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


The Guardian: "How Much Is Enough? by Robert and Edward Skidelsky – review"

Link to The Guardian

"The Wall Street crash was still a year away when in 1928, John Maynard Keynes spoke to an audience of Cambridge undergraduates. The great economist told the students that by the time they were old men, the big economic problems of the day would be solved. The capitalist system was capable of delivering such a sustained and steady increase in output, that workers would eventually have all the material goods they could possibly want. They would need to toil for only 15 hours a week, and could then spend the rest of the time enjoying themselves.

"... So what would Keynes make of a world in which lavishly-paid investment bankers work from dawn to dusk, and then decamp at the weekend to country-house hotels where they are waited on hand and foot by a new servant class, paid little more than subsistence wages? Not much, according to his eminent biographer, Robert Skidelsky, and his philosopher son Edward, in a book that draws heavily on Keynes's (rather patrician) views of what constituted the 'good life'.

"How Much Is Enough? argues that the modern world is characterised by insatiability, an inability to say enough is enough, and the desire for more and more money. Economics, a narrowly focused discipline in which there is no distinction between wants and needs, has driven to the end of a cul-de-sac. As in 1930, the Skidelskys say, the short-term need to get the global economy moving again should not deflect policy-makers from reforms that will lay the foundations of a saner, more stable world."

Link to Daily Telegraph

Daily Telegraph:
"Kenneth Clarke: Put rogue bankers on trial"

"The justice secretary said that if bankers were found to have breached the law, they should be brought to trial.

" 'We are very bad a prosecuting financial crime in this country,' Mr Clarke said in an interview with Radio 4's Today programme."

Questions to the Mayor on Brent Cross (earlier this year)

Transport for London-owned land
  Question No: 920 / 2012
  Navin Shah
"The A406 North Circular and the A41 Hendon Way are both Transport for London roads, on Transport for London freehold land, and yet in answer to Question 106/2012 you state that the specification and design of the support piers of the road junction are not the responsibility of Transport for London. How can that be so - if not Transport for London, then who?"
Written response from the Mayor
"To clarify the previous answer, no decision has been taken on who would be designing the proposed changes to the structures on the A406 and A41 that are part of the Brent Cross Cricklewood development. 

Any proposed changes will need to be designed under TfL standards and passed through TfL’s approvals process before any construction can take place as part of a Section 278 (Highways Act 1980) agreement between the developer and TfL. Construction of the structures may therefore not be TfL’s responsibility."

Brent Cross
  Question No: 921 / 2012
  Navin Shah
"With £4.5-billion, 14-million square feet of approved development at Brent Cross, what are the local transport policies there, for, say, the next 50 years?"
Written response from the Mayor
"The planning application and transport strategy was developed over a number of years and was originally based on the Brent Cross, Cricklewood and West Hendon Development Framework adopted in 2004. The Outline planning application and Masterplan approved by me in March 2010 was developed over a number of years and will be delivered on a phase by phase basis in accordance with the section 106 agreement provisions which include; constitution of a Transport Strategy Group, preparation of Phased Transport Reports and expenditure of a Consolidated Transport Fund. This will allow the relevant highway and strategic transport authorities to plan the development in detail by phase.

The application is in accordance with the London Plan. The Barnet Local Development Framework has also been recently updated to reflect the approach taken in the Outline planning application. TfL has also prepared a series of sub regional transport plans which will also be used to help define the local transport infrastructure needs surrounding the Brent Cross Opportunity Area in more detail."


Evening Standard: "Shoddy and deceitful: Bank of England governor Sir Mervyn King blasts Britain's banks"

Link to web site

"Sir Mervyn King today lashed the 'shoddy and deceitful' behaviour of Britain’s banks, as yet another scandal heaped disgrace on some of the City’s most trusted [trusted?] names."

"The Bank of England governor demanded a 'real change in the banking industry culture', in a fierce attack on the financial services community."

"He hit out at 'excessive levels of compensation, shoddy treatment of customers, and deceitful manipulation of one of the most important rates'."

Evening Standard: Westfield’s £1bn bid to beat Brent Cross's Hammerson for south London mega-mall

"Shopping giant reveals a £1bn bid for its third London mall"

At least it's in an existing town centre
Link to Evening Standard

"Shopping centre giant Westfield today revealed a £1 billion bid to open its latest mega-mall in Croydon.

The company, which already has two major centres in London — at Shepherd’s Bush in the west and Stratford in the east — plans to open its third to dominate the south.

"... Westfield development director John Burton said:
"In Croydon, there are two very determined companies that want to do this scheme. Our approach is very similar to what we have done before. We are trying to emphasise to the council that we are ready, we are capable, and we can write a cheque for £1 billion tomorrow. Who else in London could do that?" [Barclay's LIBOR-rate fraudsters?]

Barnet Times: Filming Meetings

(Click to enlarge)

Daily Telegraph: "Jimmy Carr and the 'tax dodging scum' rant at Jersey audience member" (Hammerson's Brent Cross development is currently using that tax haven)

"I'm not being condescending; I'm too busy thinking about
far more important things, that you wouldn't understand."
Link to Daily Telegraph 

"Having performed Scouse, Geordie and Brummy phrases for the crowd, a heckler at the back of the room then shouted: 'Jersey'.

"Carr immediately replied: 'You haven't got an accent, you tax-dodging scum.'

"The response was raucous applause and laughter from the audience."

"I've got my eye on you."
Link to web site

The Guardian: "Jersey's 'secrecy culture' led to my suspension, says former police chief"

"Before moving to Jersey to take charge of the island's police in 2000, Graham Power had served in the senior ranks of four other forces, in a career spanning more than 30 years. A recipient of the Queen's Medal for distinguished service, he had been vetted by UK authorities to 'top secret' level, and was so well regarded that he had also been appointed an assessor for the body that selects chief officers for UK constabularies.

"But after eight successful years on Jersey, Power found himself suddenly suspended, in what one local politician supporter believes was a:
"coup d'etat, engineered by a small group of powerful people who denied him natural justice".
"The initial suspension, which related to Power's management and supervision of a child abuse inquiry centred around Haut de la Garenne, a children's home on the island, continues to be a hugely controversial topic in Jersey. It's an episode which Jersey's critics see as a prime example of the way the island's elite treats those who dare to challenge their authority."


The Australian: "Westfield to cash in on [Olympic] games but trouble looms for third London centre"

Link to web site

"WESTFIELD Group could see the decision to develop Britain's next big shopping centre - the Whitgift Centre at Croyden [sic] - taken out of its hands, as it positions itself to capitalise on the huge lift in retail spending from the London Olympics this year.

"Reports said if the impasse between the leaseholder owners of the centre, south of London, could not be resolved, Croydon Council may be forced to choose its preferred development partners [between Westfield and Brent Cross's Hammerson] and the other parties would be compulsorily bought out."

The Guardian: "Jersey is bluffing: it would ruin the tax haven" (Hammerson is developing Brent Cross using a tax haven)

Link to The Guardian

"The world's financial actors come to Jersey, because of the rock-like stability and predictability that stems from its umbilical relationship with the UK. While Britain's crown dependencies (such as Jersey) and overseas territories (such as the Cayman Islands) do have their own quasi-independent politics, their governors and some other officials are appointed by the Queen, Britain is responsible for their (supposedly) good governance. ...

"If this reassuring bedrock were removed, Jersey could still be a tax haven, but a more marginal one. When the Bahamas won full independence from Britain in 1973, its (then mostly criminal) financial sector decamped almost wholesale to the Cayman Islands, which remained a British overseas territory. If Jersey went it alone, its financial industry would be similarly devastated."



Link to Croydon Guardian

"Lawrence Hutchings, Hammerson’s managing director of UK retail, said:
"Our number one priority is Croydon. ... Croydon has been hamstrung by infighting for fifteen years. We want to work with the Whitgift Centre to create a shopping district to suit the character of Croydon.

"Our plan would keep a lot more [than Westfield’s proposal], but be unrecognisable to the existing Whitgift Centre."
Redevelopment rivals Westfield, backed by the Whitgfit Foundation, have stated they will spend £1bn on the site.

Link to:

The Independent: "Knowingly underpaid? John Lewis hit by cleaners' protest"

Link to web site

"Cleaners at the company's flagship store on London's Oxford Street are protesting against low pay, redundancies and cuts to hours, claiming they are being treated as 'second-class citizens'.

"Under its co-operative 'partnership' agreement, John Lewis's 70,000 employees all have a say in the running of the business and share profits. However, third-party employees are excluded from the model, and the company says it holds no sway in the cleaners' dispute as ICM is subcontracted through a facilities firm, MML, which looks after its premises.

"... Organiser Chris Ford said:
"John Lewis are engaged in rank hypocrisy. They can't say they know nothing about it, when they accepted the low bid for the tender."

The Guardian: "There is an alternative to neoliberalism that still understands the markets"

"It is better to accept a more modest but sustainable growth path than unregulated capitalism offers. But is there the will to do so?"

Hammerson's Brent Cross Vision (Yeah, right.)
Link to The Guardian
"Many fear that neoliberalism will never be defeated. They may be right, if their fears are that the interests sustaining the neoliberal system are too powerful. When they claim neoliberalism will prevail because there are no viable alternatives, however, they are quite wrong. The ideas are out there; they are widely understood and coherent; there are even good examples of them in action.

"... We know how to reduce the degree of leveraging in financial markets, how to tax the volume of transactions in those markets, how to protect banks' main holdings from speculative activity. Some of these things were being practised successfully before the wave of banking deregulation.

"We know that it is not true that tax havens and other loopholes make it impossible to monitor international financial transactions, because when the world's authorities wanted to check the flow of finances funding terrorism, they were able to move effectively. The means are not lacking, only the will."

Daily Telegraph: "Recovery still five years away, Mervyn King warns"

Link to web site

"Sir Mervyn King’s words, which pushed his earlier prediction for a full recovery back by three years, reflected the scale of problems in the eurozone as well as his fears for the global economy.

"Addressing MPs at the Treasury Select Committee , Sir Mervyn said:
"When this crisis began in 2007, most people did not believe we would still be here. I don’t think we’re yet half way through this. I’ve always said that and I’m still saying it. My estimate of how long it will take to recover is expanding all the time."

The Guardian: "Tax crackdowns threaten Channel Islands' haven status" (What, because of little old Hammerson and Brent Cross South? [Er, no.])

Link to The Guardian

"Five years ago, at its peak, the value of assets held through Jersey – its offshore banks, trusts and investment funds – was estimated at £700bn-£800bn, according to the island's former chief adviser Colin Powell. The figure is equivalent to about half of the UK's annual economic output.

"Finance dominates life in the Channel Islands, particularly Jersey and Guernsey, where it accounts for almost half of economic activity. The island capitals of St Helier and St Peter Port are dotted with familiar-named banks, many of them institutions that have survived only after bailouts from taxpayers elsewhere in the world.

"If the past five years of global financial turmoil have not entirely passed the islands by, they have left them relatively unscathed, even though the economic output of Jersey's financial sector has shrunk by almost a third."

Link to:

Andrew Dismore AM: "Developers can get away with almost anything in Barnet"

Link to Andrew Dismore web site

"... Last year, Barnet Council changed the rules for area forums, including forbidding planning concerns being raised by local residents, despite planning until then being one of the most featured subjects, reflecting the importance of the issue as affects local communities.

"...  developers know that they can get away with almost anything in Barnet, given how under-resourced planning enforcement is, and how risk averse Barnet is, when it comes to  challenging developers who have built without planning consent, or in breach of what they have been given."

Black Cab London: "Cabbie’s Curios: The Crown in Cricklewood"

Link to web site

"The current Crown pub was built in 1900. Planning permission for the new boozer cost £86,000; a staggering amount for the time.

"The developers were encouraged to fork out this huge sum because, although Cricklewood was a rapidly developing industrial district, magistrates had imposed a strict limit on licencing in the area. Consequently, The Crown was the only public house in Cricklewood at the time which was permitted to serve alcohol - it didn’t take a genius to realise that there were great profits to be made from such an arrangement!"


[Reposted] Hammerson - Westfield ding-dong: Westfield still keen

Link to Croydon Today

"John Burton, Westfield's director of development, said that ... its plans for a new Whitgift shopping centre would be submitted to Croydon council next month. Westfield is ... up against a rival operation involving ... Hammerson.

"Mr Burton remains confident that Westfield's commitment to investing £1 billion in Croydon, at a time when investment cash is in short supply, will eventually win the day."

BBC: "Figures paint 'bleak' city retail picture"

Link to BBC web site and iPlayer

"... Matthew Hopkinson, business development director with the Local Data Company, which compiled the figures for the BBC, said the data made bleak reading for Swansea:
"I can't see it getting any better, because Swansea is essentially a secondary centre, and we know these multiple retailers are drawing down into fewer locations and larger stores."
"Retail experts and Swansea council's new leader, David Phillips, agreed Swansea must go its own way and not 'replicate and provide the same experience that you are going to get [elsewhere]'.

"But he told the BBC that the authority had been working with major developer Hammerson, to provide a new shopping centre in the city."

The Guardian: "Jersey threatens to break with UK over tax backlash" (Impact on Hammerson at Brent Cross South unknown)

Link to The Guardian

"A barrage of regulatory clampdowns and political attacks on the Channel Islands' controversial financial industry has prompted one of Jersey's most senior politicians to call for preparations to be made to break the 'thrall of Whitehall', and declare independence from the UK.

"... In the face of ferocious political attack, Jersey is for the first time opening an office in London, and is frantically building lobbying contacts in Washington, in an effort to repair relations. 

"It has hired a top London public relations firm, Brunswick." ["Brunswick is an international corporate communications partnership that helps businesses and other organizations address critical communications challenges. We started in London in 1987, and have grown organically as a private partnership in 20 cities around the world."]

Link to:


Evening Standard: "MPs set their sights on ‘banana republic’ tax schemes"

"The art of taxation consists in so plucking the
[Brent] goose, as to obtain the largest possible amount of
feathers, with the smallest possible amount of hissing"
(Jean-Baptiste Colbert, 1619-1683)
Link to Evening Standard

"Margaret Hodge, chair of the Commons Public Accounts Committee, warned that MPs were determined to stop both individuals and corporations from avoiding tax.

"She said: 
"There are legitimate concerns about whether the state provides value for money, but these cannot justify individuals or companies seeking out wheezes designed simply to avoid paying their rightful contribution. Some of the practices highlighted by The Times wouldn’t look out of place in a banana republic." 

Just Fancy That...

Link to

Herbert Smith advises Hammerson on its sale of £518 million London office portfolio

Link to Herbert Smith
founded by Norman Herbert Smith
(and not Norman Stanley Fletcher)

"Herbert Smith has advised Hammerson as the lead legal advisor on the sale of the majority of its office portfolio to Brookfield Office Properties for aggregate cash proceeds of £518 million.

"Herbert Smith partner David Paterson commented:
"It was a big task – and took a big team – to deliver this complex portfolio, with assets in various structures, in a very short timescale. But we are delighted to have helped Hammerson successfully deliver the step change in strategic focus, especially in today's challenging markets."

Whatever the legality of meeting new EU 'cookie' regulations, by merely having a 'NEW COOKIE POLICY' heading on its web site, Herbert Smith has an extensive web page on the subject, which exceeds other mainstream commercial sites, in terms of detail. (Many sites still ignore the regulations completely.)


MoDA now on-line from Colindale

"This poster advertises mortgages available from the National Building Society in Moorgate, London and was produced in about 1935. The stylised illustration of a traditional looking house in leafy surroundings would have appealed to people seeking the healthier suburban lifestyle promoted by developers in the 1930s."


" The Museum of Domestic Design & Architecture (MoDA) is part of Middlesex University in Colindale.

"MoDA's collections are available Online, On Tour and On Request.

"The collections include wallpapers, textiles, designs, books, catalogues and magazines from the late nineteenth to the early twentieth century.  They are a great resource if you are interested in the history of domestic interiors, or if you are looking for visual inspiration for creative projects. You can search the collections online here."

The Guardian: "Leyton 'like a village again' after council makeover"

Link to web site

"The pavements have come up, and the old plastic shop signs have come down. Flower baskets have broken out like a rash. The handsome Edwardian library now lights up at night – 'changing coloured lights!' Solomons said in wonder. The scuffed black facade of the locksmiths goes next week: Plaha showed with pride the architect's designs for a bottle-green traditional cornershop front, as smart as any West End wine bar.

"The Olympics authority did the pavements and street furniture, and the council spent £475,000, from the government's Working Neighbourhoods fund, completely restoring the facades of 41 shops, jetwashing Victorian brick, restoring or replacing traditional features, and excavating stucco decoration and marble columns from under layers of plastic and chip-board."

The National: "London builds on its strengths"

Link to 'thenational.ae'

"London's commercial property community is confused.

"... Mike McGuinness, the development director at the retail property company Hammerson, pointed out that property had unique qualities:
"People get a kick out of owning an object. It's emotional. And only London [in the United Kingdom] has the signature buildings that people want."

LegalWeek: "UK quartet line up on Hammerson’s £518m City commercial property sale"

Link to LegalWeek

"Herbert Smith, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Clifford Chance (CC) and Nabarro have all taken roles on Hammerson’s £518m sale of its London commercial property portfolio to Canadian investor Brookfield.

"... Hammerson said it would use the proceeds from the sell-off to invest in retail developments and acquisitions, as well as a number of extension and refurbishment projects in its UK retail parks, adding that it had identified projects worth £320m."

(No connection)

(No, it's nothing; big society and all that.)

"Hoax Emails"
"We have been made aware of unsolicited emails that have been sent to members of the general public from individuals claiming to be from Nabarro LLP. The emails, which come from private email accounts, say that the recipient is a beneficiary of some money under a will, or that the recipient's assistance is needed to obtain some funds. They may ask for confidential information, such as dates of birth or bank details. These emails do not come from Nabarro LLP, and should be deleted.

"We have also seen evidence that Nabarro LLP's logo has been used on legal documents and correspondence, regarding matters in which this firm has no involvement.

"If you have any doubts about the authenticity of emails, or any other document, which purport to be from Nabarro, please send them to info@nabarro.com so that they can be verified."

Nabarro Nathanson (as then named) has been criticised for the level of fees which it allegedly received, in connection with the insolvency of Mirror Group Newspapers.
"The court case of Mirror Group Newspapers plc v Maxwell and Others [1998] BCC 324 provided new insights into insolvency fees. The case centred on the fees charged by the receivers appointed to pursue just some of the Maxwell assets. The court noted that the insolvency practitioners charged fees of £1.63 million for realising assets of £1.67 million, leaving only £44,000 for the victims of Maxwell frauds.
Net assets realised (estimated): £1,672,500 (100.00%)
Fees charged by Nabarro Nathanson: £705,823
Fees charged by Buchler Phillips: £744,289
Other disbursements: £179,000
Total: £1,628,572 (97.40%)
Available to stakeholders: £43,928 (2.60%)
"The scale of the fees prompted the following comments from Mr. Justice Ferris:
"... the amounts [i.e. the receiver’s fees] involved are very substantial indeed, both in absolute terms and in relation to the value of the assets got in as part of the estate. ... I cannot escape saying that I find them profoundly shocking.

If the amounts claimed are allowed in full, this receivership will have produced substantial rewards for the receivers and their lawyers, and nothing at all for creditors of the estate. I find it shameful."

The Guardian: "The £705,000 'affordable' home"

"Some housing associations are stretching the meaning of 'affordable home' to the limit" 

Link to web site

"In a busy road sandwiched between the office blocks of the City of London and the bijou streets of Islington lies what housing association One Housing Group calls a 'calm home base where you can recharge the batteries'. 

"... The biggest of the apartments, with a floor space less than the standard three-bed semi but without a garden, are [sic] on sale for between £695,000 and £705,000. It is, probably, the most expensive ever new-build offered by a housing association, yet it still meets the official criteria used to describe 'affordable' – and qualify for taxpayer support."


BCSC: "Assessing Community Value Of Regeneration"

Link to 'Business in the Community'

"Investment in town centres and high streets plays a crucial role in building healthy, successful and inclusive towns and cities, and sustainable development must be at the heart of any investment strategy.

"The concept of an environmental footprint is now well understood. What is less understood, but just as instantly recognisable, are the socio-economic impacts that investment can deliver. The retail and property industries are uniquely positioned to achieve commercial success while delivering and creating benefits for local communities, including the most disadvantaged.

"The Government‟s new National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) reinforces this, as it promotes a 'presumption in favour of sustainable development' as part of its commitment to economic growth. It also continues the focus on revitalising town centres.

"Underpinning both of these key areas of planning policy is how development can be – as part of a larger strategy – a catalyst for delivering a wider range of economic and social benefits. [Not at Brent Cross, it ain't.]

"Yet it can be difficult to know exactly what the socio-economic benefits of such developments are, and how they can be assessed. It can become a subjective matter of great debate between stakeholders, from 'it will bring hundreds of jobs' [is that net, in the retail industry overall, in the whole wider area?] to 'it will kill the high street' with the positive and negative impacts judged on an anecdotal level."

Link to web site
See also (although not in regard to Brent Cross):
"'Under-served Markets: Retail and Regeneration' examines retail-led regeneration, offers a practical guide for the retail and property sector as well as local authorities.

"The report draws out lessons learnt by the Under-served Markets pilot programme, and examines the potential challenges and solutions to retail-led regeneration. It also contains guidance on the role that planning policy plays in retail-led regeneration."  (2007)

Bloomberg: "Hammerson Investors See $814 Million Disposal Fueling Purchases"

Link to web site

"Hammerson Plc (HMSO)’s 518 million-pound ($814 million) sale of most of its London office buildings makes acquisitions easier and accelerates its transformation into a specialist retail-property investor, according to one of the U.K. company’s largest shareholders. 

"...  Chief Executive Officer David Atkins said:
"We have huge firepower. [Diminished bank lending and a lackluster economic outlook] will give rise to interesting opportunities that we are in a good position to exploit with our liquidity."

Improvements to Brent Cross shopping centre to Underground station route not announced

Actually, this is Cumbernauld.
Link to the contractor's web site

"Craiglinn Underpass, Cumbernauld, Scotland"

“The design demonstrates a great way to take city spaces and turn them into 21st Century places as the colourful lighting transitions completely transform the atmosphere throughout the day. The LED lighting changes include orange hues for early sunset, pink hues for late sunset, purple hues for twilight, and blue hues for the duration of the night and the stunning environment is completed with starlight effects and a 'river' of light that is projected onto the ground.” Inhabitat

"North Lanarkshire Council commissioned Bigg Design and Zero-Waste Design to deliver an exciting project that saw the regeneration of an underpass in Cumbernauld with stunning lighting and mural designs.

"Working with local school pupils and engaging with members of the community, we developed a design that transforms the experience of using the underpass (previously a dark, intimidating area subject to vandalism) into an inspiring, unique journey that feels bright, airy and welcoming.

"Murals on the underpass walls celebrate scenes from the local landscape of Cumbernauld and include a mixture of people, parks, wildlife, and architecture, whilst the LED lighting slowly changes hue over the course of the night to symbolise the colourful lighting transitions from day to night to day. A large group of pupils were involved in the creation of the mural, which has enabled them to have a sense of ownership of the space that they pass on their daily journey to school.

"Energy efficiency was a key priority and through the use of innovative lighting, the whole underpass only consumes the equivalent of 6 typical domestic incandescent light bulbs. Carbon emissions were further reduced by specifying aluminium housings (a readily recycled and recyclable material); and using local manufacturers (LEDtek and Scott Associates) which also stimulated local economic activity."


Oxford Mail: "Hammerson's Orchard plans delayed again"

Link to 'Oxford Mail' above, or to Orchard Centre

"PLANS for a £125m extension to Didcot’s Orchard shopping centre have been delayed for a second time.

"... At first, Hammerson said it would submit a planning application by the end of that year, but then delayed the application after admitting that economic times were 'tough'.

"In December 2011, it pledged that plans would be lodged this spring."

Goldman Sachs, Hammerson, conviction

Link to web site
(subscription available)

"News Headline Summary"

(UK Equities)

"Goldman Sachs removes Hammerson (HMSO LN) from pan-European conviction buy-list."

"RANsquawk provides real-time audio news and commentary for equity, fixed income, FX and energy markets.

"Set up by co-founders Ranvir Singh and Matthew Cheung in 2005, RANsquawk has a team of 10 professional analysts who will act as your eyes and ears on the markets.

"... We will be your eyes and ears so you can spend your time trading/broking. We also speak to journalists, traders, brokers and analysts keeping our fingers on the pulse of the market looking for market rumours, flows and breaking stories."

Dollis Hill councillor demands answers on Brent Cross Shopping Centre ‘secret deal’

Alison Hopkins (centre background) worked with the late councillor Alec Castle, and Sarah Teather MP, on the Brent Cross planning application

"Dollis Hill Liberal Democrat councillor Alison Hopkins has demanded that the Mayor of London comes clean on whether he is preparing to do a secret deal that could result in a massive and virtually uncontrolled expansion of Brent Cross shopping centre.

"A recent newspaper report has linked the Conservative MP for Croydon Central, Gavin Barwell, with suggestions that Boris Johnson could permit Brent Cross shopping centre to double in size. The deal is said to involve Hammerson withdrawing plans for a development in Croydon in return for Boris Johnson relaxing conditions associated with the planned Brent Cross expansion. The Croydon MP is due to meet the Mayor later this month.

"The losers would be local residents in Brent, who would lose what little protection the existing conditions provide and suffer from the congestion and pollution caused by thousands of extra cars on local roads each day.

"Councillor Hopkins, who has a long record of campaigning with the Coalition for a Sustainable Brent Cross Cricklewood Development, said:
"It is crucial that Boris Johnson clarifies his position and makes public the content of his discussions with Croydon MP Gavin Barwell. Brent residents deserve better than to be the collateral damage of a stitch-up designed to spare Conservative blushes in Croydon."

"Cllr Hopkins has written to the Mayor of London, and briefed Liberal Democrat members of the London Assembly."

Evening Standard: "London comes top… for traffic congestion"

Link to Evening Standard

"Only three European countries have worse rush-hour traffic congestion than the UK, according to new figures.

"London, Manchester and Liverpool were all among the most congested cities in Europe last year, statistics from traffic information company INRIX showed."


"Men’s grooming is getting serious, as a new realm of award-winning hairdressing has been launched, coated in a masculine atmosphere. Founded on classic barbering skills that outdo the rest, North-West London has become the place to go for Men ‘in the know’.

"Recognising the need for a male-specific salon that offers personalised service and precision cutting, this month has seen the opening of a new breed in Men’s grooming, with the launch of exclusive men’s grooming salon, HOB Man. 

Men's Grooming Heads For Excellence

"The 24th salon for this award-winning group, HOB Man is the first solely men’s branch, and the 12th Franchise branch to launch in the group. Opened by expert Barber Adam Carvin, a team of the very best in gent’s styling have been hand-picked by the HOB Man Franchisee to ensure only the most premium of service and male grooming is delivered consistently. 

"Renowned for his men’s cutting expertise and barbering skills, Adam will head up the highly-trained team who will be on hand to deliver the ultimate in Men’s grooming in the North-West London institution of Brent Cross Shopping Centre.

"Open 7 days a week, HOB Man is now a place for men to indulge in a range of tailored services, including Men’s Cut and Finish and brush-on colour services, through to bespoke men’s treatments and the classic Hot Towel Shave.

"The contemporary salon, which is located on the upper mall, with a prime location outside Boots and Marks & Spencer, emulates the atmosphere of a barber’s in high-end luxury salon surroundings, in keeping with the HOB brand. Housing ten styling stations accompanied by ten backwash sections, clients can relax, knowing they are in the hands of true masters in their field.

"Speaking on the new opening, HOB Salons Director Paul Simbler expressed:
"We are all very excited about the opening of HOB Man. We have always catered to Men’s styling, but have seen a big change in the male market and see a demand for a dedicated grooming experience too. The launch of HOB Man does just that, offering every man a place to relax in the hands of barbering experts, with the addition of added luxury services such as a Hot Towel Shave."
"HOB Man Franchisee Adam Carvin, who brings nearly 30 years of experience to the new Brent Cross salon, said:
"I couldn't wait to open our HOB Man doors last Friday! This launch introduces gents to a new level in men’s grooming, and really give guys the chance to feel pampered with luxury service and impeccable barbering."
"Want to experience a new realm in men’s hairdressing? Groom yourself this month with a visit to HOB Man, and celebrate the opening with an exclusive offer of a Cut, Finish and Hot Towel Shave for only £30.00 (RRP £47.00) for a limited time."

HOB Man, Brent Cross Shopping Centre, London, NW4 3FP | T: 020 8202 0440


CroydonGate: The next steps

"Legal wrangle in UK threatens IBRC's shopping mall stake"

Link to web site

"The increasingly bitter dispute over Croydon's Whitgift Shopping Centre could mean that the Irish taxpayer-owned bank's stake in a proposed €1.25bn redevelopment will be compulsorily bought by local authorities.

What would
Father Dougal do?
"... Last November, Australian retail giant Westfield Group said it had secured a binding agreement with the Whitgift Foundation to develop the site.

"CPO would be an
"However, IBRC and Royal London Asset Management - which together control 75pc of the leasehold - signed up rival developer Hammerson as the preferred developer."

Hammerson: "Sale of London Office Assets"

"Hammerson is pleased to announce that it has exchanged contracts for the sale of the majority of its office portfolio to Brookfield Office Properties for aggregate cash proceeds of £518 million.

"... The proceeds will be used to increase scale and focus through investment in retail developments and acquisitions in Hammerson’s three chosen areas:
  • Prime regional shopping centres. Hammerson is on site at Les Terrasses du Port, Marseille, a £400 million retail and leisure scheme which is on track to open in spring 2014, and is refurbishing Queensgate, Peterborough. Hammerson is making good progress with a number of its other major retail schemes in both the UK and France.
  • Convenient retail parks. Hammerson plans to accelerate extension and refurbishment projects in its UK retail parks and smaller retail schemes. Hammerson has identified projects worth £320 million which show an average yield on cost in excess of 7.5%, and has recently commenced construction at Monument Mall, Newcastle, and Manor Walks, Cramlington.
  • Premium designer outlets. Hammerson has an investment in the highly successful Value Retail business which owns premier outlet villages in nine of Europe’s main cities. Having secured an additional stake in December 2011, Hammerson retains a close dialogue with the management team and believes there will be opportunities for further future investment.

"David Atkins, Chief Executive of Hammerson said:
“In our strategic review announced earlier this year we identified the opportunity to enhance returns by focusing our energy and capital on the successful sectors of retail which cater to consumers’ increasing desire for experience, convenience and value. [sic]

I’m delighted that we have been able to achieve our goal of becoming a pure retail business earlier than anticipated by arranging a single transaction for the majority of our London offices which secures excellent value for shareholders.

I am confident that at this point in the cycle we can reinvest successfully to increase scale in our three chosen areas of prime shopping centres, convenient retail parks and premium designer outlets.”