grew by 1.2%. The firm said its UK shopping centres’ estimated rental value rose by 3.3% on a rolling 12-month basis to the end of June.

"During the six months Hammerson opened new restaurants at Silverburn shopping centre in Glasgow. It is also on track to open a centre in Beauvais in France, and retail parks in Merthyr Tydfil in Wales and Rugby this year.

"In London the compulsory purchase order inquiry process for its joint venture with Westfield at Croydon has been completed. The compulsory purchase order process has been initiated at Brent Cross for the proposed extension and planning amendments have been submitted for The Goodsyard development in Bishopsgate.

"Hammerson's portfolio is valued at £7.9bn spanning 12 European countries and comprising investments in 22 shopping centres, 21 convenient retail parks and 15 premium outlet villages.

"David Atkins, Hammerson’s chief executive, said:
"The business has performed very well in the first half, underpinned by robust consumer confidence and an active asset management strategy resulting in sector-beating earnings growth of 13%. Our prime assets continue to attract retailer demand from some of the most sought after brands, lifting ERV growth across the portfolio.

Looking ahead, the business is well positioned to benefit from continuing momentum across our key markets and to deliver attractive and sustainable returns for shareholders."


More progress on the back of Barnet's corrupt Brent Cross planning consent! "Outer London boroughs outperform central areas for first time in 10 years"

Link to "South China Morning Post"

"As land and development opportunities become fewer in prime central London, it really is no surprise that the outer boroughs are showing greater investment potential. With more developers taking on major regeneration schemes and government investment in infrastructure projects, whole districts of London are being transformed and are offering exciting and lucrative opportunities for those willing to look further afield.

"While there is no disputing that London remains the world's capital when it comes to property investment, savvy investors should be considering new, previously overlooked pockets of London in order to maximise their returns.

"... Boroughs like Barnet and Redbridge are still growing, and so can offer bigger rewards long term. Experiencing an annual growth of 14.5 and 15.4 per cent respectively, both boroughs have been invigorated with investment for various new housing projects that will enhance the existing communities and appeal to the growing number of Londoners moving out to zones 4 and 5 to get more for their money.

"With plans to deliver 28,000 new homes over the next 10 years [not to mention the LAST ten years], the fourth largest housing target in London, Barnet is offering plenty of options for investors. Where many buyers will be guided towards Brent Cross where there is £4.5 billion (HK$54 billion) worth of redevelopment happening [happening?], Edgware, just four more stops along at the end of the Northern line, is better value with prices as much as 17 per cent lower."

Hammerson, the evil property barons! "Elderly residents face eviction to make way for Brent Cross Cricklewood scheme"

Link to "Barnet Times"

"Elderly people living in a sheltered housing block will be evicted to make way for the Brent Cross Cricklewood regeneration scheme.

The Rosa Freedman Centre, in Claremont Way, Cricklewood will be torn down next year so the area can be redeveloped.

A day centre on the site will close on July 24, and the 25 residents currently living in the sheltered housing, run by Barnet Homes, will be moved to sheltered blocks across the borough.

"... David Howard, chairman of the Federation of Residents’ Associations of Barnet, criticised the plans."


Channel 4 News and Hammerson's Brent Cross Cricklewood Development

Channel 4:
"Not in my backyard? 
Not any longer. 
People will lose the right to object to new homes being built nearby, under new government plans to overhaul the planning laws."

... So David Howard, of the Federation of Residents Associations of Barnet, was interviewed about Brent Cross:
"Yesterday I was asked to give an interview for Channel 4 News on the Brent Cross Cricklewood development. However, as you can see, while the interview was supposed to be about the Brent Cross redevelopment, they cut out most of the BXC stuff except for my arm flailing around doing semaphore. They added a few questions about the planning changes announced yesterday at the end, which is what made the news.

"That was the only political bit of the interview. Good job I had read the papers that morning.

"So here is my 20 secs of glory on Channel 4 news last night. It was filmed on the narrow road bridge over the 10-lane North Circular Road with Brent Cross in the background. The interview was about 10 minutes long but took 45 minutes to film because of interruptions from streams of pedestrians."

Click for Channel 4 catchup, then item 6


Guardian Comment is Free: "It’s too late to save our world, so enjoy the spectacle of doom"

"The business world is right – let's just get on with the third Heathrow runway, and the extinction of all life on Earth while we're at it – why delay the inevitable?"

Link to web site

"In the middle of a week of record temperatures, as if unaware of the irony, the business community celebrated the consolidation of its attempts to force the government's hand to agree to a third filth-generating runway at Heathrow, tipping all species on Earth towards extinction. Everything will die soon, except for cockroaches, and Glastonbury favourite the Fall, who will survive even a nuclear holocaust, though they will still refuse to play their 80s chart hits.

"In Norfolk on Thursday, the tarmac melted, and ducklings became trapped in sticky blackness. When a lioness whelped in an ancient Roman street, Caesar thought something was up. Here, solid matter transmuted to hot liquid and swallowed baby birds whole. How surreal do the signs and warnings have to become before we stop in our tracks? Are whales required to fall from the sky? Does Tim Henman have to give birth to a two-headed cat on Centre Court?"

The Observer: "If London is so wretched, why do so many of us want to live here?" [In reply to previous week's article, also posted here.]

Link to web site

"In last week's Observer, this paper's architecture critic, Rowan Moore, wrote that 'London is eating itself'. He argued that rising house prices, a fast-growing population and billionaire foreigners are making life increasingly difficult for the inhabitants of the metropolis.

"As someone living in a rented basement flat, I can certainly identify with Mr Moore's argument about how hard it is to get on to the housing ladder in our capital. A big part of the reason I left my dream job at Downing Street after nine years working in the public sector was that I couldn't see a way to own a home in London without a drastic change in my financial circumstances. That's not how things should be.

"But what was missing from Mr Moore's elegy for doomed London was a proper explanation of why, given the hideous costs involved, so many of us choose to live in the cramped city. Or, to put it another way, why, in the same week that he wrote despairingly about our capital, did the Guardian commentator Jonathan Freedland proclaim it 'the world’s greatest city'?"


Amid the Corruption of the London Borough of Barnet: The Observer: "London: the city that ate itself"

"London is a city ruled by money.
The things that make it special
– the markets, pubs, high streets and communities –
are becoming unrecognisable.
The city is suffering a form of entropy
whereby anything distinctive is converted
into property value.
Can the capital save itself?"

Link to web site

" 'London is without question the most popular city for investors,' says Gavin Sung of the international property agents Savills. 'There is a trust factor. It has a strong government, a great legal system, the currency is relatively safe. It has a really nice lifestyle, there is the West End, diversity of food, it's multicultural.' We are in his office in a block in the centre of Singapore and he is explaining why people from that city-state are keen to buy residential property in London.

"He's right – London has all these qualities. It has parks, museums and nice houses. Its arts of hedonism are reaching unprecedented levels: its restaurants get better or at least more ambitious and its bars offer cocktails previously unknown to man (coconut seviche, for example, where, as its makers put it, 'coconut gin is swizzled through crushed ice with yuzu, passion fruit and a dark chocolate liqueur, and served long with an accompanying 'shot' of tuna seviche with a tamarind ponzu'). In some ways, the city has never been better. It has a buzz. Its population keeps growing and investment keeps pouring in, both signs of its desirability. As its mayor likes to boast: 'London is to the billionaire as the jungles of Sumatra are to the orangutans. It is their natural habitat.'

"At the same time, to use a commonly heard phrase, the city is eating itself. Most obviously, its provision of housing is failing to keep up with its popularity, with effects on price that breed bizarre reactions at the top end of the market and misery at the bottom. Thousands are being forced to leave London because their local authorities can't find them homes and people on middle incomes can't acquire a place where anyone would want to raise a family."

Link to The Observer

"Tory right-to-buy plan threatens mass selloff of council homes"

"Two large purple signs stand outside a half-built block of flats off Caledonian Road in King’s Cross. 'Twenty new council homes are coming', they announce. 'All new homes offered to local residents first … High quality homes for council rent.'

"James Murray, 31, executive member for housing and development at Islington council, looks up at the four-storey site on the edge of the sprawling Bemerton estate and admits his signs may be telling a lie. It looks as if the speculators and landlords will be moving in instead.

"During the general election campaign, the Conservatives offered 1.3 million tenants of housing association houses and flats the chance to buy their homes at a discount as part of David Cameron’s pitch that he could deliver “the good life” for voters. The pledge went down well on the doorsteps, and in theory the extension of the popular Thatcher right-to-buy policy was cost-free.

"But Murray and others see a heavy price looming. Local authorities in inner London now believe they will have to sell every new council home they build, as soon as they are ready, to finance the general election give-away. It could, they say, be the death knell of the council home."

The Independent: "Driving a car is getting cheaper and cheaper while trains and buses just keep getting more expensive"

"Driving a car is getting cheaper and cheaper while trains and buses just keep getting more expensive"

Link to web site

"Driving a car has continued to become significantly cheaper at the expense of bus and rail passengers, official figures show.

"Despite regular warnings by car lobbyists of a ‘war on the motorist’, between 1980 and 2014 the cost of motoring fell by 14 per cent – but in the same period, bus fares increased by 58 per cent.

"Rail travel has also become dramatically more expensive, with comparable ticket prices rising 63 per cent.

"The current government has failed to reverse the trend, with the cost of motoring falling 5 per cent since 2010 but bus and rail passengers facing rises of 2 and 6 per cent respectively.

"Policy under the current Government has tended to privilege motorists at the expense of people who use public transport."

City Metric: "In London, 'regeneration' all too often means 'social cleansing'"

Link to web site

"Ten years ago, if you asked pretty much anyone living in social housing if they’d like to see their estate regenerated, it's likely they would have said yes. New kitchens and bathrooms, new windows, lifts that work – what’s not to like?

"And if you said that, actually, you wanted to knock the whole lot down and rebuild it, but that residents could live somewhere else for a while before returning to a spanking new flat, they'd probably reason that they were still getting a decent deal.

"But if you said you were going to knock the whole lot down, evict the social tenants and use Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPO) to pressure owners into accepting derisory offers; if you reneged on your promise to provide homes for residents to return to, while flogging as many flats as possible to the luxury end of the market – well, you might expect them to be a bit aggrieved, wouldn't you?"