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


[Reposted] Barnet Press: "New Blow to High Streets" (and new 'new blow' later)

"TRADERS are slamming plans to extend Brent Cross Shopping Centre, claiming it will be a nail in the coffin for high street town centres.

"... Plans for the centre include 20 new shops, a large department store and improved parking facilities.

"... Usama Siddique, Chairman of Barnet Traders Association, said:
"A lot of small businesses are going to pack up because of this, and it will have a detrimental effect on all the centres across the borough.

Big shopping centres surround Barnet, yet the council will not provide any more facilities to improve the town centres. All they have done is install controlled parking zones, with no free parking anywhere.

North Finchley and Golders Green centres are just coming back from the brink, with more shops opening, but this extension will affect them badly - I think approving these plans will be the wrong decision."
"... Geoffrey Davis, president of Golders Green Chamber of Commerce and member of Temple Fortune Town Centre Forum, said:
"If Barnet Council approved the plans, it would be disastrous for town centres.

Shopping malls are slowly killing town centres, but I think that Barnet Council feel the same as us, and will turn it down."
"... If Barnet Council approve the plans, work will start next year, and will not be completed until Christmas 1999.

"... A spokesman for Barnet Council said:
"The council is committed to the widest possible consultation with residents and traders who will be affected by the plans.

"The council is now preparing a summary of the proposals, and residents and traders will be asked to have their say. The views of the community will then be considered by councillors, as part of the planning process."
(22 May 1996)

The plans were rejected by the government in 2000, and Hammerson eventually lost an appeal.

Link to April 2012:

GOOD NEWS ON HOUSE PRICES: "Market recovery is firmly established: London house prices forecast to rise by 43.5% by 2018"

Link to:
Centre for Economics and Business Research

"Despite concern in some quarters, the housing market is being driven largely by fundamentals – demographics and the economy – not speculation. Talk of housing bubble is premature. A slowly recovering economy, the domestic population’s need for homes, slow supply growth and improving credit availability are all supporting house prices.

"Even London’s prodigious house price growth, expected to be 6.9% this year, is being driven by the fundamental fact that people want to live in the capital with its employment and cultural opportunities.

"Policy drivers will continue to provide a boost. As of October 2013, three months earlier than initially planned, potential homebuyers will be able to apply for assistance from the Help to Buy scheme, which will provide up to £12 billion of mortgage guarantees. We expect this will lift house price growth by increasing the availability of mortgage financing.

"The Bank of England’s Governor has said base rates will be kept on hold until unemployment falls below 7.0%, suggesting rates are unlikely to rise before 2016. This forward guidance should anchor mortgage costs and so support house prices."

[Reposted] David Atkins' little pipeline

Hammersons official Brent Cross pipeline: 
  • Lettable Area m2 = 87,000 
  • Earliest start = 2015 
  • Potential completion = 2018 
  • Estimated cost to complete = £290m 
  • Estimated annual income = £24m

Daily Telegraph: "Amazon regional depots deliver blow to embattled high street"

Link to web site

"Amazon is stepping up its battle against Britain's high street chains by opening a series of small, regional distribution depots under the brand 'Amazon Logistics' to speed up customer deliveries.

"... In each case, Amazon is teaming up with smaller companies such as City Sprint and Transline, which take the product to customers' doors.

"The name Amazon Logistics first appeared on deliveries earlier this summer, surprising rivals in the distribution business and customers alike.

"In a statement, Amazon said the expansion was a way to create more 'capacity and flexibility' in its network, and was part of an overall £1bn UK investment."

RT (Putin-vision): "Smoggy London: Air pollution hits new high as UK govt ignores toxic issue"


Adam Smith Institute: "Burning Down the House: Why Help-to-Buy will stoke a housing bubble, and risks taxpayers' money with no promise of a return"

Link to PDF on web site

"Help-to-Buy will not end the housing crisis. The government’s plans to increase liquidity in the housing market will do little to solve the UK’s long-run housing supply shortage – and do much to aggravate high housing prices while improperly using the state as a risk transfer mechanism.

"Liberalisation, not intervention, is the best long-term solution for the distorted British housing market.

"... A number of ... supply-side solutions have been proposed by the ASI and/or its affiliates on numerous occasions in the recent past, including:
  • releasing limited amounts of farmland for suburban development,
  • radical liberalisation of urban planning laws (proposed by ASI Fellow Tom Papworth), and
  • the abolition of mandatory affordable housing provision in new housing development (proposed by ASI Fellow Preston Byrne).
"The full contents of these arguments do not bear repeating here. What such solutions have in common, however, is that the obstacles to their implementation are political and regulatory, not economic."

The Brent Cross Waste Incinerator: what it could be like...

"Video of the process used to treat residual household rubbish, extract recyclable material and divert away from landfill..."

"This video shows how NEAT has designed, built and commissioned the UK’s first commercial-scale 13MWatt-e energy recovery facility for New Earth Solutions, alongside its existing 250kilotonne Mechanical Biological Treatment (MBT) facility in Bristol..."

The above shows relevant waste processing technology, but those companies have no connection with the Brent Cross Cricklewood area.
Unrelated to them, a shell company registered in the Isle of Man, called 'Clean Power Properties Limited', has listed 'Cricklewood' as one of its desired waste incinerator locations.

It is also trying to obtain planning permission for a 'Willesden' waste incinerator, in the London Borough of Ealing.

Link to Clean Power Properties Ltd.
(Generic image from that web site)

Link to the Brent Cross Cricklewood incinerator

As luck would have it, Hammerson already has planning permission for a Brent Cross waste incinerator, from the London Borough of Barnet...

(Click on image)

... And even wants to put a restaurant on top of it ...

(Click on image)

(We apologise for Hammerson's stupidity.)

"Eric Pickles attacks councils putting motorists off high streets"

Link to Daily Telegraph

"Mr Pickles, the Communities and Local Government Secretary, said that 'draconian' parking policies and pointless 'street clutter' have led to motorists abandoning town centres.

"He is calling on local authorities to ban speed bumps and parking bollards that put people off travelling to local shops.

"Town Halls must also reduce parking charges that 'undermine the vitality of town centres', Mr Pickles added.

"The Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) will this week issue new planning guidance, that he hopes will force councils to make high streets more car-friendly."


As the Brent Cross developers extend their planning permission to include "demolition", is Brent Cross Shopping Centre worth Grade 2 listing? (Er, no.)

Link to The Guardian

"... A 650-metre long white steel and mirror-glass temple to shopping, the Milton Keynes mall is one of the most recently listed projects in the show, receiving grade II status in 2010 – a move described as 'utter madness' by the British Property Federation.

"Its owners were furious at the decision, saying the listing would 'prevent evolution and growth' of a building they described as 'nondescript and characterless'. But in the eyes of English Heritage, the project represented a rare example of 'rigour, consistency, luminosity and user-friendliness'. [Please Sir, please Sir! Brent Cross is that!]

" 'There has been a general drift towards fussiness and bling, whereas we were just trying to make it clear and open,' says its architect Christopher Woodward, who hasn't been back to the building since 1982. 'I don't want to be upset. When people tell me what's happened, I have to put my hands over my ears and go "la la la"'." [That's what Barnet and Hammerson have done for the last decade at Brent Cross!]


BBC: "guided busway 'good for the economy' but rail link would have been more attractive, transport minister said"

Link to web site

"Norman Baker the transport minister yesterday officially opened the eight-mile (13.4km) mainly guided route, which runs along a stretch of old railway line.

"Mr Baker said:
"It's a very good day for the economy of the town.

I'll be astonished if this doesn't work, because this is going to cut journey times by half between Luton and Dunstable and it's going to be a regular, predictable service which won't be subject to traffic jams."
"When asked if a rail link would have been a more attractive alternative to the busway, he agreed, but added that was not the choice he faced on becoming a minister in 2010:
"The choice I had was either to agree to this and provide the £80m funding, or to cancel it.

It would have been detrimental to the town to have cancelled it and I think, having looked at it today, it will be beneficial to Luton, environmentally and economically."

Luton Today:
"VIDEO: Luton and Dunstable busway
officially opens"
Note: video advert beforehand may not have any audio level control

'LONDON DESIGNER OUTLET' OPENING SOON: following extensive non-arrogant public consultation, major new north London retail expansion, based around excellent public transport. (So it's not Brent Cross then.)

Link to Brent & Kilburn Times (again)

"Sports retailer Skechers will join the likes of Nike, L.K. Bennett, Superdry, Guess, Gap, Clarks and Marks & Spencer who have signed up to the London Designer Outlet – the first ever discount outlet within the M25.

"High-end homeware brands Villeroy & Boch and Oneida will also open branches as will restaurants Prezzo, Handmade Burger Co and Las Iguanas.

"Currently in its final phase of construction, LDO has leased 70 per cent of its units and will open for business on October 24."

Link to
London Designer Outlet

"The perfect day out, London Designer Outlet
offers a great range of branded stores, restaurants and cafés,
as well as a 9-screen, 1,800-seat Cineworld complex,
in a vibrant, contemporary and cosmopolitan environment."

Not to mention:

"A complete transformation of a landscape
that will put a dynamic new neighbourhood
onto the map of London"
(No Hammerson involvement then)

"Brent Cross Shopping Centre to host a drive-in cinema for a month" ('How Golders Green Was My Valley', 'Nightmare on Watling Street', 'The Bridge on the River Brent', 'The Maltese Finchley',...)

Link to Brent & Kilburn Times

"Brent Cross Shopping Centre will be hosting a film screen classic movies every Friday, Saturday and Sunday throughout October.

"Visitors will enjoy a blockbuster beamed on to a giant screen from the comfort of their car thanks to the American-style drive in.

"... Screenings take place as the south car park and cost £22 per car."


BBC: "Pace of UK town centre shop closures slows"

Link to web site

"The pace of shop closures on the High Street has slowed, offering a glimmer of hope for retailers.

"Town centre shops closed at a rate of 18 a day in the first half of the year, compared with 20 a day a year ago, according to the study by PwC and the Local Data Company.

"Video and photography shops suffered the worst drops, while hearing aid and charity shops opened the most branches."

The Guardian:
"Credit card debt and mortgage
approvals hit four-year highs"

Stewart Murray LIVES! - Hammerson: "Research reveals economic benefit of shopping centres"

Link to web site

"Hammerson launches report on the true value of shopping centres and unveils new forecasting software that will aid employment opportunities and the design of new centres.

"Hammerson has for the first time undertaken a major piece of research to quantify the long term economic and socio-economic impacts of its shopping centres.

"... The report [was] launched this morning at a breakfast event, which will include debate on the findings from industry figures including Jeremy Collins, from leading department store John Lewis, Stewart Murray from the GLA [and late of this parish] and Jane Rexworthy from the National Skills Academy for Retail.

Which Stewie is which?
(and meet Brian as well)

Link to:
"[Hammerson and Westfield] Compulsory Purchase Orders
should be 'last resort' says [London] ... councillor"


Thurs 26 Sep: CREATIVE CRICKLEWOOD: Photographer Thomas Ball's portraits of 150 Cricklewood businesses

(Click to enlarge)

Evening Standard: "Advert for new Stratford homes sparks ‘no riff raff’ row"

Link to web site

"A new development near Olympic Park in Stratford is being promoted in the Far East as 'fully private' with 'no social housing'.

"Flats at Capital Towers, where two-bedroom homes start at £321,000, go on sale this weekend at a hotel in Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur. Critics said the promotion’s wording was reminiscent of TV comedy hotelier Basil Fawlty’s 'no riff raff' rule for the launch of Gourmet Night at Fawlty Towers."

Management Consultancies Association (MCA) urges government to up its game on infrastructure. (Well, it would, wouldn't it?)

Link to web site

"A new MCA think tank report welcomes the government’s current focus on infrastructure, but urges it to do more to close the UK’s infrastructure gap. It calls for clear thinking about what infrastructure is for and better use of the UK’s world-class infrastructure expertise. It also argues that a powerful independent 'Office for Infrastructure' to advise and guide government on infrastructure policy and priorities is an idea whose time has come.

"The think tank gathered the views and insights of many of the UK’s leading infrastructure experts and firms. It hosted an expert roundtable, attended by Paul Skinner, Chairman of Infrastructure UK, the Treasury body in charge of UK infrastructure.

"... Alan Leaman, Chief Executive of the MCA, said:
“Many of our members were central to the success of the Olympic infrastructure. They are at the heart of big projects like Crossrail. Our report highlights many other projects where they added value. Using our experts early to plan projects, rather than late to rescue them, is the best – and cheapest – way to employ them.

Government should recognise the value infrastructure consultants bring. They are often the glue that holds complex projects together.” 


GOOD NEWS ON HOUSE PRICES: "Thousands of affordable homes axed"

"Councils across the UK cave in as developers refuse to undertake building projects unless they deliver healthy profits"

Link to The Guardian

"Housebuilders and councils in Britain's biggest cities are failing to comply with affordable housing targets, and even ripping up legal commitments to build cheaper homes. A three-month study by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism for Society Guardian has established that 60% of the biggest housing developments currently in the planning system are falling short of local affordable housing targets, preventing thousands of cheaper homes being built.

"... In London, where the number of people accepted as homeless stands at 14,812, one of the largest developments going through the planning system shows less than 17% of the planned 15,000 units will be affordable. This is despite Lambeth, one of the two councils involved in the 195-hectare (480-acre) development in south London, stating to its tenants council two years ago that affordable housing could account for 35% of new units built in its section.

"... Sir Edward Lister, deputy mayor of London responsible for policy and planning, says that while the priority is to get new schemes off the ground, the mayor would intervene in future to raise affordable housing numbers if it was shown that developers were making disproportionately large profits:
"I'm not trying to defend the property industry, but I do believe they have been through a bad time and I believe it's more important to get building moving. Fifteen or 20% of something is better than nothing."


"Holy cow, Batman! New £400m skyscraper planned for the Square Mile skyline nicknamed 'Gotham City'." (Better than The Joker of Hammerson's Brent Cross)

ZWAPP! Hammerson!
CAPOW! Transport for London!
SPLATT! LB of Barnet!
(Sorry, got carried away there)

Er, just link to Evening Standard

"The Square Mile’s rapidly transforming skyscraper horizon is set for further upheaval with plans for a £400 million block of towers nicknamed 'Gotham City'.

"The huge complex of offices, shops and restaurants will add to a skyline already dominated by the Gherkin, the Cheesegrater and the Walkie Talkie with the Scalpel on the way and the Pinnacle currently on hold.

"The designs for the 170 metre high development on Leadenhall Street were unveiled today by fund managers Henderson Global investors."


The Independent: "Richard Rogers: 'Why more money should be spent on affordable homes'"

Link to web site

"If Richard Rogers ran the City, rather than just designed some of its iconic buildings, the grotesque financial screw-ups of recent years might have been avoided.

"Putting an architect aged 80 in charge of Britain’s commercial heart and dollar-fixated soul, is of course never going to happen. 

"But listening to the man who gave the Square Mile the Lloyd’s building in 1986 and who next year will deliver its new Leadenhall Street neighbour in the shape of the 'Cheesegrater', you detect an inner-politician whose idealism could well have survived the Westminster wrecking-ball."

Evening Standard: "Whiteleys’ new owners reveal £1bn masterplan for Queensway"

Link to web site

"An ambitious £1 billion plan to turn Bayswater’s scruffy Queensway into a 'Covent Garden of the West' by 2020 was revealed today.

"The backers of the scheme have secretly bought dozens of properties along the street — including the Queens ice rink — since the start of the year.

"They hope to create a shopping and eating out 'village' modelled on London’s great family estates such as the Grosvenor in Mayfair and Belgravia."

BBC: "Stirling Prize: Vote for your favourite building"

Link to web site

"Six buildings have been shortlisted for this year's Royal Institute of British Architects' Stirling Prize - considered one of the top accolades in the world of architecture. The awards are for buildings with original and imaginative designs, which meet the needs of their users."

"Stirling Prize judges say Newhall Be raises the bar
in terms of commercial house building.
But why is this development so different, and
what does it tell us about the modern home?"

"Park Hill, which opened in 1961, was the most ambitious
inner city housing scheme of its time.
... By stripping it back to its crumbling concrete shell and
redesigning the apartments and the surrounding area,
architects Hawkins/Brown and Studio Egret West have
made it desirable again."


Daily Telegraph: "BIS veteran says global credit excess worse than pre-Lehman"

"Extreme forms of credit excess across the world have reached or surpassed levels seen shortly before the Lehman crisis five years ago, the Bank for International Settlements has warned. "

Link to web site

"... William White, the BIS’s former chief economist, said the five years since Lehman have largely been wasted, leaving a global system that is even more unbalanced, and may be running out of lifelines. 'The ultimate driver for the whole world is the US interest rate and as this goes up there will be fall-out for everybody. The trigger could be Fed tapering, but there are a lot of things that can go wrong. I am very worried that Abenomics could go awry in Japan, and Europe remains exceedingly vulnerable to outside shocks.'

"Mr White said the world has become addicted to easy money, with rates falling ever lower with each cycle and each crisis. There is little ammunition left if the system buckles again. 'I don’t know what they will do: Abenomics for the world I suppose, but this is the last refuge of the scoundrel,' he said.

"The BIS quietly scolded Bank of England Governor Mark Carney and his eurozone counterpart Mario Draghi, saying the attempt to use 'forward guidance' to hold down long-term rates by rhetoric alone had essentially failed. 'There are limits as to how far good communications can steer markets. Those limits have become all too apparent,' said Claudio Borio, the BIS research chief."

The Observer:

Five years after Lehman, could
a collapse happen all over again?

"When Lehman Brothers went bust, it seemed to represent an
unforgettable public humiliation for the banking sector.
But key figures at the heart of the rescue operation in 2008 fear
that the risk of another meltdown is still very real."


The Guardian: "Can turning shops into homes help councils save the high street?"

Link to web site

"This government is not known for eureka moments, but Nick Boles's announcement that it's time to turn empty shops into homes was as good as it gets. After three years of farcical high street policy that has generated many column inches but delivered little of substance, this represented a major shift in thinking.

"Ministers are finally starting to recognise we simply have too much retail space in Britain. There are more than 40,000 empty shops blighting our high streets, and it's no use clinging to a sentimental vision of the past. We've been keeping moribund high streets on a life support machine for years, and it's time we faced up to reality.

"Our high streets are being overwhelmed by structural change. Online shopping has grown by 222% in the past five years while year on year bricks-and-mortar growth remains flat. Consumer behaviour is rapidly changing, and some high streets are never going to survive on a retail-only model."

The Economist: "Seeing the back of the car"

Link to web site

"Cars are integral to modern life. They account for 70% of all journeys not made on foot in the OECD, which includes most developed countries. In the European Union more than 12m people work in manufacturing and services related to cars and other vehicles, around 6% of the total employed population; the equivalent figure for America is 4.5% of private-sector employment, or 8m jobs.

"They dominate household economies too: aside from rent or mortgage payments, transport costs are the single biggest weekly outlay, and most of those costs normally come from cars.

"... But in the rich world, the car’s previously inexorable rise is stalling. A growing body of academics cite the possibility that both car ownership and vehicle-kilometres driven may be reaching saturation in developed countries — or even be on the wane, a notion known as 'peak car'."

Later article:

Link to web site

"Distant peak car"

"IN 1924 FORD ran an advertisement headlined 'His First Car', urging fathers to buy their teenage sons their first set of wheels. The idea caught on. For boys especially, learning to drive became an essential part of growing up. By the late 1970s 86% of American 18-year-olds—of both sexes—had a driving licence. But then the trend went into reverse: researchers at the University of Michigan found that in 2010 only 61% of 18-year-old Americans had licences.

"Other rich countries are going the same way. Teenagers are showing less interest in cars as they turn their attention to smartphones and social networking.

"... One reason for concern is that half the world’s population now lives in towns and cities, which have only so much space for cars. Even in rapidly growing car markets such as China, city governments in the more prosperous parts of the country are beginning to restrict new car registrations and invest heavily in public transport."


Evening Standard: "Clothes firms fail to agree on Bangladeshi compensation fund"

Link to web site

"International clothing retailers have failed to agree on a compensation fund of up to €54 million (£45 million) for victims of two garment factory disasters in Bangladesh.

"Over 1200 Bangladeshis have died in the two accidents in the past year, and global trade union IndustriALL had called for a two-day meeting in Geneva to discuss compensation for victims and strategies for improving safety."

Toronto Star:
"Bangladesh Rana Plaza disaster victims
still waiting for compensation"

Policy Exchange: "21st Century Retail Policy: Quality, choice, experience and convenience"

Link to web site

"Policies intended to revive Britain’s ailing high streets are raising the cost of living for hard working families by at least £1,000 a year.

"Town Centre First, a policy introduced in the mid-1990s, was intended to support the high street by limiting out-of-town shopping centres. It has, however, decreased competition between retailers and damaged the social fabric of many communities, especially outside the South East. Between 2000 and 2009, 15,000 smaller town centre-stores closed despite the policy.

"Discriminating against out-of-town outlets has also pushed up prices. This is particularly damaging for low income households. Academic studies show Town Centre First causes productivity losses of between 25% and 45% due to restrictions on the size of a store, its configuration and its location. A 25% loss in productivity in just food and clothes alone cuts the average household income by at least 3%, or around £1,000 a year. The real cost across all goods and services will be even higher."


"Revealed: the gentrification map of London"

Link to Evening Standard

"The most detailed 'gentrification map' of London ever produced has revealed how the gritty East End has prospered while the leafy outer suburbs have suffered a social decline over the past decade.

"It shows a remarkable reversal of fortunes in 21st-century London with inner-city areas such as Stratford, Bethnal Green and Canning Town gaining at the expense of the 'Metroland' fringes once rhapsodised about by Sir John Betjeman.

"The map, drawn up by researchers at estate agency Savills, marks areas that have moved upmarket in red, and those that have suffered 'reverse gentrification' in blue."


"Tesco: How one supermarket came to dominate"

Link to BBC web site

"Tesco occupies a unique place in British retail, visited by millions but controversial to many. It all started with a barrow selling fish paste.

"There's a famous stat - that at its peak, one pound in every seven spent in the UK went into a Tesco till.

'Robert Peston Goes Shopping' is on BBC Two at 21:00 BST on Monday 9 September, or catch up with iPlayer.