.

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

2016-10-31

Gladman: 'The Source', Nov 2016: "Neighbourhood Planning Bill Gains Shape & Meaning"



"In a sign of the reshaped Government's priorities during the remainder of its term, the first day after summer recess saw the Neighbourhood Planning Bill receive its Second Reading (10 October).

"In the ensuing debate, Sajid Javid agreed with the 'central thrust' of the Local Plan Expert Group's (LPEG) recommendations, submitted to Cameron’s government in March, in relation to reinforcing the duty-to-co-operate and ensuring that all areas have a plan in place as a statutory requirement. The LPEG report had also proposed changing the test of a plan’s soundness and reducing the evidence base required.

"The Bill evidently covers Neighbourhood Planning, but also the planning register, compulsory purchase and planning conditions, including the requirement to seek an applicants' agreement to pre-commencement conditions. On this, the acting shadow communities secretary Teresa Pearce said that:
"It is not pre-commencement planning conditions that slow planning consent, but the chronic underfunding of local planning authorities ... It is not pre-commencement planning conditions that slow new schemes coming forward, but the lack of strategic infrastructure involvement."
"Notably, the bill does not elevate the National Infrastructure Commission to a statutory body, which some believe could assist in housing delivery. Also conspicuous by its absence from the Bill, particularly to the opposition who seized on the Government's backtracking, was the abandonment of the Land Registry privatisation which Javid said 'will be [a decision] for the Government to make in future'; the second time this move has been postponed by the Tories.

"In a further twist, Gavin Barwell tabled further amendments, whilst giving evidence to The Neighbourhood Planning Bill's Scrutiny Committee, signalling abandonment of direct Government intervention in plan-making. Instead, the amendment would allow, 'The Secretary of State to direct two or more authorities to work together to produce a joint development plan document where that would ensure effective local planning in an area, for example, to address housing needs.' [So if the leaking ship Capita-Barnet-Hammerson sinks beneath the waves, a joint project with LB of Brent, perhaps?]

"The Pursuit of a sub-regional planning agenda represents a significant change in Conservative strategy and even lead to Labour's Roberta Blackman-Woods to remark:
"I am very impressed by the new Minister's reading of the Lyons report that Labour produced a couple of years ago, because it is gradually being rolled out."

"The costly gridlock: how can we keep our cities moving?" (Could start by killing off Tavistock Communications and Hammerson's Brent Cross shopping centre plans, and starting again.)


"As the UK's population continues to grow, transport systems in our urban centres will increasingly feel the strain. So what can be done?"

Drive to The Guardian web site

"Cities around the world confront a huge and pressing problem: how do you accommodate growing numbers of people? It is forecast that by 2050, two-thirds of the world’s population will live in urban areas, and transport planners face the daunting task of making sure everyone can move around without too much of a struggle.

"The UK's population is expected to grow by almost 10 million over the next 25 years – London’s population could reach 9.8 million by 2025. Since many of our cities already suffer from overcrowding on trains, congestion on roads and worsening air pollution, there is an urgent need to find new ways to adapt to the demographic changes.

"How will our transport systems cope? How might we best utilise new technologies to make our journeys more productive and less polluting? The Guardian, supported by Heathrow, recently hosted a round-table discussion to address some of these issues."

2016-10-30

Michael Edwards: "Next London Plan: the embryo"


Sozzle over to the web site

"This post, which will be written over some days or weeks, is my notes as I read A City for all Londoners, published in late October 2016 as the Mayor of London's first airing of the policies and approaches he has in mind as the basis for the new 'London Plan', a draft of which is expected in the autumn of 2017. Previous mayors, so far as I recall, have called their equivalents 'Towards a London Plan'.

What I write here is personal, not the views of 'Just Space', nor of UCL, nor of the Queen of England. In the back of my mind as I read are the Community-led Plan for London documents which Just Space has been working on for 18 months, and in which I have played a small supporting role, mainly on economy.


"... My wry friend Robin, when we first looked at it, came to a page with a map and said, 'Oh look, no photo of the mayor.' He was spot on: this plan has something like 20 photos of the mayor. That is a world-class achievement."

2016-10-29

[Reposted] Brent Cross before Hammerson (and even London Communications Agency)

The Handley Page Aeroplane Works,
Claremont Road, Cricklewood, 1921

The Omnibus Depot and Brent Sidings,
Cricklewood, 1921
(looking west over A5 Edgware Road)

Johnson and Sons Manufactury Chemists Ltd., Chemical Factory,
and the Hendon Corporation Sewage Farm, Hendon, 1928
(View south, down A41 to North Circular and River Brent)


Close-up of Brent Cross shopping centre sewage farm.
(North Circular Road is along extreme top edge)

All photographs are from 'Britain from Above'.



Pathé News, on the North Circular Road
further west, in 1939

[Reposted] One possible Hammerson waste incinerator: 'Clean Power Properties Ltd.' - based in a tax-haven! (Barnet has already APPROVED Hammerson's waste incinerator at Brent Cross)


June 2014 update:
The Isle of Man tax-haven company isn't really mentioned now, even though the same web site address is used. In fact "the company" has gone all coy, and isn't really defined at all!

Link to web site


Processes proposed by this company elsewhere:





Site & Project Selection

"RLand Energy is responsible for the sourcing of suitable sites for renewable energy projects. The team has undertaken and continually updates its extensive research to enable accurate site evaluation and viability assessment. Suitable sites are recommended to [tax-haven-based] Clean Power Properties.

"Each site is professionally assessed for energy production potential. The suitability of a site and size of project will be determined by a number of factors including: electrical connectivity, accessibility, environmental factors, feedstock, and suitability of technology. The potential added value to adjoining and adjacent uses can also be assessed at an early stage.

"Each site must meet the following base land and amenity requirements, as required by Clean Power Properties:

Site Criteria
  • Brownfield and underutilised land
  • Standalone sites or part of large estate or mixed use development
  • Site area 4-10 acres
  • Minimum site width 75 metres
  • External 11kV transformer and switchgear on or close to site
  • Local network or National Grid high voltage electrical substation/overhead lines in close proximity to site
  • Good site accessibility
  • Access to good road networks and other communication links.
Benefits

Clean Power Properties generates real value from underutilised and brownfield land.

Clean Power Properties will partner landowners and developers to obtain planning and optimise development, often taking the financial risk.

Work with a best in class delivery team that has 30 years of planning experience and over 30 renewable energy projects taken from inception through to development and full operation.

Our renewable energy schemes can form an integral part of masterplanned commercial and residential developments.

Development mix and densities can be improved during the planning process by incorporating a Clean Power energy source within a scheme or on adjoining land.

Clean Power renewable energy plants provide green energy (heat and power) to adjoining occupiers, enabling sustainable development that meets government and corporate objectives and responsibilities.

Tenants and residential occupiers can benefit from stable energy costs and, additional value is generated by being within a sustainable working and living environment."


2016-10-28

Inside Croydon: "[Hammerson] confirms another five years of blight." (And there's also Brexit.)


Link to web site

"The 'rush' to redevelop the somewhat sad and down-at-heel Whitgift Centre has slowed to a crawl, with the promised shiny new £1.4billion megamall now unlikely to be ready to open until 2022 – a full decade since the scheme was first announced, and five years later than the original 2017 completion date.

"Who says so? Hammerson and Westfield, or 'Hammersfield', in their joint guise as The Croydon Partnership, the developers who have been chuntering on about the town centre’s bright new future since 2012, but who have yet to cement a single brick.

"... Both Labour and Tories fought the last local elections in 2014 on the expectation that the Hammersfield redevelopment would begin and be completed during the four-year term of the current council, with all the many wonders of its new shops and other benefits coming on-stream to placate the voters just before the 2018 Town Hall elections."

2016-10-27

2016-10-25

Evening Standard: "Sadiq Khan: London’s future depends on developing the suburbs" (shame that LB of Barnet is handicapped by its history of corruption)



Link to web site

"London's future depends on housing and business opportunities for people living in the suburbs as much as the inner city, Sadiq Khan said today.

The Mayor's 'City for all Londoners' document published today wants to promote office space available in outer London and smaller scale housing developments close to town centres.

He said:
"Other global cities show that it is possible to increase the density of our suburbs without sacrificing the 'feel' of these areas."

Link to 'A City for all Londoners'

"Lobbying City Hall": 'Just Space' - a network of voluntary and community groups working together to influence planning policy at the London-wide, borough and neighbourhood levels


"Just Space, after publishing the ground-breaking document Towards a community-led plan for London: policy directions and proposals, is following up by working with various parts of City Hall. [Just Space web site.]

"We met with Nicky Gavron, Vice-Chair of the London Assembly Planning Committee and have written in June and October to the Chair, Tony Devenish and to her – most recently sending our critique of the London Infrastructure Plan 2050 which their Committee is discussing.  Just Space plans to contribute to future meetings of the committee, especially on the formative ideas for the next London Plan.

"Just Space takes part in the Strategic Housing Market Partnership [a re-naming of the former Strategic Housing Land Availability (SHLA) Methodology Panel ] whose October meeting heard a summary by Elliot Kemp of some of the 6 research projects on housing density which the Mayor’s office had commissioned.  These 6 reports are expected to be published later in October.  Meanwhile the slideshow from the meeting is here.

"As the London Enterprise Panel is currently going through a review of its purpose and membership, Just Space has asked to meet with the Mayor of London to discuss the opportunity to be represented on the LEP, to give voice to a wider range of interests and concerns and bring in the diverse expertise of the network’s members.

"Just Space Economy and Planning [JSEP] has also recently written to the Mayor of London and the London Enterprise Panel regarding the bid to the Government’s Local Growth Fund, expressing concerns that the proposed funding allocations would not meet the real priorities of London’s diverse enterprises.

"The LEP bid would direct £173m at supporting housing development in the Royal Docks, Housing Zones and on small sites. JSEP emphasised that one of the key pressures facing London’s economy is the severe lack of low-cost accommodation for a wide range of activities, caused by the loss of essential workspace on industrial land and high streets to housing development.

"JSEP suggested that this funding, together with the £110m proposed for high-street regeneration should be used for retaining and increasing workspace capacity to support London’s diverse economic sectors. This would strengthen manufacturing, repair, reuse, recycling, servicing, storage and distribution activities, all of which contribute to local employment and local supply chains, reducing emissions caused by travel to work and deliveries. JSEP argued that supporting these sectors should be one of the key priorities in spending the £30m proposed budget for improving air quality.

"On 5 October the LEP replied as follows:
"Thank you for your letter. I have been asked to respond on behalf of the Mayor. 

We would like to clarify that Round 3 of the Local Growth Fund will be used for infrastructure to support housing delivery rather than direct housing delivery. One of the Mayor’s main priorities is to tackle the housing crisis by building thousands more homes for Londoners each year. The Mayor has set a target of 50 per cent of new homes to be genuinely affordable and this funding would help support this priority. 

We absolutely agree that the fund should be directed at retaining and building low cost workspaces and are already working towards this through the ‘supporting local economies’ strand of our bid which would build on the current London Regeneration Fund. Thank you for also highlighting the report by Latin Elephant which we will definitely review. 

Regarding the £30 million earmarked in this bid for air quality, this would help provide investment in a new CNG distribution network and refuse vehicles for local authorities. It will support the local circular economy, including a new ReFood Biomethane plant in Dagenham and a £21 million organic waste facility at the London Sustainable Industries Park (LSIP). A new commercial boiler scrappage scheme would help to save around £15m per year off business’ fuel bills. This would be complimented by a new fund for local businesses wanting to do innovative projects that reduce their air pollution footprint.

We are currently recruiting new Members to the London Enterprise Panel (see https://lep.london/apply) and we hope to attract a diverse range of members, as outlined in the application pack, so we would welcome any applications from Just Space network, and would greatly appreciate you sharing this opportunity among the network. 

Kind regards,  Jamie Izzard,  Senior Manager, London Enterprise Panel
"JSEP has also written separately to the Deputy Mayor for Business urging him to engage not only with the financial, business services and property sectors but also with micro and small businesses, independent retailers and ethnic and migrant traders to ensure their needs, priorities and suggestions are taken into account in shaping the GLA’s strategies and investment programmes."



PUBLICATIONS

Towards a community-led London Plan: policy directions and proposals,
August 2016 This 74 page intervention is the outcome of more discussion by working teams of JustSpace organisations and another conference, all building on the February document below. Download: 
Just Space A4 Community-Led London Plan

Towards a community-led London Plan: ideas for discussion and debate.  A 24-page document launched in Feb 2016 is here to download.  Printing the PDF needs care if the double-page spreads are to work properly. A stock of printed copies is available free for distribution in groups: email us about arrangements for collection.

Economic Evidence Base. The GLA is to be congratulated for having consulted Just Space last year as it drafted its report, and then again after its draft was published in February. At each stage, and in three meetings, the Just Space Economy and Planning Group made clear what it considered to be necessary improvements, though without much detectable impact so far. In May the group submitted a detailed 20-page commentary which is intended to re-balance the “Evidence Base” before it lands on the new Mayor’s desk. The Just Space commentary is here: 160523b JSEP comments on EEB-final
Myfanwy Taylor and Michael Edwards (2016) Just Space Economy and Planning: opening up debates on London’s economy through participating in strategic planning, chapter in Yasminah Beebeejaun (ed) The Participatory City, Berlin: Jovis 76-86

2015:Just Space Economy and Planning group London for all! A handbook for community and small business groups fighting to retain workspace for London’s diverse economies Free download here.Low-resolution pdf
High-resolution pdf  Printed copies are also available.

2015: Jessica Ferm and Ed Jones: London’s industrial land: Cause for concern? a working paper from the Bartlett School of Planning, UCL, presented to a meeting of the Just Space Economy and Planning Group in 2014 and now online here:  Ferm Jones London’s Industrial Land – working paper final

2014: London Tenants Federation and Just Space working with UCL Engineering Exchange Demolition or Refurbishment of Social Housing  a report on whether the energy implications of demolishing housing estates are properly considered against upgrading them. Technical report + fact-sheets

2014: Robin Brown, Richard Lee and Michael Edwards contributed a chapter on Just Space to a book edited by Loretta Lees and Rob Imrie, Sustainable London?, published by Policy Press. A version of the Just Space chapter is here Edw Brown Lee 20140308

2014: Staying Put – an anti-gentrification handbook for estates, produced with Southwark Notes and the London tenants Federation http://southwarknotes.wordpress.com/2014/06/13/staying-put-an-anti-gentrification-handbook-for-council-estates-in-london/  (Printed copies also available)

2014: Just Space: Building a community-based voice for London planning, based on Barbara Lipietz interviews with Richard Lee and Sharon Hayward in the Journal CITY,  free download http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13604813.2014.896654

2013: The London Tenants Federation and Just Space held a conference of people trying to exert some community influence on what happens in London’s Opportunity Areas —the 33 large parts of London where major developments are under way or proposed. It drew on the experiences of campaigners at King’s Cross over 25 years and the results are now published by LTF as an important report: http://bit.ly/1n84K3U

2013: Regeneration Realities Urban Lab Pamphleteer #2  UCL Urban Lab http://www.ucl.ac.uk/urbanlab/research/urban-pamphleteer/UrbanPamphleteer_2.pdf

2013: a manual / protocol on how activist groups and universities can best work together and avoid disasters and disappointments

2010: Michael Edwards, Do Londoners make their own plan? in K Scanlon and B Kochan (eds) London: coping with austerity, LSE London Series, paperback, 978-0-85328-459-8, chapter 5, 57-71. Eprint free http://eprints.ucl.ac.uk/20241/  Whole book is a free download at http://www.lse.ac.uk/collections/LSELondon ; also chapter is in German Machen die Londoner ihre eigenegen Pläne?, Luxemburg (4/2010): 72-77 translated by Christina Kaindl Free at http://www.zeitschrift-luxemburg.de/?p=1239</

That's enough Publications. Ed.

2016-10-24

[Reposted] Tavistock Communications (i.e. PR Outfit): Launching the Offensive on Brent Cross Shopping Centre (very offensive)



August 22, 2016:

"Hammerson and Standard Life, development partners on the North London regeneration scheme, the Brent Cross Cricklewood Project, have enlisted Tavistock to provide local and London-wide media relations and community consultation services.

"Tavistock has been briefed to devise and implement a communications campaign to share the details of the project with the media. The Brent Cross Cricklewood Project aims to boost the area with a regenerated town centre, including the new Brent Cross Shopping Centre. "The PR firm will also support Hammerson and Standard Life in planning permission negotiations and project delivery.

"Mike Bartlett, associate director at Tavistock, will lead the account team, and report directly to Hammerson's development manager Ben Littman and Standard Life’s John Brophy."



Mike Bartlett
Service: Corporate Communications.

Sector: Technology, Telecoms, Media, Mining, Clean Tech, Oil and Gas Services.
[and, so it would seem, Shops.]
"Mike was previously head of corporate media relations at BT for a number of years.  Whilst there, Mike advised on a £6bn rights issue, the demerger of mobile unit BT Wireless (becoming O2), and the Telecoms Strategic Review Settlement with Ofcom, leading to the subsequent creation of local network division Openreach, amongst other projects.

"Mike also headed up in-house litigation support for the Group, as well as leading on issues relating to BT’s pension schemes.

"Mike joined Tavistock from Aura Financial where, as a Partner, he advised a number of mining clients including Xstrata.   Mike advised Xstrata on their proposed 'nil premium merger of equals' with Anglo American, and in advance of their multi-billion dollar takeover by Glencore." (You can't win them all.)

What we do

"We help our clients to articulate messages and open dialogues with their stakeholders, building relationships and strengthening reputations. [Fifteen years too late at Brent Cross. Although RIP, 'London (Non)Communications'.]

"We create, plan and deliver carefully targeted communications campaigns to support our clients' objectives. We have the capability and experience to handle a client's everyday needs as well as advising on specific projects, such as raising capital, acquiring a competitor, expanding geographically [actually shrinking geographically] or launching a product."



1991:

The Tavistock PR company is launched.
(It does not seem to have done anything of interest since 2013.)



And the London Borough of Barnet produced the 1991 Local Development Plan, used by Hammerson for its so-far-unbuilt Brent Cross Shopping Centre planning application...








"Government gears up for zero emission future with plans for UK charging infrastructure"


From: Department for Transport, Office for Low Emission Vehicles and The Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP
First published:
Part of: Transport

Plans for more charging stations to encourage low emission vehicles


Plans to make electric vehicle charge points more widely available and convenient for motorists were put forward by government today (October 24 2016).

As part of our ongoing commitment to making transport greener and improving air quality, the Department for Transport is consulting on a series of measures that will make charge points more accessible, making it easier for drivers to recharge as demand for low emission vehicles increases. The measures are due to be included in the Modern Transport Bill.

The government has pledged more than £600 million over this parliament to further boost the ultra low emission vehicle market, which is going from strength to strength after the number of new ultra low emission vehicles registered rose by 250% in just 2 years.

Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling said:
We are committed to making transport cleaner and giving even more drivers the option of using a low emission vehicle as we strive to improve air quality across the country.
Our ambition is for nearly all new cars and vans to be zero emission by 2040, and we are taking real steps to achieve this in the Modern Transport Bill. We now want to hear the views of businesses and the wider public.
The measures being proposed would give government powers to support the roll-out of charging and hydrogen refuelling infrastructure and improve consumer access to the network by:
  • making information about the location of public charging stations more accessible to the public, potentially via an online database and through mobile phone apps
  • ensuring drivers can access charge points without the need for multiple memberships from individual providers
  • giving powers to set common standards for all public charge points to ensure electric car owners can recharge anywhere, anytime
  • making consumer pricing information for electricity and hydrogen fuels consistent and transparent
  • supporting ‘smart’ electric vehicle charging that is flexible to grid demands
  • ensuring there is provision of electric charge points and hydrogen refuelling points at large fuel retailers and motorway service areas
  • encouraging the roll-out of hydrogen refuelling stations through franchising
There are already more than 11,000 public charge points across the UK, and we have Europe’s largest network of rapid charge points. The government also offers a range of grants for home and workplace charging.

The Modern Transport Bill, first announced in the Queen’s Speech in May, will outline the role technology and innovation will play in delivering the safe, efficient and user focused transport systems of the future. The bill is due to be laid in Parliament next year.

The Department for Transport is also consulting separately on the proposed transposition of the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Directive; Europe-wide legislation that will further promote the roll-out of charging facilities for vehicles that run on electricity, hydrogen and other clean fuels.

The Modern Transport Bill consultation on measures for low emission vehicle infrastructure will last 4 weeks, closing on 23 November.

SciAm: "AI Is Not out to Get Us." (Just Hammerson.)


"Hollywood’s dark vision of machines taking over belies how far AI is from meaningful reality—and what it will look like when it gets there"

Reboot to web site

"Elon Musk's new plan to go all-in on self-driving vehicles puts a lot of faith in the artificial intelligence needed to ensure his Teslas can read and react to different driving situations in real time. AI is doing some impressive things—last week, for example, makers of the AlphaGo computer program reported that their software has learned to navigate the intricate London subway system like a native. [Getting between Brent Cross station and the shopping centre would stump it.] Even the White House has jumped on the bandwagon, releasing a report days ago to help prepare the U.S. for a future when machines can think like humans.

"But AI has a long way to go before people can or should worry about turning the world over to machines, says Oren Etzioni, a computer scientist who has spent the past few decades studying and trying to solve fundamental problems in AI. Etzioni is currently the chief executive officer of the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence (AI2), an organization that Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen formed in 2014 to focus on AI’s potential benefits—and to counter messages perpetuated by Hollywood and even other researchers that AI could menace the human race.

"... Is there a rift among AI researchers
over the best way to develop the
technology?"
"Some people have gotten a little bit ahead of themselves. We’ve had some real progress in areas like speech recognition, self-driving cars (or at least the limited form of that) and of course AlphaGo. All these are very real technical achievements. But how do we interpret them? Deep learning is clearly a valuable technology, but we have many other problems to solve in creating artificial intelligence, including reasoning (meaning a machine can understand and not just calculate that 2 + 2 = 4), and attaining background knowledge that machines can use to create context.

Natural language understanding is another example. Even though we have AlphaGo, we don’t have a program that can read and fully understand a paragraph or even a simple sentence."
"... You've mentioned that human-level
AI is at least 25 years away.
What do you mean by human-level AI,
and why that time frame?"
"The true understanding of natural language, the breadth and generality of human intelligence, our ability to both play Go and cross the street and make a decent omelet—that variety is the hallmark of human intelligence and all we’ve done today is develop narrow savants that can do one little thing super well. To get that time frame I asked the fellows of the Association for the Advancement of AI when we will achieve a computer system that's as smart as people are in the broad sense.

Nobody said this was happening in the next 10 years, 67 percent said the next 25 years and beyond, and 25 percent said 'never'. Could they be wrong? Yes. But who are you going to trust, the people with their hands on the pulse, or Hollywood?"

Press release: "Hammerson and Standard Life Investments reveal plans for Brent Cross Shopping Centre ahead of public consultation"



"Brent Cross Shopping Centre, London's first and most iconic retail destination is to undergo a £1.4bn redevelopment as its owners Hammerson and Standard Life Investments begin a major public consultation to ensure it meets the needs of its shoppers for the future.

"Having revolutionised retail when it opened 40 years ago, the proposed plans to transform the centre form the main element of Brent Cross London, ahead of submitting a detailed planning application. The scheme is part of a larger £4.5bn regeneration plan for Brent Cross and Cricklewood, for which Hammerson and Standard Life Investments already has outline planning consent, granted in 2010.

"... Whilst doubling the size of the existing shopping centre, John Lewis and Fenwick will be retained and a new Marks & Spencer anchor store will be delivered. All three were part of the original Brent Cross when it opened in 1976.

"In order to ensure the scheme remains relevant to the changing retail and consumer demands, the new centre will attract leading international and UK brands alongside space for local and pop-up businesses and concept stores to test consumer appetite for the latest trends."




Property Week: "How troubled Brent Cross was revived by a happy public-private partnership." (Who thought up "happy"?)



"The phrase 'development hell' was coined in the film industry, but is easily transferrable to property - certainly, the parties involved in the redevelopment of Hammerson’s Brent Cross Shopping Centre have had numerous opportunities over the last 15 years to think that some malign force was acting against them.

"However, in July this year the project appeared to have turned a corner when Barnet council announced it had signed an agreement with development partners Argent Related, Hammerson and Standard Life Investments. It is hoped that the project, which includes 7,500 homes, a new Thameslink train station, schools and community facilities, in addition to the redevelopment of the shopping centre, can at last proceed.

"The council's joint venture with Capita, Re, was crucial in getting the project to this point. Together, the partners designed a bespoke procurement process for the borough. Rather than working up a final masterplan and then seeking a developer to build it out, Barnet and Capita focused on finding a development partner for Barnet, a process that culminated in the appointment of Argent Related in March 2015.

"At the centre of the process was Paul Clark, development director at GL Hearn, part of Capita Real Estate, who talks for the first time to Property Week about how this summer's deal was struck and the benefits it brings to all involved. [All?]

"When did you get involved in Brent Cross?"
"We got involved in late 2013 when the London Borough of Barnet had been engaged in the project for well over 10 years and was working alongside Hammerson and Standard Life Investments. At the turn of the millennium they were looking to increase the size of the shopping centre.

"National planning policy was against out-of-town retail, so they came up with this solution that would see the creation of a new town centre to support the extension of the retail offer.

"Fast-forward a decade or so and Hammerson and Standard Life had secured an outline planning permission for the extension of Brent Cross and the creation of a new town centre at Brent Cross South on the other side of the North Circular.

"However, Hammerson had gone through a well-publicised change of business plan that saw them move away from large-scale mixed-use schemes.

"So they had approached Barnet and said 'Okay, we’ve got this consent, but we just want to focus on the retail and we're giving you the opportunity to go it alone on Brent Cross South.' Then Barnet went through a process of decoupling so that the north and south parts of the project could be delivered. That’s when we got involved with Barnet."
"How did you approach the task?"
"We did a large body of work around what its options were and how the council could approach the challenge of delivering this major piece of place-making. The council was looking for pace, certainty, long-term engagement - it had a long shopping list of requirements.

"We created a partnership model for long-term regeneration delivery between the public and private sector. The two key things are how we went about the procurement and how you expose both sides of the partnership to the gains that are achieved through regeneration."
"What were the main challenges?"
"One of the key challenges was how much investment the council was putting in both inside and outside the red line boundary, how much investment was put in by the private sector and how you create a structure that fairly recognises everyone’s engagement and captures the value growth that regeneration brings in the long term."
"How is the joint venture structured?"
"We created a joint venture limited company between the public and private sectors that takes the public sector’s land, compulsory purchase powers, skills and broader social and economic agenda and puts it alongside the private sector’s profit motive, skills and resources.

"The JV jointly owns and controls the business plan. The board of the company sets the social, economic and financial agenda and fundamentally the private sector is the development manager to that jointly controlled board. So, the public sector stays at the table for the long term in terms of decision making and the direction of travel. It’s very much about putting community at the heart of things. We’ve got long-term joint interests in the delivery. How will returns be distributed?

"Land is committed to the JV by the council. It’s a phased release of land by the council, which allows it to expose itself to the uplift through delivery. The calculation is done on the basis that the private sector takes a return on its investment; a return on cost that is fixed in procurement. We hope that as delivery unfolds, value is created through a regeneration premium and gains are shared between the parties. It also works to secure best value to the public sector.

"The council is doing all these great things outside the project's red line - a new train station, bus station and highway improvements. Under normal circumstances, the council wouldn’t be exposed to those gains, but under this mechanism it is. We’re getting better at capturing the benefits of regeneration."
"How did the procurement route you opted for differ to the competitive dialogue process?"
"One issue is that if you go through a competitive dialogue process to procure a master-plan-led solution, all of that work is necessarily done behind closed doors because the procuring party has to maintain competitive tension and confidentiality.

"So, you are creating a development solution that is outside of public engagement, and you really know by the end of the procurement that the solution [you have created] isn’t the solution that you’re going to end up with.

"People can have concerns over these big projects where the community feels they have been shut out. We've tried to design the process so they can engage in a much more meaningful way.

"We ran an OJEU-compliant process, but we went a negotiated route rather than a competitive dialogue, which saved everyone time and money. It was incredibly well-received and allowed us to move at pace. Because we were procuring a partner, not a solution, it was a much slicker, cheaper, quicker process."
"Would Brexit make the procurement of projects on this scale any easier?"
"Who knows where we will go from now with Brexit? But I imagine there will always be some sort of procurement process. Procurement is a process for fair treatment and that was always at the heart of our process. There will always be something like it - there will always be an obligation for the public sector to behave in a transparent way.

"It's the right thing to do, but you don’t have to let it hamper you. It’s about what you do to mitigate that risk. In my humble opinion, a lot of these processes get hijacked by procurement officers and procurement lawyers.

"It's in their interests to flag up all the different ways something can go wrong and encourages people to behave in a certain way. It takes a particular client to turn around and say 'we acknowledge all the risks but this is what we're going to do'."
"What sort of interest have you had from other public sector bodies?"
"Since we went over the line with the successful creation of the JV, I've been working with the Department for Communities and Local Government on how the lessons from the structure of it can be used for the public sector to unlock private sector investment in a way that ticks all of the boxes around community engagement, best value, procurement and land value capture."