The Observer: "BHS crash sets trend for a chain of closures on UK high streets" (Hammerson thinks it is up-market from all the failing riff-raff)
"The retail sector is still reeling a year after the collapse of the chain, with rising numbers of staff on zero-hours contracts and other big hitters shutting shop as the internet squeezes their share of profits"
|Link to web site|
"Last year, research by industry trade body the British Retail Consortium (BRC) identified a 'lost generation' of predominantly female shop workers who – as thousands of BHS staff would find out – risk losing their jobs as structural change chews up the high street. It estimated there were nearly 500,000 retail workers, aged between 26 and 45, many of whom have children and need to work close to their family home, who would find it hard to find alternative jobs.
"Using the benchmark of those earning less than £8.05 an hour, the BRC says 1.5 million people work in low-paid UK retail jobs. About 70% are female and one in five receive means-tested working age tax credits.
"Norman Pickavance, chair of the Fabian Society taskforce on the future of retail, says the majority of companies in the sector are trying to save money by moving towards less secure employment models. 'There are more and more zero-hours-type contracts and self employment,' he says."
"The Paris Climate Change Agreement reached at COP 21 acknowledges the importance of keeping climate change to within 2C and provided rarely-seen, unified international political support for action on climate change.
"Unfortunately, all the research shows that what we are currently doing is simply not enough to achieve this. If all the sustainability-aware corporates hit published sustainability targets, we will still overshoot 2C of climate change. It therefore makes sense for those who are in a position to do so, to consider the potential sustainability risks that may impact their own operations, and identify areas where they can enact the most positive change. Furthermore, it is not enough anymore for businesses to draw a boundary around what we directly control and claim everything outside that is not our responsibility. We must consider ways to bring others on board and account for broader sector impacts too.
"Hammerson's response is to set a comprehensive Net Positive target for the business. In addition to its substantial Socio-Economic Net Positive goals, it has the objective of reducing carbon emissions, water demand and resource use to less than zero over the next 15 years." [Shame Brent Cross is such an environmental disaster, then.]
|Link to web site|
"It is five years since rival developers Westfield and Hammerson were brought together by Tory politicians Boris Johnson and Gavin Barwell in a shot-gun marriage of convenience over their conflicting plans for the Whitgift Centre and Centrale, sited opposite sides of North End [Road].
"Then, under the banner of the Croydon Partnership, the Hammersfield scheme was to include 2million sq ft of new shop space, 600 homes and 'destination' leisure facilities."
"... In February, Hammerson announced it would sell at least £400million of its interests in the shopping centres it already owns to help pay towards the Croydon development.
"And last month, Westfield bought a 3 per cent stake in Hammerson – around £135million-worth of shares – amid talk of 'leverage', which usually means a way of applying pressure on a company."
|The Curious Case of The Corruption That Didn't Happen|
|Link to web site|
"A driverless shuttle bus is to hit the streets of London in the first extended trial of its kind in the UK.
"About 100 people will travel in a prototype shuttle – known as Harry after clockmaker John Harrison – on a route in North Greenwich over the next three weeks."
[Reposted from Jan 2016] Evening Standard: "Architect Sir Terry Farrell's master plan for the regeneration of Brent Cross and Cricklewood includes a new shopping district." (The roof is built of nano-particles, and is unaffected by falling icicles or the weight of snow.)
"A £4.5 billion redevelopment of railway lands at Brent Cross and Cricklewood is bringing 7,500 homes, three new schools, four parks and a new Thameslink station, offering a 12-minute commute to central London.
The 20-year project is soon to start. It will create a new town centre for the area, including a high street leading to a revamped shopping district at Brent Cross. The high street will pass through new public squares and over a 'living bridge' — a new cycle and pedestrian crossing over North Circular Road.
The railway looms large in Cricklewood's history and topography. The area came of age in the 1880s when Midland Railway moved its locomotive works from Kentish Town to the new Brent Sidings and built an estate of railway cottages, now coveted private homes, for its workers.
Today it attracts people who have outgrown their Kilburn or West Hampstead flat and want more space for their money, as they seek to settle down in a good-value family house with a credible-sounding postcode less than four miles from Marble Arch. Cricklewood numbers former London mayor Ken Livingstone among its residents.
As a general rule, prices sag in the centre of Cricklewood, and rise expectantly towards its borders with Barnet, Brent and Hendon.
Check out the quieter streets and conservation areas either side of the bustling Broadway, including Mapesbury Estate and 'the Groves' — Yew Grove, Elm Grove and Ash Grove — plus roads surrounding 86-acre Gladstone Park, close to Dollis Hill."
|Link to web site|
"British households ran down their savings to a record low at the end of 2016, raising fears that the UK is on course for a fresh consumer debt crisis in the wake of the Brexit vote.
The saving ratio – which estimates the amount of money households have available to save as a percentage of their total disposable income – fell sharply in the fourth quarter last year to 3.3% from 5.3% in the third. It was the lowest since records began in 1963.
"... Martin Beck, a senior economic adviser to forecasting group the EY Item Club, said the falls in savings and disposable income were 'worrying signs' for the health of household finances, not least because inflation is expected to climb higher.
" 'Given that this pre-dates the worst of the inflationary pressures, it provides further evidence that 2017 is likely to be a very tough year for the consumer, with little or no scope to offset the headwinds from higher inflation by borrowing more,' Beck said.
|Link to web site|
"Innovations come when governments and businesses are forced out of their comfort zones"
"It would be fatuous to argue that the EU is somehow responsible for the structural defects of British capitalism, because the dominance of finance over industry and the reluctance to invest in new plant and skills has been a feature of the economy for at least a century.
"But at the margin, membership of the EU has accentuated those trends. ... Free movement of labour has allowed employers to meet extra demand by taking on more staff at the minimum wage or just above, rather than by investing. That helps explain why employment is at record levels, but productivity has been feeble.
"The cry from employers now is that curbs on migration will push up their costs and lead to consumers paying higher prices. Actually, consumers are already paying through the taxes that fund the in-work benefits which subsidise poverty wages."
"Capita provide transport planning advice and development planning assistance to London Borough of Barnet through the Regional Enterprise joint venture.
"[Due to, ahem, 'circumstances'] we are currently recruiting for a Principal Transport Planner to join our team engaged in all aspects of traffic and transportation planning including reviewing transport assessments for new developments and negotiation with developers; development of strategic transport schemes; funding bid preparation; masterplanning; urban regeneration and sustainable transport projects.
"The successful candidate will assist in the preparation of all aspects of our work in relation to the Brent Cross development as a part of the Brent Cross transport team.
"The Brent Cross Cricklewood Regeneration is one of the largest regeneration projects in London and will deliver a new urban quarter in accordance with its status as an Opportunity Areas identified in the London Plan. The approved development will provide:
- A new town centre comprising retail and leisure uses and a new office quarter with 4million square feet of office space;
- 7,500 new homes and approximately 20,000 new jobs [really?];
- Doubling in size of the existing Brent Cross Shopping Centre including an enhanced replacement bus station;
- A new Thameslink railway station [wanna bet?] and associated new public plazas and public realm;
- Extensive changes to the highway, cycle and pedestrian network including a new pedestrian and cycle 'living bridge' over the A406 and a new road bridge over the Midland Mainline Railway;
- Replacement waste handling and rail freight facilities.
- [That's enough provision. Ed.]
"We're committed to developing our staff and as such the successful candidate will benefit from one-to-one training on a wide range of tasks that encompass transport planning and external training is also provided and offered on a company wide basis.
"Key Requirements are as follows [wait for it...]:
- Substantial experience in transportation / development planning;
- Ability to deliver transport planning solutions, manage junior staff and successfully manage projects;
- A good all round knowledge of all aspects of transport planning for developments from strategic appraisal through to transport assessments and traffic engineering;
- Sound technical experience, including familiarity with relevant software e.g. TRANSYT, LINSIG, ARCADY, PICADY, VISSIM, etc;
- Understanding and experience of working in the Planning Regulatory framework, application of current highway design guidance and application of the relevant planning circulars and development control policies;
- A highly motivated individual ideally with membership of a relevant professional body;
- The ability to communicate effectively and professionally with all levels of staff and clients (both written and orally);
- Capability to work to tight deadlines and work autonomously when required;
- Understanding and experience of the operation of management systems for quality, financial and project control;
- Experience of attending council committees to provide technical advice on transport issues to committee members; and
- Ability to negotiate with developers and their agents to secure transport related improvements to schemes and secure appropriate funding for mitigation measures.
What's in it for you?
"At Capita, training and development aren't optional extras: they're how we do our job. We will motivate you to perform at your peak, recognising your achievements and rewarding them appropriately. As well as a generous basic salary we also give you generous holiday, company pension scheme and access to voluntary benefit options including; child care vouchers, share save scheme, life assurance, holiday buy and many more designed to suit your own personal lifestyle. All of this, in a professional but fun environment."
|The shopping centre is through there.|
"Homes converted from London council offices are permitted to be far below national minimum size due to deregulation of planning rules"
|Link to web site|
"Hundreds of tiny studio flats, many smaller than a budget hotel room, are to be squeezed into an eleven-story block in north London as its developer takes advantage of the government’s relaxation of planning regulations.
"Plans for Barnet House, used by the London borough of Barnet’s housing department, reveal that 96% of the 254 proposed flats will be smaller than the national minimum space standards of 37 sq metres (44 sq yards) for a single person.
"The tiniest homes will be 16 sq metres – 40% smaller than the average Travelodge room. They are legal because of government deregulation designed to promote the conversion of underused office space to help meet housebuilding targets."
|Link to web site|
"... James Montier and Philip Pilkington of the global investment firm GMO say that the system that arose in the 1970s was characterised by four significant economic policies:
- the abandonment of full employment and its replacement with inflation targeting;
- an increase in the globalisation of the flows of people, capital and trade;
- a focus on shareholder maximisation rather than reinvestment and growth; and
- the pursuit of flexible labour markets and the disruption of trade unions and workers' organisations.
"... 'Labour market flexibility may sound appealing, but it is based on a theory that runs completely counter to all the evidence we have,' Montier and Pilkington note. 'The alternative theory suggests that labour market flexibility is by no means desirable, as it results in an economy with a bias to stagnate. It can only maintain high rates of employment and economic growth through debt-fuelled bubbles that inevitably blow up, leading to the economy tipping back into stagnation.'
"This quest for ever-greater labour-market flexibility has had some unexpected consequences. The bill in the UK for tax credits spiralled quickly once firms realised that they could pay poverty wages and let the state pick up the bill. Access to a global pool of low-cost labour meant there was less of an incentive to invest in productivity-enhancing equipment.
"The abysmally-low levels of productivity growth since the crisis have encouraged the belief that this is a recent phenomenon, but as Andy Haldane, the Bank of England's chief economist, noted last week, the trend started in most advanced countries in the 1970s."
"Judge rules it legal for internet giant to funnel European sales through Luxembourg"
|Deliver the web site|
"... [Even with this ruling] Amazon could face additional tax bills in Europe, if Brussels officials choose to take further action.
"Luxembourg is known as one of the world's biggest tax havens, offering heavy discounts on corporate taxes that have attracted global companies such as Pepsi and Apple.
"During his Presidential campaign, Donald Trump criticised Amazon for not paying enough in tax. The online retailer's chief executive, Jeff Bezos, responded angrily to the claims, triggering a social media battle."
[Reposted from 2011] Mike McGuinness, Hammerson Development Director, and "leading on Brent Cross Cricklewood" (who is 'following'?) fails to mention the place
Publications > Commons Select Committees > Communities and Local Government > Communities and Local Government
Session 2010-12: Regeneration: Regen 73
Written submission from Hammerson plc:
|Link to Parliamentary web site|
"Hammerson has been creating and managing some of the most exciting retail destinations and office buildings in Europe for over 60 years. A FTSE 100 company with a real estate portfolio in the UK and France of around £5.3 billion at 31 December 2010, Hammerson has investments in 17 major shopping centres and 17 retail parks. We own seven London office buildings, which provide 158,000 m² of prime accommodation. [2013: Not now, you don't ]
"Hammerson aims to be the best owner-manager and developer of retail and office property in the UK and France. We focus on prime regional shopping centres and out-of town retail, while exploiting opportunities in the office sector. Our strategy is to outperform through two areas of focus: maximising income growth, and creating a high-quality property portfolio through acquisition, development and asset management. Both areas are underpinned by prudent financial management."
What made you invest in regeneration in more prosperous times?
"Regeneration is an essential component of the growth process. Hammerson's expertise is in the retail and office sectors. Investment purchases generally become too expensive in a good market and therefore when occupier demand is strong in a particular town or City where Hammerson have an interest then it is a logical step to promote rental and capital growth (and day one profit) through the development process."
What is constraining your ability to invest at the present time?
"The fundamentals of the development process are weak at present. For example, in the retail sector - retailers are very selective about where they locate and how much they will pay, which puts huge pressure on a developer to make development appraisals viable - as inevitably, retailers want to pay less rent but in return for more rent free and capital. [sic]Demand for residential space is restrained by the lack of mortgage finance. Grants have disappeared in respect of the provision of affordable housing, and therefore even more pressure on viability. [sic] Availability of bank finance is still a big barrier - not so much for Hammerson - but for businesses wanting to expand, which in turn will ignite the development process.
However Hammerson has spent time re-designing schemes, and making them more efficient and deliverable, i.e. fit for purpose. A big problem also with big regeneration schemes is the long lead-in period, huge upfront costs for planning; land assembly, big infrastructure commitments which undermine cash flow/returns, etc. Until the fundamentals change, relative to demand/finance, and more certainty on planning and costs, we remain in for a long and arduous period." [sic]
Do you think the Government’s current plans will encourage investment in regeneration?
"In principle, the Government's plans will help, and in addition to the previous answer, much will depend on the Local Authority's willingness and commitment to driving through the growth agenda.
It is important that processes are simplified, and not made more unwieldy."
Which areas will be most and least attractive for investment under the new arrangements and why?
"In geographical terms this is very difficult to say, until the Government initiatives are in place. The evolution of Local Enterprise Partnerships, Enterprise Zones and Tax Increment Financing (TIF) will be very important in setting up a strong platform for growth. The South East and London will continue to remain dominant, but areas such as the North East will be testing in enabling regeneration to be kick-started. In these areas, the big challenge will be to attract inward investment by presenting more certainty in planning, occupier demand, and delivery terms."
What more could Government do to help?
"I believe that the introduction of TIF will be key to plugging the gap in terms of what is or not a fundable or deliverable scheme in terms of financial returns. Whether the funding is provided by the public or private sector against future rates income, it is very important that the Government give a clear steer, and importantly, formalise the process, in order that regeneration can be kick-started."
|(pic: Leicester Shire Promotions)|
"The two schemes follow the success in 2003 of the ground-breaking Bullring [sic] development in Birmingham, where Hammerson was the development partner. Once again, on Highcross Leicester and on Cabot Circus Bristol, Hammerson’s role as the principal development partner has seen the company forge a new template for city centre regeneration.
|(Cabot Circus picture: EG Focus)|
"Shaped by exhaustive and far-reaching consultation programmes, both Highcross Leicester and Cabot Circus Bristol have been designed to respond to community and council objectives. During the 18-month consultation programme undertaken for Cabot Circus at the planning stage over 200 individuals, representing 76 organisations, were involved in the process, while public exhibitions about Highcross Leicester generated 90% support for the proposals.
"During the development stages of both projects, extensive information programmes were implemented which included: public open weekends, regular mail outs to residents, visits and talks to community groups, and ambassador tours aimed at local opinion forming stakeholders and the public in general."
Link to Brent Cross - The Career Graveyard.
Link to HOME (see all posts).
|Link to the web site next|
"The boss of fashion chain Next today said it had been hit by a generational shift away from owning ever more 'stuff' to spending on memorable experiences such as eating out with friends.
"Chief executive Lord Wolfson, who was unveiling the retailer's first fall in profits for eight years, said the trend — most closely associated with young 'Millennial' shoppers — was a major reason why he remained 'extremely cautious' about the outlook for the rest of 2017.
"... Last year Ikea executive Steve Howard warned that consumers' obsession with owning goods was on the wane, saying: 'In the West we have probably hit peak stuff'."
"The Brent Cross Cricklewood development is Barnet Council's most significant growth and regeneration programme [and probably its most corrupt]. The vision of the Council and its partners is to create a thriving town centre with attractive and high quality houses and green spaces. Alongside a modernised shopping centre, the development will be served by an additional train station, and a new high street providing local shops, restaurants and offices. We want the area to be a vibrant place to live, work and socialise.
A new station, sooner
"This regeneration will be underpinned by a number of major transport infrastructure improvements. The most significant of these will be a new Thameslink railway station, delivered by Barnet Council with Network Rail, which will link the Brent Cross Cricklewood development to King's Cross St Pancras in less than 15 minutes.
"We are now planning to bring forward the rail-related projects earlier in the overall development programme than previously envisaged, inlcuding [sic] delivering the new Thameslink station in 2022 instead of 2031. This will ensure that the new station is open far earlier than previously planned, supporting the Brent Cross Cricklewood regeneration as a whole and also providing new transport links to existing local residents.
Why We Are Consulting
"Planning permission for the Brent Cross Cricklewood project was first granted in 2010 (ref. C/17559/08) and subsequently amended in 2014 (ref. F/04687/13).
"The planning permission allows for the timing and content of the phases of the project to be amended as necessary, subject to technical assessments and approval.
"We're keen to hear your views before we submit an application to allow the new Thameslink station and other rail-related sites to be constructed at the same time, and see the new station open to the public in 2022." [There are three compulsory purchase orders to push through first.]
[Reposted] Evening Standard: Hammerson's Brent Cross: "A lot of imagination in the layout" (Then, not now.)
"It is a wonderful asset to be able to park your car and do all your shopping under one roof, without worrying about traffic wardens or getting wet," says Mrs Renee Stitcher, a magistrate's wife.
We took her around the centre to see for herself what was going on, and to get her views about the shopping centre.
"It is a wonderful centre - a lot of imagination has gone into the layout, and I am enjoying walking around the shops, and also having the chance of a sit down and something to eat and drink," she said.
Sometimes she uses Golders Green for her shopping, but says parking is a real problem. "The council has not provided any parking. Either you park a long way away and walk, or else go elsewhere.
"I have been going to the West End, because I can get a car park and a choice of goods.
"The chance of doing all my shopping in one go will be just what many housewives want - and they needn't get wet in the process.
"I like the design and layout of the centre, but my husband is going to be furious because it will encourage me to shop more often!
"High on my priority list with this centre is its convenience. You can come by car and park all around it, and get into the shops on two completely different levels.
"The big West End stores have come out to where we live, and it looks as though there will be plenty of choice.
"I like the big islands of carpeting in the Fenwicks store. The aim of this, I am told, is to help identify each department - the whole store ... looks very bright and cheerful.
"In these days of economic depression and general problems, everyone needs a lift - and this store provides it. I think the Fenwicks store is nicer than many similar styles I have seen in America.
Her one big worry was that the centre was big and overpowering. "It might take a long time before people get used to it."
6 Jan 1976
Link to HOME (see all posts).
"CEO Travis Kalanick's treatment of one of his drivers shows Uber's institutional sleazebaggery, seeing social responsibility as an outdated piece of apparatus"
|Ride to the web site|
"Liberal outrage has been a chorus to Uber's apparently unstoppable rise, but it has never before been a bar to its expansion: the company continues to grow, even as it registers record-breaking revenue loss around the world, much of which it puts down to the inconvenience of still having to pay its drivers.
Given what we already knew about Uber's institutional sleaziness, why is this clip so shocking? Because it reveals an uncomfortable truth about the character of our modern power elites. Part of us would prefer to imagine the svengalis of exploitative businesses as polished, scheming villains, geniuses enviably unencumbered by such old-fashioned burdens as ethics and morality.
"From Trump down, these men would prefer us to picture them as competent and potent – a little brash, perhaps, but that's all part of how corporate power brands itself. This is why it matters that this video exposes Kalanick, one of the world's richest men, as a thoroughly unpleasant person."
[And as for Hammerson?
|Link to web site|
"Up to four out of five homes in some of the capital's most high-profile new housing developments have been sold to overseas owners in fresh evidence of London buyers being squeezed out, a report warned today.
"An analysis into the ownership of just over 2,000 flats or houses in 14 developments shows that 1,616 of the homes were purchased by individuals or companies from abroad, says the report's author, anti-corruption campaign group Transparency International.
"The negative impact on London is made worse by the fact that 40 per cent of purchases, totalling £1.6 billion, in the new developments were by investors from countries with a 'high risk' of corruption, says the report."