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


[Reposted from Feb 2012] Westfield White City (John Lewis mega-site) approved [2015 update: John Lewis announces no new store at Brent Cross]

Link to council web site

"Major regeneration and development plans for White City were approved on 16 February, by Hammersmith & Fulham Council’s planning applications committee.

"The £1billion scheme by shopping centre owners, Westfield, includes plans to build up to 1,522 homes, a new public green, offices, and an extension of the existing shopping centre in Wood Lane with new restaurants, cafes and a leisure complex.

"The development, which has been scaled down since it was originally submitted in August, is made up of accommodation, ranging from four to 12 storeys in height, with one feature building that is 20 storeys high. There will be 250 affordable homes and more than 59,000 sq ft is devoted to a new mall with a large ‘anchor store’." [With 'John Lewis' on the outside?]

Link to
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Create Streets: "Green wedges - are there alternatives to greenbelts?"

"Greenbelt land should be built on, but only in certain areas where the transport conditions are good. Meanwhile the footprint of buildings should be confined within a distance to the metro stations with relatively high density. In that case, the greenfield land will be preserved and the total spatial cost will reduce."

ECF: "Watch out for laws that demand cyclists get out of the way of driverless cars"

Link to web site

"The past can tell us a lot about the future, and the past tells us that we’re very poor at predicting the next transport revolution. 18th-century folk thought canals would last forever. Early 19th-century folk thought the same about turnpike roads. And for those who grew up in the 'railway age', the only future imagined was of steel rails and steam trains. Few predicted the motor car's eventual dominance, and it’s reasonable to assume that the same inability to accurately predict the future afflicts us, too. As 'car age' people, we tend to extrapolate into the future of transport using what we know, and that's car-shaped objects on roads.

"Driverless cars – known to futurist wonks as AVs, autonomous vehicles –  are not, in fact, the disruptive technology that many think it is. I’ve been using driverless cars for a great many years, cars which scuttle away and hide when not needed. I can summon one with an app when in a meeting and it will appear outside and whisk me to wherever I want to go. I’m talking about taxis. When I use taxis, including Uber, I can kick back and let the driver – a silent automaton if I so will it – worry about the road ahead.

"Where autonomous vehicles might change the world – if we let them – is over who has priority on roads. Currently, driverless cars are programmed to avoid cyclists and pedestrians. In a city full of cars driven by onboard computers it will be a great game to ride or step in front of them, safe in the knowledge they’re programmed not to touch you."

The Observer: "Forget ideology, liberal democracy’s newest threats come from technology and bioscience"

"A groundbreaking book by historian Yuval Harari claims that artificial intelligence and genetic enhancements will usher in a world of inequality and powerful elites. [Like Barnet, then.] How real is the threat?"

Link to web site

"... Determinists ... believe that technology drives history. And, at heart, Yuval Noah Harari's new book, Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow is .. determinist too. The author writes:
'In the early 21st century, the train of progress is again pulling out of the station – and this will probably be the last train ever to leave the station called Homo sapiens. Those who miss this train will never get a second chance. In order to get a seat on it, you need to understand 21st century technology, and in particular the powers of biotechnology and computer algorithms.'
"He continues:
'These powers are far more potent than steam and the telegraph, and they will not be used mainly for the production of food, textiles, vehicles and weapons. The main products of the 21st century will be bodies, brains and minds, and the gap between those who know how to engineer bodies and brains and those who do not will be wider than the gap between Dickens's Britain and the Madhi's Sudan. Indeed, it will be bigger than the gap between Sapiens and Neanderthals. In the 21st century, those who ride the train of progress will acquire divine abilities of creation and destruction, while those left behind will face extinction.'
"This looks like determinism on steroids. What saves it from ridicule is that Harari sets the scientific and technological story within an historically informed analysis of how liberal democracy evolved. And he provides a plausible account of how the defining features of the liberal democratic order might indeed be upended by the astonishing knowledge and tools that we have produced in the last half-century.

"So while one might, in the end, disagree with his conclusions, one can at least see how he reached them."


LSE: "Creating communities in London's new villages"

"LSE London and Berkeley Homes have been working in collaboration to produce a report on creating new communities in London. This film looks at the report's main findings. We identified six characteristics of a new London village:
1) It's small and intimate and can be comfortably covered on foot,

2) It's unique, and has an identifiable centre with its own atmosphere and sense of place,

3) It's designed for social interaction with plenty of public and green space, and places for community events,

4) It's locally driven and locally responsive, and residents are involved in decisions,

5) It's functional; well served by public transport and with good access to core services like a doctor's surgery, food shops and schools, and

6) It's mixed – the community has a mix of ages, backgrounds and tenures; there are long-standing residents as well as new arrivals."


CityMetric: "Why other cities should copy Nottingham's revolutionary parking levy"

Link to web site

"Since the 1980s, there has been a dispiriting narrative in transport in some UK cities. Bus deregulation in 1986, and the loosening of planning controls permitting new out of town shopping developments, was followed by significant growth in car ownership and use.

"Since then, there has been a tendency in many cities to equate development and progress to increased car use, roads and car-based development. Cuts in government spending have been a further disincentive to promoting or funding public transport projects or other alternatives to car use.

"Plenty of cities are doing good things on transport, however. The new Urban Transport Group, which brings together the urban transport authorities in London and other cities, is helping showcase what is happening on the ground and lobbying for the powers and funding to improve things.

"But one city stands out as having achieved huge amount in this area. Nottingham is a medium-sized city of some 300,000 people (though the wider urban area is over 700,000).Yet it has some of the highest levels of public transport use outside London."

TED: "How the blockchain is changing money and business"

What is the blockchain? If you don't know, you should; if you do, chances are you still need some clarification on how it actually works.

Don Tapscott is here to help, demystifying this world-changing, trust-building technology which, he says, represents nothing less than the second generation of the internet and holds the potential to transform money, business, government and society.


Newcastle Chronicle: "Brexit vote is impacting North East architects' work in London"

Link to web site

"The director of expanding North East architecture business Space Group has told how the Brexit vote is impacting the industry, just after the firm has recorded its most successful year to date.

"... 'We are working on a few projects in central London and they have now been paused. ... We don’t know what that means - if the projects will start up again or if they have just been paused for now - but London has definitely been affected and the market was red hot there.'

"... Meanwhile, the BIM Technologies arm of the group is working on Wimbledon court No 1, the Imperial War Museum, The London School of Economics, Brent Cross Station, Chelsea Barracks, Kings Cross station, as well as projects at the Google HQ and Facebook’s HQ in Fitzrovia, West London."


Create Streets: "Want to build homes? Get local people on board"

Link to web site

"Is the fulcrum of power re-balancing between London developers, politicians and residents? Possibly. Boris is banished to the Foreign Office. Sadiq is impressively self-assured in City Hall. Edward Lister haunts the HCA. James Murray shouts ‘affordable housing’ from the rooftops. And several landmark schemes (including Bishopsgate Goodsyard and the Paddington Pole) have been pulled in the face of public revolt and political self-doubt.

"So is it a question of 'all change please' or of 'plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose'? Developers' websites and publicity boards certainly want you to believe that all is new and lovely. Like well-fed monks leaving the refectory, most are bloated with protestations of 'community consultation' and 'public engagement.’

"There are some welcome changes but it's nearly all hot air. The current British planning and development system is a very odd one historically and comparatively. It very imperfectly mediates between what people like and what gets built. The recent transmogrification of the Paddington Pole into the Paddington Box is a fascinating example. Forced into a rethink by overwhelming public opposition Irvine Sellar has come up with a better scheme. It cares more about Praed Street, connects East better and removes the threat of a Bayswater Shard glowering over West London. The developer has even run some carefully structured (though brief) consultation sessions.

"To read the blurb the Paddington Box would appear to be the natural consequences of such engagement. Nothing could be less true. In reality, the over-supply of London's luxury housing market has driven the change of use to commercial and the box is then a natural, greedy, attempt to maximise the space in a given site. It is nothing more than a huge glass box, spreadsheet architecture at its worst."

Washington Past: "The people who are truly harmed when cities say no to new housing"

Link to web site

"The small community of Brisbane, Calif., just south of San Francisco, has a rare opportunity that advocates argue could help ease the region's massive housing crisis.

"The town is home to a 684-acre plot of former industrial land. A developer wants to clean it up and build a mixed-use project, with public parkland, that could include more than 4,000 new units of housing. And the site surrounds a stop on the regional rail line that connects workers to jobs in San Francisco and Silicon Valley.

"It's exactly the kind of flat, spacious, hard-to-find place where you'd want to drop new housing in the Bay Area without displacing current residents or exacerbating traffic. But many Brisbane officials and residents prefer a plan for the land that would include no new housing at all."

The Observer: "Council planners must 'inspire public sector development' in Brexit aftermath." (Not the, at times, corruption of Barnet Council over Brent Cross)

"Fears are paralysing private construction projects, according to new report from Royal Town Planning Institute"

Link to web site

"Strong leadership is urgently required by council planners to inspire public sector development as post-Brexit uncertainty continues to paralyse private developers, a new report warns.

"Compounding the message are the findings of a new poll showing that three-quarters of planners believe cumulative changes to the planning system have seriously eroded their ability to deliver quality developments.

"The report, published by the Royal Town Planning Institute, says budget cuts and changes in planning policy over the last 30 years have undermined the powers of public sector planners to perform strategic leadership.

"The RTPI, which represents 23,000 professional planners, says the situation is most acute in England where the changes have created a complicated and uncertain system that has undermined the potential for new developments to be well-planned and connected to transport infrastructure, alongside a reduced number of affordable properties to rent or buy."


The Observer: "Superhighway to cycling heaven – or just a hell of a mess?"

"As London’s network of cycle lanes takes shape, we ask whether Boris Johnson's transport revolution was blue-lane thinking or a convoluted mistake"

Link to web site

"They are 'doing more damage to London,' said the former chancellor Lord Lawson in the House of Lords, 'than almost anything since the Blitz.' In the same spirit of absurdist hyperbole, they might be said to be the most transformative public works since Joseph Bazalgette built London's sewers and river embankments.

"They are not, but they do have the potential to change the spirit and character of the capital and of other cities that follow the same path, as well as making its transport cleaner, healthier, safer, more efficient and better able to deal with growing pressure of numbers. They might even prove that the city’s former mayor Boris Johnson was capable of doing something right.

“ 'They' are the cycle superhighways, the most conspicuous of several measures promoted under Johnson. They add up to an unprecedented plan, which is to make the sprawling, awkward, inconsistent city of London bike-friendly. The places most often cited for the exemplariness of their cycling provision – Amsterdam, Copenhagen, more recently Manhattan – were already more ordered, compact and coherent in their layout. In London, the street pattern changes moment by moment, straight to winding, leafy to truck-thronged, wide to narrow."


"Bullring and Brent Cross retail park owner Hammerson rebrands to 'enter public consciousness'." (It already has. And not in a nice way.)

"European retail and shopping centre developer Hammerson has introduced a new identity as it looks to strike a deeper brand association with shoppers.

"The 70-year old brand owns 59 different retail sites across Europe, including the Bull Ring in Birmingham and Brent Cross Shopping Centre in London, but has remained in the background unlike its competitors.

"Hammerson worked with Pentagram to create the new brand identity, and tasked the agency with two goals; to make the brand more visible whilst staying true to its supportive personality, and to create a master brand that could to be adaptable, to be used for investors, communities, back of house and as part of centre identities.

"The masterbrand is centred on the logotype’s hidden H, that gives Hammerson a strong presence, whilst still giving individual centres and surrounding communities a sense of ownership.

"The H is both a logotype and symbol, which is adapted for all asset brands and new branding has been created for each centre and retail park, featuring an invisible H next to the centre name, with the location beneath it. This creates continuity throughout all the centres, without imposing Hammerson’s name of [sic] them.

"In addition to the new graphic identity, Pentagram created a verbal identity and advertising campaign for Hammerson, with the new strapline 'where more happens', which has been adapted for B2B and B2C applications."

The Criminal History of Brent Cross Shopping Centre (some of it, anyway)

Mirror Photos: "Cruiser weight boxer George Walker doing a head stand at the weigh-in November 1957"
(as you do).
Link to Daily Mail

"... Only months after the split, it was revealed he was in a relationship with Sarah, Marchioness of Milford Haven. A judo fanatic, Sarah — whose marriage to Prince Philip’s cousin the Marquess of Milford Haven ended in the Nineties — came from a very different background.

"Her father was George Walker, a former prize-fighter, gangster’s minder and Billingsgate fish market porter who was jailed for two years for his part in a warehouse robbery. On his release, he immersed himself in the property trade, and eventually floated the firm he founded, Brent Walker, on the Stock Exchange.

"Such was his success that he created Brent Cross in North London. Walker lived as a tax exile in Switzerland and died in 2011."