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


[Reposted from 2 May] Ham and High: Regenerating the High Street

PublicInterestDesign: "Architecture for the people, by the people"

Link to web site and video

"One of our absolute favorite talks from TED2013 in Long Beach, earlier this year, was by UK architect Alastair Parvin, co-founder of WikiHouse. His talk, titled 'Architecture for the people, by the people', was among the first to earn a standing ovation at this year’s TED, and you need only watch it to understand why.

"It is one of the most compelling cases for returning design to its rightful place in the public domain. And we simply can’t recommend it highly enough:
"This is the paradox for architecture: As a society, we’ve never needed design thinking more, and yet architecture is literally becoming unemployed. It strikes me that we talk very deeply about design, but actually there’s an economics behind architecture that we don’t talk about, and I think we need to…

The uncomfortable fact is that actually almost everything that we call architecture today is the business of designing for the richest one percent of the world’s population."

[Reposted from Dec 2012] The other side of cheap clothing from Brent Cross stores

"Horrific Fire Revealed a Gap in Safety for Global Brands"

Link to New York Times

"ASHULIA, Bangladesh: In all, 112 workers were killed in a blaze last month, that has exposed a glaring disconnect among global clothing brands, the monitoring system used to protect workers and the factories actually filling the orders. 

"After the fire, Walmart, Sears and other retailers made the same startling admission: They say they did not know that Tazreen Fashions was making their clothing.

"... In reconstructing the deadly blaze, The New York Times interviewed more than two dozen survivors; relatives of the victims; Bangladeshi fire officials; garment factory owners and managers; auditors; and others. In the end, analysts said, the conflagration was a tragic byproduct of an industry in which global brands and retailers, encouraged by hundreds of millions of consumers around the world, are still primarily motivated by the bottom line.

"Richard M. Locke, deputy dean of the M.I.T. Sloan School of Management, said:
"We as consumers like to be able to buy ever-greater quantities of ever-cheaper goods, every year. Somebody is bearing the cost of it, and we don’t want to know about it. The people bearing the cost were in this fire."

Link to:


Richard Cornelius: "Planning and building control contract will be joint venture"

Link to Barnet Press

"BARNET Council is now moving towards making the decision to get a contractor to provide the bulk of planning and building control work.

"This will save the taxpayer a lot of money and also give the staff a proper career structure. A larger organisation will provide the opportunities for promotion that will be missing in the public sector as any remaining fat is peeled away by expenditure cuts.

"We are proposing that the contracting organisation will be a joint venture so that if there is other business that can be picked up by the new venture from different councils, the profits can be shared with the taxpayer."

Link to

GOOD NEWS ON HOUSE PRICES: ITV: "YouGov: House price changes will 'surprise' Londoners"

Link to web site

"A lot of people will be 'caught by surprise' in terms of rising house prices in the capital, YouGov's Director of Political and Social Research said today.

"Commenting on the new poll, which reveals that an overwhelming majority of Londoners believe that house prices will go up, Joe Twyman said:
"It doesn’t matter if you’re talking about the next year or the next five years, overwhelmingly Londoners believe that house prices will continue to rise in the capital, and that their own house will also increase in value.

If house prices are a bubble, a lot of people are going to be caught by surprise when it bursts."

Re-engineering a major road (in this case, in Manchester)


Daily Telegraph: "The real reason our shops are shutting up" (Brent Cross?)

Link to web site

"Another day, another report on the death of the high street. According to the Centre for Retail Research, the number of shops in Britain is predicted to fall by more than a fifth by 2018, blighting our town centres and suburban malls with a further 60,000 boarded-up stores. We are, it says, facing a 'crisis'.

"... Certainly, the web has its part to play, as does the flatlining state of consumer spending. Yet according to retailers themselves, the biggest single reason why so many shops are closing down is because of rising financial demands from government, in the form of business taxes, and from landlords, in the form of rent."

Saving Our Welsh Harp - from Barnet Council

A new illustrated history of the Welsh Harp Reservoir, written by Wembley History Society member Philip Grant for Brent Archives, is available on the 'Save the Welsh Harp' web site.

Click to enlarge

 "The 1873 map shows the Brent Reservoir when it extended that far
(the water would have covered much of the present day
Brent Cross Shopping Centre, and Sainsbury’s at West Hendon
on the northern arm)."

"Recent decades have seen increasing pressure for development, and the Welsh Harp Conservation Group [link below] was set up in 1972 to look after the reservoir and areas around it. The Group has undertaken practical work to improve habitats, encouraging a wide variety of birds and other wildlife to visit.
"Their work has helped to highlight how valuable the reservoir is for both people and the natural environment, but there are still big challenges ahead, to stop inappropriate schemes such as the proposed waterside high-rise flats in West Hendon."

Link to
'Welsh Harp Conservation Group'

Link to WHCG 2012 report

Planning Law Blog: "Outsourcing services – the Barnet case"

Link to web site

1 May 2013

"Readers may be aware of the recent High Court decision in R (Nash) v. Barnet LBC [2013] EWHC 1067 (Admin), in which a challenge to the outsourcing of various functions and services, including a number of the council’s regulatory functions (such as development management) was dismissed.

"... I do not know the details of the agreement Barnet LBC has reached with Crapita (as Private Eye always calls them), and it seems that the council successfully kept the agreement under wraps in the recent High Court proceedings on the grounds of commercial confidentiality, but the extent to which the development management process has been delegated to this contractor in Barnet may well come in for scrutiny, and if the extent of that delegation goes too far ..., we may yet see a successful legal challenge to Barnet’s outsourcing scheme."


"Top tips: how we can make cycling more of a priority in the UK"

Link to The Guardian

"The latest National Travel Survey published by the Department for Transport showed that while the number of cycling trips per person per year has declined, the miles travelled per person has gone up. This decline in the number of shorter journeys made by bike has coincided with a lack of interest and the downgrading of cycling by central and local government.

"While we are now seeing a huge media and political interest in the socio-economic and environmental values of cycling, not much is being done practically to make the road systems more bike-friendly – particularly in towns. The transport system instead encourages us to stay in cars, creating greater levels of obesity.

"The question to be answered is: why has Britain achieved so little in encouraging cyclists?"

GOOD NEWS ON HOUSE PRICES: "Wonder why you can't get on the property ladder? Because agents are no longer interested in selling to YOU"

Link to Evening Standard

"Alex Weekes, 26, was until last year an agent at the firm, Ludlow Thompson — a major property player which claims to have let and sold £1 billion worth of property in London in 2012. Buyers chasing popular properties have long suspected that they are being outfaced by wealthy investors for the homes  they want. But Weekes’s story, and investigations by the Standard, can reveal that agents have responded to the booming rental market by making investment buyers a conscious priority over ordinary buyers looking to own and occupy.

Weekes said:
“They showed us why it is better to sell to landlords who you can then rent the flats or houses for. The idea was that we would manage the property, which gets higher fees and means we know when it is going on the market again. It worked really well, I know that there were more properties to instruct.”

Sky: "Internet Shopping To Hit High Street Hard"

"One in five shops across Britain may shut down over the next five years, warns the Centre for Retail Research"

Link to web site

"One in five of Britain's high street shops could close by 2018 as more customers turn to the internet for their shopping, new research has found.

"A study carried out by the Centre for Retail Research warned that 62,000 shops could fold in the next five years.

"The independent retail analysis group estimates that around 316,000 workers would lose their jobs as a result, and large areas of Britain's high streets would be turned into housing."


Planning+Regeneration: "Capita picked for Barnet planning and regeneration contract"

Barnet's leader Richard Cornelius
Link to Planning+Regeneration

"Professional services firm Capita has been announced by the London Borough of Barnet as its preferred bidder to jointly run its planning and regeneration services.

"Capita said its property and infrastructure business would jointly provide Barnet’s development and regulatory services with the authority, including planning, highways management, regeneration, environmental health and trading standards.

"In a statement, the Tory-run council said that staffing of the services will be kept 'at broadly the current level'.

"The 10-year contract is worth £154 million and begins on 1 October, subject to approval by the council’s cabinet on 24 June."


"Ethical shopping: how the high street fashion stores rate"

"Last month's factory collapse in Bangladesh revealed horrible truths about the clothes industry. There has never been a better time to choose your shopping carefully"

Link to The Guardian

"On 24 April, when the Rana Plaza factory complex on the outskirts of Dhaka fell down like a house of cards killing 1,127 workers, the fashion myth that we can have whatever we want, at speed, in bulk and at unprecedentedly 'affordable' prices collapsed too.

In case you have been on the moon, it's worth a recap on the consumer style phenomenon known as fast fashion. A business model that threw out the fashion industry bible, it turned six-month lead times into days, and got us hooked on 30-50 seasons a year (the quaint autumn/winter and spring/summer showings of fashion weeks are now as culturally relevant as Gregorian plainsong).

"Allied to globalisation and free-market economics, fast fashion brands and retailers have outsourced production to low-waged economies, predominantly in Asia."


BBC: "Why the war between drivers and cyclists?"

Link to web site

"A motorist's tweet, boasting about hitting a cyclist, created uproar when it went viral. What does it reveal about the battle on the UK's roads?

"Toby Hockley was on the 100-mile Boudicca Sportive ride in Norfolk when he says he was struck by a car and flung into a hedge. The driver didn't stop. Hockley emerged from the hedge, sore but intact.

"It sounds like a run-of-the-mill depressing incident from the UK's roads. But the shocking part came later.

"A young woman tweeted:
"Definitely knocked a cyclist off his bike earlier. I have right of way - he doesn't even pay road tax! #Bloodycyclists"


"The London Overground: a fast track to property profit"

Link to Daily Telegraph
"The Overground was completed towards the end of last year, when Surrey Quays and Queen's Road Peckham were linked to Clapham Junction. The £76m project, which created a new orbital, was the final stage in a process that has seen London's rail routes rebranded and radically improved over the past six years. 

"Where there used to be many different lines, there is now one clearly defined service. Trains around the orbital, and on its arms to places such as Richmond, Stratford and West Croydon, are more frequent and more comfortable. Property investors are taking notice.

"Historically, it has been easy to cross London from north to south or east to west, but much harder to get around the corners, as anyone who has tried to get from Queen's Park to Islington, or Clapham to Canary Wharf will know all too well. Although the change might have slipped under many Londoners' radar, those in the know are fully aware of how significant the new line is."


Could Hammerson's Brent Cross Cricklewood scheme win the 'Carbuncle Cup' for Barnet?

Link to The Guardian

"Architecture is one of the most awarded professions around.

"There are awards for young architects, medals for old architects, prizes for small projects and trophies for tall buildings. There are awards for landscaping and lighting, urbanism and public space, as well as for the use of wood and concrete, tiles and bricks. The phrase 'award-winning architect' has never been so meaningless.

"But there is one prize that the profession does its best to avoid winning. The Carbuncle Cup, for the ugliest building of the year, was launched by Building Design magazine in 2006, 'for crimes against architecture'. It is to the Stirling prize what the Razzies are to the Oscars, a prize to call out the worst offenders in the built environment – from overblown 'iconic' gestures to that grim retail shed (or is it a school?) on your street.

"Over the past seven years, the Carbuncle Cup has been awarded to shopping centres and housing blocks, hotels and office complexes..."

New Brent Cross bus station

[Reposted from July 2012] Croydon Guardian: "Hammerson are historically useless at consultation, at least according to residents around Brent Cross in north London"

(Updated: now shows all comments)

(Westfield's recent Whitgift Centre consultation)
Link to Croydon Guardian

"... Westfield's development director may earn shovelfuls, but at least he has been on the Westfield Whitgift stand, putting the hours in.

"No-one from Hammerson ever showed up at Brent Cross, and it was left to unknowledgeable PR company drones."


The Independent: "We can't turn back the online shopping tide, but we can change the way we think about high streets"

Link to web site

"For more and more people these days, the idea of retail therapy doesn't entail leaving the house.

"No public transport, no car journey, no search for a parking space, and no need to walk up and down the high street in all kinds of weather. Online shopping is just one of the reasons why actual, real-life, bricks-and-mortar retailing in the towns and cities of Britain is currently in crisis.

"The economy, notwithstanding what George Osborne may want us to believe, is another. Plus soaring levels of rents and rates. The never-ending winter has also had an effect.

"And then there are the out-of-town supermarkets, driving traffic from the high street. Whatever the combination of causes, the stark fact is that the number of empty shops in Britain's high streets or malls is higher than it has ever been.

"Across the UK, an average of one shop in eight now lies empty: in some areas, it is much more."

The Guardian:
"Empty shops hit record high, retail study shows"

"Is the government planning to cut funding to bicycle infrastructure before it's even started funding anything in the first place?" (Let's ask Boris the Oberb├╝rgermeister!)

Link to Cycling in the City

"Germany's main TV station came to London last week and devoted a whole section of its main daily news programme to cycling in London. What was the title of this TV feature? The ARD television people looked at how London's cyclists get to work and called it 'transport chaos in London'. Kind of says it all, really, doesn't it?

"Unsurprisingly, the news clip is in German. But I think it's worth watching, just to see the video selections that ARD chooses. And what I think is really interesting are the themes that the German TV crew pick out as being interesting about London. I've tried to summarise those points below, because I think it's really informative to have a look at what London looks like from the outside. 

"Bear in mind that Germany, although not nirvana for cycling, is literally decades ahead of the UK on this stuff. The German government is hosting its national cycling summit this week. Can you imagine the UK government hosting a cycling summit?"

"As London announces its own massive investment
in cycling, Berlin takes things even further, and
aims for 20% of all journeys by bike by 2025.

"Oh, and a riposte to Eric Pickles MP, who thinks
'cyclists' wear 'rubber knickers'."

"City of London agrees a strategy at Bank junction
that could see Lombard & Threadneedle Streets
closed to motor vehicles.

"The Square Mile shows it's prepared to pull its finger out
for pedestrians, and for people on bikes, and
(at last!) acknowledges road narrowing schemes
are bad news for safe cycling."

Hammerson and Standard Life Investments announce new Brent Cross Shopping Centre light-rail station: "Only the Best Will Do" says David Atkins

The station, and front of new John Lewis store, Brent Cross

"GOOD NEWS ON HOUSE PRICES": Average London house price rockets past £500,000

Link to The Guardian

"New figures showing that the average asking price for a home in London has risen to more than £500,000 for the first time could add to fears of a new house price bubble being fuelled by cheap mortgages and government schemes to boost the market.

"... Rightmove's data comes days after the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) said funding for lending and the 'help to buy' initiative announced in the March budget were responsible for a strong pickup in demand for residential property that was not yet matched by an increase in the supply of homes to buy.

"... Miles Shipside at Rightmove said that one problem was that new seller numbers were down by 5% in 2013 compared with last year, which was fuelling demand. Meanwhile, some fortunate buyers had benefited from financial assistance from parents and other family members. Rightmove said the 'Bank of Mum and Dad' was supporting more than one in three of London's first-time buyers."

Link to Evening Standard:


"Pickles looks to limit town centre parking fares"

Link to LocalGov.co.uk

"Communities secretary Eric Pickles has called on councils to follow new guidance and promote free parking in town centres.

"According to a report in the Daily Mail, the Department for Communities and Local Government is considering plans to include limits on how much councils can levy, and so-called ‘grace periods’ on parking spaces, for quick trips to town centres.

"The news follows the Portas review last year, which called on local authorities to offer free parking to incentivise economic growth in town centres."

[Reposted] Hammerson, Standard Life and Transport for London announce spiffing new Finchley - Brent Crawse bus service

Link to:

Hammerson: Why do they keep 'appointmenting' the useless and incompetent?"

And click above for another example
of Hammerson's stupidity

Jenny Jones AM: City Hall Green Party opposes West Hendon / Welsh Harp scheme

Welsh Harp Letter From Jenny Jones AM

Evening Standard: "Property: Recovery arrives but it’s too late for a punt"

Link to web site

"Hooray! The five-year commercial property recession has ended.

Britain’s top two property companies this week reported solid results for 12 months to March. Far more important for market confidence are the huge commitments to speculative development given by Rob Noel of Land Securities and Chris Grigg of British Land.

LandSecs promised £384 million towards a £768 million speculative development in Victoria. Grigg said he 'would be disappointed if we don’t spend £500 million by the end of the year' when he announced profits up 1.9% to £279 million on the company’s £10.5 billion of assets. Time to take a punt on the shares in the real estate investment trust sector?"


WEST HENDON / WELSH HARP: Wembley Observer, Barnet Press, and Brent & Kilburn Times

Brown is the New Black, at M&S Brent Cross

Link to WB Projects web site

M&S Brent Cross
Client: Marks and Spencer
Project: Store refurbishment, 59,000 sq ft
Programme: 16 weeks
The refurbishment of the M&S store at Brent Cross shopping centre involved work to the Food Hall, the general merchandise area and the installation of new plant of the roof. New flooring to foods and the first floor, substantial redecorations and refurbished customer fitting rooms were also part of the scope together with the latest “Hot Food To Go” offer.

Asbestos containing materials were present in the store and WB succcesfully managed the safe removal and handling of these.

Westfield Croydon moves on for Hammerson

"Hammersfield choose architects for Croydon’s re-design"
Link to 'Inside Croydon'

"The architects selected to redesign the Whitgift Centre and Centrale were named today as London firms Allies and Morrison and Leonard Design Architects, as a brief news story in Property Week suggested that the joint scheme between developers Hammerson and Westfield now carries a £1.5 billion price tag – a cool 50 per cent hike since Boris Johnson claimed credit for sealing the deal as recently as January.

"... Given the effective merger of the current Whitgift and Centrale centres, speculation is gathering over what name will be given to the development, with some smart money going on “Westfield Croydon”, though here at Inside Croydon Towers, we think Hammersfield has a special ring to it."

"Brent Council’s civic centre to open its door to the public next month"

Link to Brent & Kilburn Times

"Brent Council will open the doors of their new £100million civic centre to the public for the first time next month.

The borough’s customer services and registrar services will be the first two departments to welcome visitors into the landmark building on 10 June. Wembley Library will open a week later.

The development on Engineers Way, Wembley, which will be the greenest building in the UK [BREEAM level "Outstanding", two levels above the Met. Police's new Peel Centre buildings, in Hendon, thanks to useless Barnet council] and will house the council’s civic, public and administrative functions under one roof."

"Thousands of jobs to be created as Olympic media centre is sold"

Link to Evening Standard

"Boris Johnson today claimed the legacy of the Olympic Park had been secured, as he announced a deal to take the £300 million media centre off taxpayers’ hands, and the creation of thousands of jobs.

"... Speaking at the Olympic Park today, the Mayor, who installed himself as chairman of the London Legacy Development Corporation shortly after the Games, said:
"It is fantastic news that the final piece of the Olympic venues jigsaw puzzle has been put in place.

With the future of eight out of eight permanent venues secure, London has delivered on part of the Olympic legacy. iCITY is the final jewel in the crown of the park, and is a digital hub that will employ thousands of people."


"Stonegrove Estate Barnet resident worried she will have 'nowhere to go' when home is bulldozed" (Shades of Things to Come, for Brent Cross Whitefield Estate?)

Link to web site
"An Edgware woman is worried she will have nowhere to go, when her block of flats is bulldozed during the regeneration of her estate.

"Sarahellen Warren, who has lived on the Stonegrove Estate in Edgware for over 20 years, claims she has been overlooked by Barnet Borough Council and Barratt Homes, after other leaseholders were offered houses in the new development. 

"She said:
"I have lived on the estate all my adult life, and have had to deal with the fact I’m going to lose my home. I have been a leaseholder for 20 years, but I have not been offered the option of moving into a flat into one of the new buildings going up."

Link to Barnet Times:

"Strewth Cobber, That's Fair Dinkum, Sheila" (Expanded Light Rail Plan)

"The new NSW Transport Minister has offered her vision for a better rail system for Sydney."

New York Times:

BBC video: "Shop found frozen in time"

A boarded-up shop in Lancashire was found to have been left
in exactly the same state as when it stopped trading
more than 40 years ago.


"Mayor's cycle vision for London, and bus subsidies, face cuts"

Link to Evening Standard

"Transport chiefs are drawing up plans to axe parts of the Mayor’s £913 million cycling revolution over the next decade, amid concerns of government spending cuts of up to 30 per cent.

Plans for a cyclists’ segregated super highway running through central London and major upgrades to road junctions to improve safety could be drastically reduced.

"... Also considered at risk is an extra £1.8 billion on road improvements over the next decade and a £300 million fund to fast-track transport projects that create jobs and homes in deprived areas."

'CROSSRAIL TWO' to Alexandra Palace

"Boris Johnson visited Wimbledon today, to launch a multi-billion pound plan to bring Crossrail 2 to South-West London. He chatted to locals about the second phase of the project, which would see Wimbledon connected to Seven Sisters, via Tooting and Clapham Junction."

Not to mention: 

Transport for London
Consultation opens on proposed routes for Crossrail 2

"The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson said:
'Crossrail is set to revolutionise travel in the Capital, and with a predicted 10 million people expected to be living in London by 2031, pressing ahead with the next stage of the plan, Crossrail 2, is quite simply essential.

In order to support this great Capital's bright future, we need to think ahead and not wait until our transport arteries are clogged up and restricting jobs and growth.

That's why I am sending out a rallying cry for the public's support for this consultation - come and share your views so we can progress with Crossrail 2 as soon as possible."
"The consultation will seek the views of people in London and the southeast of England, and will run from 14 May to 2 August 2013."

Link to consultation web site

London Assembly
"Crossrail 2 examined by Assembly as new consultation launched"
14 May 2013 (link)

"The London Assembly today welcomed the launch of a joint consultation by TfL and Network Rail that will examine the case for Crossrail 2.

"The Assembly’s Transport Committee will question transport experts on Crossrail 2 at its next committee meeting (21 May). It will focus on how Crossrail 2 could best meet London’s future transport needs, including tackling growing passenger numbers, the advantages and disadvantages of the proposed routes for Crossrail 2, securing funding and completion dates for the project."

Site of Barnet-Barrett's Welsh Harp Tower Blocks



"If you do just ONE thing this weekend, [and Monday] apart from football, gardening, clubbing, drinking, eating, and amusing the kids, THEN make it submitting an objection to the Barratt Homes planning application to vandalise the wonderful Welsh Harp SSSI, nature reserve and bird sanctuary.

"See the London Borough of Brent submission (below) for ideas on what to say, but ALSO make it personal - what does this development mean to YOU?

Go to the Barnet Planning site LINK and type H/01054/13 into the Search Box. Make sure you give a name and postal address and email address to get an acknowledgement.
Email the Barnet Planning Officer dealing with this application quoting the above reference number: tom.wyld@barnet.gov.uk  Make sure you give your name and postal address to get an acknowledgement. 

Link to
web site.


'Barnet Press', on the Welsh Harp Tower Blocks

"Good News on House Prices": Evening Standard: "Barratt praises Help to Buy for lifting London’s house market"

Link to web site

"George Osborne’s Help to Buy scheme is getting the wheels turning for London’s property market, according to housebuilder Barratt, with buyers snapping up properties in Lewisham and the Royal Docks.

"Barratt, one of the UK’s largest housebuilders by market value, said consumer demand and mortgage supply were in their best state for five years thanks to the Government’s scheme, with around 400 people using Help to Buy to reserve properties since its launch on April 1.

"The company said it had seen 'particularly good momentum' in London, where private sales were up almost 50% in the 18 weeks to May 5, compared with the same period last year."