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


The Observer: "Two huge mergers have brought consolidation to the world of big retail property – a sign that even the largest malls are feeling the economic chill"

Link to web site

"[Opening a £600m extension to Westfield White City] looks like madness in the current economic climate. British households are facing the biggest squeeze on living standards since records began, while the trend for online shopping is prompting many retailers to close, rather than open, stores.

This tough environment is what sowed the seeds for this month's game of shopping-centre Top Trumps, with ... British property group Hammerson buying smaller rival Intu for £3.4bn, then Australian billionaire Sir Frank Lowy pulling a rabbit out of the hat by agreeing to sell his family's Westfield shopping centre empire, including its two London malls, to France's Unibail-Rodamco for £19bn.

"... Marks & Spencer, Debenhams and Toys R Us are among the chains who have announced plans to close branches, while many former BHS premises remain empty. There is also speculation in property circles that big high street names such as House of Fraser could be among retailers considering a company voluntary arrangement – an insolvency procedure used by retailers to reduce their rent liabilities or close stores."


Instead of Westfield swallowing Hammerson... Daily Telegraph: "French shopping centre giant Unibail Rodamco swallows Westfield in £18bn deal"

Link to web site

"Shopping centre giant Westfield is to be acquired by France's Unibail-Rodamco in a deal that will create a $72bn (£54bn) retail property empire spanning Britain, the United States and much of continental Europe.

"Shareholders in Westfield Corporation, which owns malls in White City and Stratford, London, will receive $7.55 per share at a 7.8pc premium, valuing the Australia-listed company at $24.7bn.

"Westfield employed 523 people in the UK as of last December and is currently working on a new shopping centre in Croydon, south London, which is not expected to be threatened by the deal."


The Observer: "As corporate goliaths grow ever larger, Britain looks increasingly exposed"

Link to web site

"... Last week came another small milestone, in Britain. Hammerson, a property company few will have heard of, swooped on its rival, Intu, even less well known, in a £3.2bn bid. Yet the outcome will affect us all. Many major shopping malls – London's Brent Cross, Birmingham's Bullring, Manchester's Trafford Park, Oxfordshire's Bicester Village – will be owned by the same company. Hammerson will be the arbiter of how we shop: what stores are positioned where, in what mall and at what rent; it can even determine the restrictions on forms of permissible public activity in its private spaces.

"Hammerson will argue that it had no choice. So much shopping is online that the mall is looking increasingly like a late 20th-century phenomenon, outdated and outmoded. E-shopping is booming and, with the advent of virtual reality, you can go beyond browsing online to 'handling' the goods you plan to buy. Hammerson's only option is to buy up its competitors and try to hold the digital invaders at bay.

"You can see its point, but its monopolistic grip on the market will be such that it is better empowered to resist declines in rent and will take any opportunity to lift them. Our competition authorities stand idly by, helpless onlookers rather than proactive interveners."


Britain's worst property developer Hammerson stays out of the jaws of Westfield by merging with Intu

Link to Daily Telegraph

"Hammerson has agreed to acquire fellow retail property giant Intu, in an all-share deal that would create a company with assets of more than £21bn.

"Hammerson chief executive David Atkins said:
"The acquisition creates a leading pan-European platform of desirable retail and leisure destinations which are better positioned to serve the needs of our retailers, excite our customers and support our partners and communities.

Sure, our Brent Cross development masterplanners admitted at the public local inquiry last year that it had not consulted the public once in the last 15 years, but hey ho, that's the cut and thrust of business, and the public can go hang."
[He didn't say that last sentence. Although he could have done.]


BBC: "Renting in retirement: How feasible is it?"

Link to web site

"Home ownership can be a thing of beauty. Just as you don a pair of fur-lined slippers and spend more time on the golf course, you find you have paid off your mortgage. For the rest of your life, accommodation is effectively free.

"But this utopian model is becoming the exception. High house prices mean we are borrowing more for longer. And more significantly, the UK is slowly ceasing to become a nation of homeowners.

"Over the next 15 years the number of people renting their home from a private landlord is expected to double to more than nine million."


[Reposted from Aug 2015, followed by Nov 2017 update] Saving Cricklewood's Green Space from the London Borough of Barnet

(2013 poster)

Crown Moran Hotel (Sala Room),
142 - 152 Cricklewood Broadway,
Cricklewood, London NW2 3ED

WEDNESDAY, 15 JANUARY 2014 at 6.30pm
Chairman: Councillor Graham Old
Vice-Chairman: Councillor John Marshall

"Cricklewood Lane green space (adjacent to B&Q) This green space is a valuable community space in a densely built over environment. Recent ground works to establish what services are located where under the turf seem to indicate that Barnet is going to go ahead and build over this space. Rumours are that the Rosa Friedman Centre will be relocated here as a stage of the Brent Cross Development plan and together with other buildings, not specified, could mean this space being crowded out with buildings up to 5 storeys high. 

"This is outrageous. This land was ceded to the residents of Cricklewood as part of a section 106 planning gain when the B&Q building was constructed. How can Barnet now take this back to help them solve issues arising from the Brent Cross Development plan?"

"A number of local residents have commented on the Brent Cross Cricklewood Section 73 planning application objecting to the inclusion in the outline planning application of the space adjacent to the B&Q building on Cricklewood Lane. This area totals some 0.2 ha.

"The proposals in the Section 73 application currently under consideration remain unchanged for the uses and for the maximum and minimum heights for this site from the scheme permitted in 2010.

"However, it has been proposed to move this site from Phase 2 to Phase 1 as it is a site where the early provision of housing accommodation could potentially be achieved.

"This space is not designated within the Local Plan or approved planning application as open space although (as explained below) it was provided for use as public open space as part of the planning process leading to approval of the adjoining retail development and was transferred to the Council for that purpose.

"In the 2010 Permission, this site (Plot 58) was granted outline consent for retail or health uses on the ground floor and residential uses on the on the upper floors. It was programmed for delivery in Phase 2 of the development.

"This site had historically been subject to anti-social behaviour and a building was approved in this location under the outline consent as it was felt that there were urban design reasons for continuing the built frontage to this side of Cricklewood Lane. The building approved in outline under the 2010 Permission would provide a continuous active frontage to an area dominated at present by the blank side of the B & Q building.

"This area was provided as open space at the time of the construction of the present store (now B & Q) under the terms of a S52 agreement dated 30 January 1987 and was acquired from the Crown Commissioners by the Council in September 2004 with a restrictive covenant requiring it to be used as open space.

"Both of these restrictions are not unusual situations when comprehensively developing sites in existing urban areas such as town centres. Statutory powers under Section 237 of the Town and Country Planning Act would be used to override these restrictions at the implementation stage, if appropriate, in order to allow this part of the BXC development to be delivered.

"Since 2010 a number of community events have been held on this site, and there is now substantial local support to retain this area as open space. In response to this, proposals are also advanced to widen the paved area and plant trees in this location funded by the Mayor of London through the Outer London Fund (OLF). These recent OLF proposals are potentially compatible with the BXC proposals.

"Although it is noted that this space provides a level of local amenity space it should be noted that the qualitative and quantitative improvement to local open spaces provided early in the wider BXC scheme delivery programme will mitigate the loss of this space. In addition, it is likely that some increased area of public realm will be provided and retained as part of the Outer London Fund proposals.

"The Section 73 application will be considered by the Planning and Environment Committee and local residents’ comments will be reported for Members' consideration."


'Wembley Matters' on the North London Waste Authority: "Brent CEO asked to raise the Cricklewood dump with her Barnet counterpart"

Link to web site

"The current Brent Cross waste transfer facility [WTF!] is on the eastern side of the railway lines. Barnet Council wish to move it, to facilitate the building of expensive apartments as part of the 'regeneration' plans. Originally, the North London Waste Authority opposed the move on the grounds of proximity to houses and schools, environmental aspects, and the fact that they could not guarantee that HGVs would not rat-run in Dollis Hill and the rest of Brent.

"I attach a copy of their objections: these were withdrawn at the last moment, despite all the comments still being valid. Their reasons for doing so are the subject of an FOI request which has not, as yet, been answered. The NLWA also stated that the proposed site was too small."


[Reposted from Nov 2013] Barnet Times: "Days left to respond to Cricklewood plans"

Link to web site

"Campaigners fighting 'illogical' plans to build on a green space in Cricklewood have just days left to respond to a consultation.

"The land outside B&Q, in Cricklewood Lane, has been sold to developers – much to the dismay of residents trying to save it.

"Barnet Borough Council’s consultation against the plans expires on 6 December, and people are being urged to have their say.

"The Coalition for a Sustainable Brent Cross Cricklewood Development is trying to get the council to make a U-turn on its original decision."

Cricklewood Green Space
(pic: Theo Simpson / Spacemakers)


Brent & Kilburn Times: "Last chance to object to freight 'super hub' in Cricklewood"

UPDATE: "The online consultation period for this application has ended. Comments that have been submitted may be viewed within the list of documents for this application. Comments may not be submitted online at this time but can be emailed to planning.consultation@barnet.gov.uk and can be accepted up until the time that the decision is made."

Link to web site

"Objectors have until the end of today to make their voices heard against a proposed development to create a freight ‘super hub’ in Cricklewood.

"A consultation on Barnet Council’s planning portal ends today. The application is to turn a rail yard off the A5 behind Lidl into a freight hub.

"However protestors have come out in their droves with over 500 objections made. They cite extreme environmental issues as the cause of their concerns as well severe traffic disruption. It is thought around 500 extra lorries could be on local roads every day if the application is successful."

Comment on application 17/5761/EIA

Construction Enquirer: "Laing O’Rourke scoops £700m Brent Cross revamp" [except the 2016 CPO public inquiry isn't exactly tied up yet]

Link to web site

"Joint owners Hammerson and Standard Life have signed a pre-construction services agreement as part of a two-stage tender process for the main construction works expected to be worth £700m.

"Laing O'Rourke will now finalise the design and procurement in order to enable a start on site in 2018.

"The appointment of a contractor for the infrastructure works will made next year with Barhale, Clancy Docwra and Murphy all believed to be in the chase."


"Council sneaks out announcement of Hammerson/Westfield’s planning date"

Link to 'Inside Croydon'

" 'The £1.4billion redevelopment proposal for [Hammerson and Westfield's] Whitgift Shopping Centre is set to go before a special meeting of the council’s planning committee on Tuesday 14 November.' They didn’t mention that this would be the third time this year that a date had been set aside for such a meeting.

'Croydon Council has been working closely with the Greater London Authority (GLA), local MPs and the Minister for London to do all it could to ensure the Partnership's proposals made it to a planning committee,' the press release states, presumably to update anyone who doesn’t read 'Inside Croydon'.

"... But there was no mention of the proportion of affordable housing to be included within the scheme. Sources at City Hall have indicated this week that the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, 'is minded' to use his city-wide powers to call in the planning application."


Is Hammerson still in trouble in Croydon?

Link to 'Inside Croydon'

"Tony Newman, the Labour leader of the council, was missing from the Town Hall for last night's extraordinary meeting on the state of the borough’s children’s services. Apparently, he had more important matters to attend to.

According to Stuart Collins, who chaired last night's Town Hall meeting, Newman and the leader of the Conservative opposition on the council, Tim Pollard, were away in London to meet with ministers to discuss the situation over Westfield’s badly stalled £1.4billion redevelopment of the town centre.

"... Westfield, in a forced partnership with shopping centre managers Hammerson, were supposed to be opening their redeveloped supermall on the site of the Whitgift Centre and Centrale this year. No building work has been undertaken, despite a Compulsory Purchase Order on the large area and planning permission being granted by the council two years ago."

Additional story:


NorthWestTwo Residents Association: "Cricklewood Superhub: How Much Dust?"

Piles of aggregate at the similar Bow Road-rail freight faculty
Link to web site

"... This stuff will be brought in by rail, stocked in piles, and loaded into HGVs. It’s dusty stuff and a dusty business handling it. So how much dust will there be?

"There will be rain, and mitigation measures: there'll be sprinklers. Wheels will be washed. Drivers will be told to cover their loads. 'It is anticipated the dust impact during the operational phase will be minimised.'

"What does 'minimised' mean? Politicians talk of minimising the tax burden and very occasionally shave a percent or two off – we still pay plenty. It seems we're being told we have to accept 'minimised' dust pollution as part of our regeneration."


Brent & Kilburn Times: Site of West London Orbital Railway depot wasted on something else

Link to web site

"Proposals to convert a railway yard in Cricklewood into a rail freight ‘super hub’ have been met with objections from residents. Protesters believe that noise, pollution, and traffic will soar dramatically if the plans go ahead.

"DB Cargo, the UK's largest rail freight hauler, has a 125 year lease on the land, which is owned by National Rail, until 2121.

"DB Cargo and the London Borough of Barnet would like to transform the rail yard, which is opposite the bus depot on Edgware Road, into a storage area for lorries to pick up aggregates, material used in construction, such as sand and gravel."


IanVisits: "New railway line for West London proposed"

Link to web site
(it would interchange at Neasden, not Dollis Hill)

An old railway line currently used for cargo trains could be converted into passenger use, linking parts of West London currently poorly served by rail services.

The little-used railway line runs from just north of Cricklewood on the Thameslink line and loops around West London, ever so slightly just missing aligning with a number of stations on existing lines, until it join up with the London Overground at Acton.

"... A consortium of local councils, the West London Economic Prosperity Board has now endorsed a plan to convert the freight railway tracks into passenger services and create what could be an extension of the London Overground service."


GetWestLondon: "West London Orbital Railway 'stands good a chance of becoming a reality' and here is how it will look"

Link to web site

"Plans for a new orbital railway line linking north and west London have been given the thumbs up by an economic board and made a significant step towards becoming a reality.

"The West London Orbital Railway would consist of two new lines one running from West Hampstead to Hounslow and another running from Hendon to Isleworth via Brent Cross.

"... Brent councillor and West London Orbital Railway campaigner, Lia Colacicco, said:
"I had to pinch myself – I have spent eight years campaigning for the West London Orbital Railway, and now it actually stands a good chance of becoming a reality."


The Guardian: "Robots could destabilise world through war and unemployment, says UN"

"United Nations opens new centre in Netherlands to monitor artificial intelligence and predict possible threats"

Link to web site

"The UN has warned that robots could destabilise the world ahead of the opening of a headquarters in The Hague to monitor developments in artificial intelligence.

"From the risk of mass unemployment to the deployment of autonomous robotics by criminal organisations or rogue states, the new Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics has been set the goal of second-guessing the possible threats.

"It is estimated that 30% of jobs in Britain are potentially under threat from breakthroughs in artificial intelligence, according to the consultancy firm PwC. In some sectors half the jobs could go. A recent study by the International Bar Association claimed robotics could force governments to legislate for quotas of human workers."

Link to web site

Daily Telegraph: "These are the jobs most at risk of automation according to Oxford University: Is yours one of them?"
"In his speech at the 2017 Labour Party conference, Jeremy Corbyn outlined his desire to "urgently... face the challenge of automation", which he called a " threat in the hands of the greedy".

"Whether or not Corbyn is planing a potentially controversial 'robot tax' wasn't clear from his speech, but addressing the forward march of automation is a savvy move designed to appeal to voters in low-paying, routine work.

"Automation of jobs through technological advances have been mooted for years but analyses have shown that progress towards this eventuality may be accelerating."


[Reposted from Dec 2014] Hammerson's Brent Cross shopping centre under Barnet's corrupt planning consent: Relying on wealthy new customers or out-of-control consumer debt?

Link to The Observer

"According to the OBR’s chilling analysis, 'subdued earnings' caused a shortfall in tax revenue from income tax and national insurance contributions of £8bn this year. That is predicted to rise to £15.2bn by 2018-19. By the end of the next parliament, the country will have experienced 18 years of lost wage growth, while the top 5% will have become ever richer.

As economist Özlem Onaran writes: “The share of income in the national income pie will contract in favour of the owners of capital.” And that brings with it the related problem of spiralling debt. In this country, the ratio of household debt to incomes is predicted to reach a staggering 184% by 2020. In 2010, at 170% it was high. Many of us don’t earn enough, so we continue to borrow – a tightrope for the clumsy-footed, unbalanced as soon as interest rates rise.

In November, the Bank of England appointed Michael Kumhof, formerly of the IMF, as a special adviser. In 2010, he co-authored an authoritative paper, 'Inequality, Leverage and Crisis' that also made reference to the 1930s. The paper argues that two periods – 1920-1929 (followed by the Great Depression of the 30s) and 1983-2008 (followed by the recession) both exhibited a large increase in the income share of the rich, a large increase in leverage (borrowing) for the remainder, and an eventual financial crisis. Kumhof’s favoured more effective solution to avoid this is the “restoration of the lower income group’s bargaining power”.

Link to web site

Sunday Telegraph:
"Ten more years of borrowing if productivity lags"
"The Government will take a decade longer to balance the books if Britain's low productivity recovery continues to drag down the economy, experts have warned.

"George Osborne admitted last week that weak wage growth and a rise in low paid work meant the Government would borrow £91bn this fiscal year – £5bn more than the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) forecast in March. It is still predicted to post a surplus in 2019.

"A key part of the OBR's forecast centres around stronger productivity growth, which is expected to gradually rise to 2pc by the end of its forecast in 2020.

"However, the OBR calculated that if productivity grew at the rate as it has since 2008 – just 0.5pc a year – it would leave 'living standards materially lower', with wages still 7pc down on their pre-crisis peak after [another] five years."


The Guardian: "Britain's growing debt problem demands a fresh set of eyes"

Enter PIN for web site

"When it was first created in 2010, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) adopted the Treasury view that austerity would have very little impact on potential for economic growth. It predicted a surge in business investment and jobs as if the economy was about to bounce back from a medium-sized recession and not the worst financial crash in a century.

"For several years, its reports repeated the same nonsense that wages would soar and annual inflation return to the Bank of England target of 2%, without any regard for what was obvious from just looking around. In this respect it followed the Treasury, many of the economists in the largest City banks and most importantly, the Bank of England.

"... Unfortunately, a large minority of households, many of them living in the rented sector, are caught in a spiral of unsecured debt that has already sent the total for the UK above £200bn and according to the OBR, send it soaring further, until it reaches a new peak as a ratio of GDP as soon as 2020."


Hammerson's OTHER shopping centre in London is also in trouble

Woe is me!
Link to 'Inside Croydon'

"Progress on the biggest redevelopment in Croydon for half a century has been stalled since a Compulsory Purchase Order was agreed in 2015. A revised planning application from Westfield and partners Hammerson was supposed to have been submitted to Croydon Council nearly six months ago, with a view to demolition work of the existing Whitgift Centre beginning in early 2018.

"The Croydon Partnership website is still suggesting that the supermall, which was supposed to have been built and operational by 2017, will finally be ready for business in 2021. That’s now looking increasingly unlikely.

"There's mounting concerns over the slow progress, especially among the governors of the Whitgift Foundation, which owns the freehold of the steadily declining Whitgift Centre, and who depend on the commercial income from the shopping mall site to help meet the costs of running their alms houses and private schools. It was the Foundation which invited Westfield to Croydon in 2012, when the Whitgift Centre leasees had already engaged Hammerson to oversee a redevelopment of the site."

Brent & Kilburn Times (x2): Brent Cross ruins Dollis Hill, and Barnet Times (x3): "The West London Orbital Railway" (what goes around comes around)

The Brent Cross Railway: West London Alliance's "West London Orbital Railway" - the full monty 'GRIP1' report, and "What to put in the Mayor's Transport Strategy"


Evening Standard: "British business and what went horribly wrong"

Link to web site

"The British class structure, reinforced by the educational establishment, channelled the brightest people into the professions and the City rather than engineering and industrial management.

"Once inside the companies, the brightest were unlikely to be those who got their hands dirty.

"Production and operations were in large part run by people who started on the shop floor and received almost no training when promoted to management even though they were in charge of the one area on which the company’s life depended.

"The class divide meant that those who understood the job had no voice in strategy and those who decided strategy had no understanding of the job.

Then, into this unholy mix, was injected an unwarranted respect for accountants."


The 'Brent Cross Railway' morphs into the 'West London Orbital Railway'!

The 'turn south at Cricklewood' option

The 'turn north at Cricklewood' option

(Old Oak Common HS2 station is roughly
where the 'North London Line' wording is.)


The Guardian: "Silicon Valley siphons our data like oil. But the deepest drilling has just begun"

"Personal data is to the tech world what oil is to the fossil fuel industry. That’s why companies like Amazon and Facebook plan to dig deeper than we ever imagined"

Link to web site

"Imagine if your supermarket watched you as closely as Facebook or Google. It would know not only which items you bought, but how long you lingered in front of which products and your path through the store. This data holds valuable lessons about your personality and your preferences – lessons that Amazon will use to sell you more stuff, online and off.

"Supermarkets aren't the only places these ideas will be put into practice. Surveillance can transform any physical space into a data mine. And the most data-rich environment, the one that contains the densest concentration of insights into who you are, is your home.

"That's why Amazon has aggressively promoted the Echo, a small speaker that offers a Siri-like voice-activated assistant called Alexa. Alexa can tell you the weather, read you the news, make you a to-do list, and perform any number of other tasks. It is a very good listener. It faithfully records your interactions and transmits them back to Amazon for analysis. In fact, it may be recording not only your interactions, but absolutely everything."


[Reposted] The Brent Cross Railway, and cunning plans since then

Link to PDF file

From 2008:
"A massive expansion is planned for the Brent Cross area of north London, with high-density retail, housing and commercial developments that will create a new 'Town Centre' on both sides of the North Circular Road. [By 2013, reduced to essentially the 1996 shopping centre expansion plan.]

"According to the Development Framework document, there will be more than 29,000 additional vehicle journeys at Brent Cross per day. That will have a serious impact on an area where congestion can already be severe. As we start to tackle global warming, urgent discussion is vital to substantially reduce car use in massive developments like this.

"While addressing the need for much better public transport at Brent Cross, there is an opportunity for a rapid transit system to also serve large parts of Barnet, Brent, Ealing, and beyond. Therefore this document proposes a Brent Cross Railway, as an east-west rapid transit system from Brent Cross (Northern Line), via the expanded Brent Cross Shopping Centre and Town Centre, to Neasden (Jubilee Line) and Harlesden (Bakerloo Line and Euston-Watford Overground).

Possible extensions southwards are to North Acton (Central Line), and/or Park Royal (Central and Piccadilly Lines), and/or Acton Main Line (Crossrail). A major project! [At this time, Old Oak Common wasn't even a twinkle in anyone's eye.]

"It would rely on financial contributions from the twenty-year development of Brent Cross Town Centre, and provide local regeneration, connection between underground lines, and access to the proposed Brent Cross Thameslink station, and to trains to Heathrow. It would also contribute generally towards a shift towards public transport, since much of it parallels the North Circular Road." [But the Brent Cross developers and the London Borough of Barnet have never been interested.]

Link to:


[Reposted from Jun 2011] Light-rail across north London? (There's an election coming)

 (Click to enlarge the image, and usually again to magnify)

('Haringey Journal')

This also made the west London media:

Our view:

"Follow the Money"

Boris's development sites ought to be used, collectively, to help fund an east-west light-rail line, across outer north London.

Click above to enlarge
('Transport 2025' map)

Click above to enlarge,
and also link to the 'North London Strategic Alliiance'

A suggested 'DLR-type' system for north London (instead of on-road trams) is described here.

In the west, it could start at either Ealing Broadway, or the proposed HS2/Crossrail station at Old Oak Common.

In the east, it could be extended beyond Finchley, along the wide North Circular Road corridor, to New Southgate and Arnos Grove stations.


The Guardian: "Electric cars are not the answer to air pollution, says top UK adviser"

"Prof Frank Kelly says fewer not cleaner vehicles are needed, plus more cycling and walking and better transit systems"

Link to web site

"Cars must be driven out of cities to tackle the UK’s air pollution crisis, not just replaced with electric vehicles, according to the UK government’s top adviser.

"Prof Frank Kelly said that while electric vehicles emit no exhaust fumes, they still produce large amounts of tiny pollution particles from brake and tyre dust, for which the government already accepts there is no safe limit.

"Toxic air causes 40,000 early deaths a year in the UK, and the environment secretary, Michael Gove, recently announced that the sale of new diesel and petrol cars will be banned from 2040, with only electric vehicles available after that. But faced with rising anger from some motorists, the plan made the use of charges to deter dirty diesel cars from polluted areas a measure of last resort only.

"Kelly's intervention heightens the government’s dilemma between protecting public health and avoiding politically difficult charges or bans on urban motorists. 'The government’s plan does not go nearly far enough,' said Kelly, professor of environmental health at King’s College London and chair of the Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants, official expert advisers to the government. 'Our cities need fewer cars, not just cleaner cars'."


SpendMatters: "Is Barnet Council Capable of Managing Capita Contract? Auditors Not Sure …"

Link to web site

"Barnet is attempting to become a 'commissioning council', which means outsourcing pretty much everything it can. That is conceptually an interesting idea; it would leave the two key 'internal' activities for the Council as setting policy and managing contracts / suppliers. It’s not a new idea; I was involved in discussions along those lines in central government back in the 1990s. But it's absolutely clear that if such a model is going to work, you have to be good at procurement and contract management. The more activity, risk and delivery you put in the hands of third party suppliers, the more important it is that they are managed properly.

BDO [external auditors] agrees with this diagnosis in their report. However, and unfortunately, this does not seem to be actually happening in Barnet. BDO talks about contract management and monitoring like this:
"During the course of 2016/17 we have noted a number of internal audit reports which have raised significant findings in this area. In addition, further concerns have been identified through our own audit work. As such, we have recognised a significant risk to our use of resources [value for money] opinion."

'Champaign4Change' article on Barnet is here.

National Audit Office guidance is here.


[Reposted from Mar 2016] Barnet Planning: Corrupt Corporate Governance leading to 2010 Brent Cross Planning Consent

Link to 'Barnet Times',
including to a dozen comments!

"COUNCIL chiefs have been criticised for the way a private company can both draw up and approve planning applications.

"Regional Enterprise (Re) not only has the final say on building plans submitted to Barnet Council, but is also responsible for designing them.

"The firm's architects sit just yards away from colleagues who rubber-stamp the decisions.

"This means Re acts as the 'jury, judge and executioner'.

"The director of a planning firm, who refused to be named, said fears private companies trying to make it in an already flooded market will be unable to compete."

Barnet Eye:
"Planning in Barnet - The conflict of interest that is Capita in Barnet" (Link)

And earlier fall-out from Barnet's corrupt 2010 planning consent: