|The restaurant on top of the Hammerson waste incinerator [!]|
"Analysts fear the boom in personal contract plans are mirroring the sub-prime mortgage scandal and are fuelling a colossal build-up of debt in UK and US"
|Link to web site|
"A huge increase in the amounts borrowed by already indebted households in Britain and the US to buy new vehicles is fuelling fears that 'sub-prime cars' could ignite the next financial crash.
"British households borrowed a record £31.6bn in 2016 to buy cars, up 12% on the year before, said the Finance and Leasing Association on Friday. Nine out of 10 private car buyers are now using personal contract plans (known as PCPs), which have boomed since interest rates fell to historic lows.
"... Car financing in the UK is a 'flashing light', according to Andrew Evans, a fund manager at investment firm Schroders. 'Borrowing is a very bad idea when it is done against a depreciating asset … such as a car,' he said, adding that there was a 'serious level of fragility built into the system'.
The Times: "Brent Cross revamp is Hammerson’s aim after profits tumble" (which is a bit of a hostage to fortune, isn't it?)
|Link to web site (pay wall)|
"A billion-pound facelift for the Brent Cross shopping centre in north London heads the 'to do' list for Hammerson, after the company suffered a writedown-related plunge in profits for 2016.
"The 40-year-old Brent Cross, Britain's first entirely enclosed shopping mall [no, it's not], is showing its age and the redevelopment will double the size of the existing site close to the North Circular, as well as bringing it into the 21st century [eh?].
"Hammerson’s share of the cost is put at up to £550 million, with Standard Life, its joint venture partner on the site, also footing the bill."
Evening Standard: Hammerson's 'SS Brent Cross' sails serenely on, ignoring the jagged rocks of compulsory purchase public local inquiries...
|Shurely Shome Mishtake. Ed.|
"Property firm Hammerson is set to submit detailed plans for the £1.2 billion overhaul of Brent Cross shopping centre within weeks, boss David Atkins said today. [So nothing has changed.]
"The modernisation will more than double the size of the 40-year-old north London mall to 1.9 million square feet, as part of a wider £4.5 billion regeneration of Cricklewood including offices, parks and nearly 7000 new homes.
"The centre, which opened in 1976 as the UK's first fully enclosed shopping mall, already sees 15 million visits a year but the extension will almost double the number of shops to 200."
|Link to 'Atlantic Cities'|
"... The combined effects of improved convenience for drivers, a degraded walking environment, service cuts to public transit and the physical separation of residential and commercial areas were forcing city-dwellers into cars.
Cities like Berkeley, Arlington and Cambridge experienced something different. Even as they cut back on surface parking, the number of people and jobs climbed upward, as did incomes. Less parking in these places has meant the urban fabric can be stitched back together and there is more space for shops, restaurants, jobs and other things that make cities great.
"More importantly, the parking isn’t needed. People own cars at higher rates, but they don’t use them as much. Instead, they live close to the urban core where upwards of 30 percent walk or bike to work.
"Today, in many cities, roads and parking facilities continue to grow, as though the problem for the last 50 years has been that the growth was not enough. These cities might be able to guarantee a parking space in front of every destination that still remains (or they might not), but they are likely doing so at the expense of those things that cities really need – namely, people."
"Mayor of New York says roads are not for cars. And cyclists and pedestrians are 'more important' than motorists"
|Link to 'Roads Were Not Built For Cars'|
|This is The Age|
Of the Train.
"The rail industry has set out how it will cope with ever-increasing demand by using technology and advanced design to get more people on trains and more trains on the network.
"... The Rail Delivery Group, which represents train operators and Network Rail, said new seat designs would both improve comfort and increase the amount of space for passengers on both new and existing trains.
"One new seat type allows between 20-30% more seats, allowing passengers to sit in a more upright position, while another type provides traditional seats during the day, but converts to a different configuration during peak times, allowing up to 15-20% more seats and more room for people who stand."
"To celebrate the brand new Body Shop in Brent Cross I'm popping along on Sunday to spend time on the shop floor, meet you and talk all things skin.
"This is the first time I've done an event at the weekend, but a lot of your feedback was 'NO MORE WEEKDAYS PLEASE' so hopefully this will suit more of you timings-wise.
"The Body Shop, Upper Mall Brent Cross Shopping Centre, Hendon, London, NW4 3FP
"Sunday 12th February 12-5.30pm
"Come see us for all things spots. And tea. And skincare. Obvs.
"Hope to see you there!"
Evening Standard: "Wembley housing scheme will be biggest ever 'build-to-rent' development" [Wembley has THREE stations. Just saying.]
|Link to web site|
"The thousands of tenants expected to move into Britain’s biggest ever “build-to-rent” housing scheme next to Wembley Stadium will save it from being blighted by the 'lights-out' phenomenon, property bosses claimed today.
"They revealed that close to 5,000 out of a total 7,000 apartments being built at the Wembley Park development will be for private and social rent.
"James Saunders, chief operating officer at developer Quintain, said he expected at least 95 per cent of the homes to be occupied when they are completed.
"That is a far higher proportion than most conventional 'for sale' housing schemes in London, where large numbers of homes are snapped up by foreign investors and either kept empty for all or part of the year, or rented out as buy-to-lets."
|Link to web site|
"Last weekend saw the government announce 'a better deal for tenants'. Could it be that someone in Westminster has belatedly realised that buying a home is no longer a viable option? Because of surging house prices, job insecurity, and no access to a deposit, for many it is nigh on impossible.
"... There exists a specious argument that rent controls cause a stagnating rental market (translation: tenants stay long-term and rents are stable). This theory encouraged John Major's government to pass the regressive 1996 Housing Act to end long-term tenancies.
"But remember this: back in the 80s, a mortgage was two-and-a-half times annual incomes, not eight to 10 times as it is now. Consequently home ownership was a natural stage in life: those who could bought and those who couldn't rented one place for ever. As is right and proper."
"Plans to enlarge the Brent Cross centre have been in the pipeline for several years and been through several rounds of consultation. [Ha!] Now Hammerson has unveiled its latest plans which were publicly consulted on earlier this month and are due to go before planners at Barnet council next spring.
"The scheme was previously called Brent Cross Cricklewood and was designed by Allies & Morrison. But in 2014 the site was divided into two with the plot north of the A406 North Circular road – which includes the shopping centre – now being called Brent Cross London. It will be developed by Hammerson and Standard Life.
"The 1976 shopping centre will be doubled in size and the bus station will be enlarged and relocated.
"Architects working on the scheme include Chapman Taylor, Callison RTKL and Macgregor Smith and the plans include around 400 homes and a riverside park.
"The southern portion, Brent Cross South, is being delivered by Argent Related in a joint venture with the council and will include 6,700 homes and more shops, but configured in a more traditional way like a high street.
"But is it sustainable? Will it hoover up all the retail growth in North London? What will be the impact on town centres in North London? What happened to the 'town centre first' policy? What would that mean in North London?"