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


BBC: "High Street needs post-war scale rebuilding says report"

Link to web site

"Rejuvenating town centres requires radical action on a scale not seen since the building programmes of post-war Britain, according to a new report.

"The 'Distressed Town Centre Property Taskforce' says structural changes needed in retail are so fundamental, many towns and cities need reshaping. The taskforce was set up following Mary Portas's review of the High Street.

"One key recommendation is for the government to designate town and city centres as key national infrastructure."

"London Mayor Boris Johnson backs Westfield and Hammerson to create 'new era of prosperity' in Croydon with £1bn regeneration scheme" (How Boris forced the merger: "Aut Viam Inveniam Aut Faciam")

Link to Croydon Guardian

"Mayor of London Boris Johnson has approved Westfield and Hammerson's £1bn redevelopment of the Whitgift Centre.

The joint venture by the two retail giants called the Croydon Partnership, will see the town centre transformed with a 1.5m sq ft development.

Mr Johnson said:

"[The development would create] a new era of prosperity for Croydon, and help return it to its former glory.

Hammerson has an excellent track record [it HAS?] and the recent Westfield developments in London created thousands of jobs and attracted millions of visitors, giving others the confidence to invest."

"Croydon's Westfield Hammerson Mall" (bet it will be called 'Westfield Croydon')

"Presented to Croydon Council's planning committee on Monday 25th November 2013, this fly-through represents what Croydon's new shopping centre could look like. Courtesy Gavin Barwell MP." (Apparently.)

"Mike Freer [MP for Brent Cross Retail Park & the Mutton Valley] calls police 'daft' and protesters 'numb-nuts' in email gaffe"

Click on a numb-nut,
to link to Evening Standard

"A Tory MP’s attempt to placate a group of protesters camped outside his office backfired, after he copied them in on an email in which called [sic] them 'numb-nuts', and branded the police as 'daft'.

"No comment"
"... In an email to office colleagues, that was apparently sent to the protesters by accident, he wrote:
"I am mightily peed off at the Police. I feel like sending the bill to the Commissioner, saying your fat advice landed us with the [baliff's] bill. Of course this will inhibit every other demo, as we will simply refuse to allow anyone onto our property."
"... A Met Police spokesman said it would not be commenting on the email."


Evening Standard: "20,000 new homes 'built at prices out of most Londoners' reach'"

Link to web site

"Thousands of new homes are being built in the capital at prices well beyond the reach of most Londoners, a report has revealed.

"... Overall, more than 20,000 prime homes could be delivered in London over the next decade. The combined sale value could exceed £50billion, with the potential peak of development activity predicted to be in 2017.

"... Darren Johnson, Green Party Member of the London Assembly, said:
"Building 20,000 luxury homes isn’t supplying the sort of homes Londoners need. it's a waste of scarce land, and is driving up prices elsewhere."

The Guardian: "Consumer-led recovery slows as caution sets in"

Link to web site

"Fears that Britain's consumer-led recovery is losing momentum are increasing, amid signs that the rising cost of living is hitting confidence and high-street spending.

"The latest survey of sentiment towards the economy shows that the steady rise in confidence seen the start of the year has slowed in the past month.

"... Stephen Lewis, chief economist at Monument Securities, said:
"To the extent that rebalancing of the UK economy is occurring, the figures strongly suggest it is in the wrong direction, towards consumption and away from net exports.

It is far from clear that the pick-up in consumer spending is prompting companies to step up their capital expenditure. Spending on transport equipment, the strongest element in capital outlays over the quarter, is characteristically lumpy, and not especially responsive to short-term changes in the demand outlook. The UK authorities, however, appear to have long since abandoned their rebalancing goal in favour of stimulating growth, from whatever source and at any cost."

"What will London be like in 2050?" (And that doesn't mean 'ten-to-nine'.)

Select today's Planning Committee
to find out


"A global bullshit industry recruits the values with which we'd like Christmas to be invested – to sell things no one wants"

Link to The Guardian

"The 2012 Greendex survey found that people in poorer countries feel, on average, much guiltier about their impacts on the natural world than people in rich countries. The places in which people feel least guilt are, in this order, Germany, the United States, Australia and Britain, while the people of India, China, Mexico and Brazil have the greatest concerns. Our guilt, the survey reported, exists in inverse proportion to the amount of damage our consumption does.

"This is the opposite of what a thousand editorials in the corporate press tell us: that people cannot afford to care until they become rich. The evidence suggests we cease to care only when we become rich.

"... Back in August, a most instructive row ignited within the Conservative party. The environment minister Lord de Mauley urged people to repair their gadgets rather than junking them. This, he argued, was necessary to reduce the amount of landfill, in line with the European waste directive. The Telegraph reported that 'the proposals risk alarming businesses that are struggling to increase demand for their products'. The Tory MP Douglas Carswell demanded to know:
"Since when do we need government to tell us what to do with broken toasters? … having ruined our prospects of economic growth, the Eurocrats now seem to be giving us advice on how to make-do-and-mend. The sooner we leave the European Union, the better."

PPS: "What if we built our communities around places?"

Link to web site

"Placemaking is the process through which we collectively shape our public realm to maximize shared value. [Tell that to Hammerson!] Rooted in community-based participation, Placemaking involves the planning, design, management and programming of public spaces.

"More than just creating better urban design of public spaces, Placemaking facilitates creative patterns of activities and connections (cultural, economic, social, ecological) that define a place and support its ongoing evolution. Placemaking is how people are more collectively and intentionally shaping our world, and our future on this planet.

"With the increasing awareness that our human environment is shaping us, Placemaking is how we shape humanity’s future. While environmentalism has challenged human impact on our planet, it is not the planet that is threatened but humanity’s ability to live viably here. Placemaking is building both the settlement patterns, and the communal capacity, for people to thrive with each other and our natural world."

"... The concepts behind Placemaking originated in the 1960s, when visionaries like Jane Jacobs and William H. Whyte (who was the editor of Fortune Magazine that got Jacobs to write 'Death and Life of Great American Cities') offered groundbreaking ideas about designing cities that catered to people, not just to cars and shopping centers."


"Westfield/Hammerson's £1bn redevelopment of Croydon's Whitgift Centre approved by Croydon Council"

Link to Croydon Guardian

"Westfield and Hammerson's £1bn redevelopment plans for the Whitgift Centre have been unanimously approved by the council's strategic planning committee.

"The scheme, which was first announced in January, has been earmarked as the catalyst for a massive economic boost to Croydon's economy.

"The redevelopment will see both the Whitgift Centre and Centrale replaced with 1.4 million sq ft of shops and leisure facilities, as well as between 400 and 600 new homes."

Link to web site
Croydon Advertiser:
"Minerva slams council after Westfield and Hammerson go-ahead"

"MINERVA has slammed the council, after a planning committee approved Westfield and Hammerson's £1b town centre regeneration project.

"... William Hicks QC represented Minerva at the Strategic Planning Committee. He said the scheme's 113,920 sq metres of parking spaces would make it:
"very difficult to provide future regeneration schemes in Croydon."
He claimed the tram network would require significant alterations, adding:
"My overall conclusion is I urge you not to determine today. More time will lead to better development, criticisms to be addressed and reduce the risk of legal challenge." [This is called a shot over the bows, in the legal world.]

Don't blame us - the 'thing' on the left is a single image on the Hammerson web site.

Hammerson's press release says:

"The London Borough of Croydon has resolved to grant planning permission to the Croydon Partnership’s outline planning application for the redevelopment of the Whitgift Centre, marking a significant step forward in Westfield and Hammerson’s plans to regenerate Croydon’s retail town centre.

"At a special meeting of the Strategic Planning Committee, dedicated entirely to the Croydon Partnership’s proposal on 25 November 2013, the application received support from the committee.

"The Croydon Partnership’s £1bn scheme will transform Croydon’s town centre into 1.5m ft² of state-of-the-art retail, leisure and restaurant destination, together with new public realm, new car parking and up to 600 new residential units including affordable housing. This will provide the kick start to Croydon’s much needed regeneration and will attract new residents and visitors back to the town centre for the benefit of all local businesses whilst delivering a safe destination for families.

"The planning approval is part of the Partnership’s wider 2million ft² vision to regenerate the town centre, including the adjacent Centrale shopping centre, which has planning consent for a refurbishment programme.

"The project will involve improvements to existing public areas adjacent to the development such as North End, Poplar Walk, Wellesley Road and George Street together with new road junctions to facilitate traffic flow at Wellesley Road and Park Lane.

"The scheme will also provide over £30million towards local transport improvements and employment and training benefits. The employment initiatives will be aimed at ensuring Croydon’s local population, and particularly its youth, are able to benefit from the new job opportunities the development will provide.

"The key elements of the contributions are:

  • £15m for the tram network
  • £10m for the bus network
  • £2.5m for local highways
  • £1.625m for sustainable transport initiatives
  • £1.3m for employment and training initiatives
"The London Borough of Croydon has already initiated the preliminary stages of a potential CPO process having sent out letters to all of the parties that would be affected and held preliminary discussions. This is in advance of the Council’s consideration to use CPO powers to support the site assembly process in the New Year.

"Following the Council’s resolution to grant outline planning consent, the application will now be considered by The Mayor of London. Detailed designs for the scheme will be unveiled during 2014 and a start on site is expected in 2015.

"John Burton, Director of Development of Westfield, commented: 
“This is a significant step forward in our plans for the redevelopment of Croydon’s retail town centre and importantly will create 5,000 new local jobs. We believe that our proposed £1bn investment into the transformation of Croydon’s shopping and leisure offer has the potential to act as a major catalyst for the wider physical and social regeneration of the town. The support we received from the Council last night further strengthens that belief.”
"Peter Cole, Chief Investment Officer of Hammerson, added: 
“Our scheme will re-establish Croydon as the retail destination of South London which will attract further investment and development. Our goal is to deliver a world-class retail and leisure destination to attract new visitors to the town and ensure Croydon regains its status as a thriving town centre.  Last night’s decision brings that vision one step closer to reality.”
"Cllr Mike Fisher, Leader of Croydon Council said:
“Today’s resolution to approve Westfield and Hammerson’s planning application is a very important day for Croydon. We are committed to ensuring that the town’s regeneration projects provide a lasting positive impact for Croydon and future generations.”
“Ian Harley, Chairman of The Whitgift Foundation said:
We congratulate London Borough of Croydon on the resolution to grant planning permission for the Whitgift Centre redevelopment. This redevelopment is vital to the town as well as securing necessary income to maintain the work of this long established charity which presently provides in excess of £5 million per annum in bursaries  enabling access to our three renowned schools and also to support the running of our three care homes.  We look forward to working with the Council and The Croydon Partnership on the regeneration plans for the benefit of Croydon.”
 "The Croydon Partnership can be followed on Twitter at @croydonpartners"

Link to 'Inside Croydon':


PPS: "How the Dutch Got Their Cycle Paths"

Link to web site

"Given the reputation of the Netherlands as a cyclists’ paradise, you might think that its extensive cycling infrastructure came down from heaven itself, or was perhaps created by the wave of a magic wand.

"Not so. It was the result of a lot of hard work, including massive street protests and very deliberate political decision-making.

The video (via the link above) offers vital historical perspective on the way the Netherlands ended up turning away from the autocentric development that arose with postwar prosperity, and chose to go down the cycle path. It lists several key factors, including:
  • public outrage over the amount of space given to automobiles
  • huge protests over traffic deaths, especially those of children, which were referred to by protesters as 'child murder', and
  • governmental response to the oil crisis of the 1970s, which prompted efforts to reduce oil dependence without diminishing quality of life."

Stopping the stitch-up of NO separate outline planning application for the Cricklewood Green Space!


The Economist: "Not so boring: How other infrastructure projects can learn from London’s new railway"

Link to web site

"When it is finished in 2018, Crossrail will stretch across London, connecting the south-west suburbs in Berkshire with Essex in the east. The new line will increase the capacity of London’s transport network by 10%. Commuters will be able to zip from Abbey Wood in the south-east to the City of London in 17 minutes (the journey now takes 45). Stations are being extensively rebuilt. [Though not being made step-free.]

Paul Deighton, commercial secretary to the Treasury, who oversees public-sector investment in infrastructure, said:
"It's the perfect example of what infrastructure does for the British economy."
"... Several elements came together to make it possible. The creation of the office of mayor in 2000 made a huge difference, says David Leam of London First, a lobby group. As the mayor’s remit is limited mainly to transport, incumbents badly wanted the railway. And the business case for the project has strengthened."


The new Baron Finkelstein of Metroland

"My Lords, at the moment I took the oath in the House I was filled with wonder and gratitude. There was gratitude to be given the privilege to sit among your Lordships and to contribute to your deliberations.

"... There is gratitude that as the son of refugees, I live in peace in this extraordinary country with its respect for human rights. It is therefore fitting that human rights should be the subject of my maiden speech. My mother is a survivor of Belsen concentration camp, and my father was an exile in a Siberian prison village. Pinner is nicer.

"People often bemoan the absence of big ideas in British politics. I always reply that big ideas drove my family from their home and their country, murdered my grandmother, starved my mother, imprisoned my father and stole our property. So I like pragmatic, small British ideas, our quiet suburbs and our stable institutions.

"My politics were never better summarised than by my paternal grandmother, saying:
"While the Queen is safe in Buckingham Palace, I am safe in Hendon Central."


Barnet Times (x3), Barnet Press, and Brent & Kilburn Times. Also, Barnet Press Welsh Harp story

Link to Barnet Press

"The chairman of the London Assembly’s environment committee has raised concerns about a controversial 29-storey housing development next to the Welsh Harp Reservoir.

"In July, Barnet Council’s planning committee approved proposals by Barnet Council – in partnership with housing developer Barratt Metropolitan – to build a 2,000-home housing estate, as well as a primary school and nursery, just 20 metres from the centuries-old reservoir in West Hendon.

"The development, which has since received the go-ahead from London Mayor Boris Johnson, will replace the current 680-home estate next to the Welsh Harp."

Sat 23 Nov, 1pm-6pm: Cricklewood Winterfest

"Cricklewood Broadway, NW2:

"Cricklewood will usher in the holiday season with Winterfest on Saturday 23 November 2013. There will be a hand-made gift market, hot food stalls, street theatre, stage entertainment and more, from 1–6pm outside the Crown Moran Hotel and on Yew Grove. The switch-on will take place at 5:30pm.
  • 20ft Christmas Tree in front of the Crown Moran
  • Switch on of Christmas tree and bespoke Cricklewood Christmas lights
  • Spot the oddity competition [are Brent Cross developers coming then?]
  • Stalls/marquees will line Yew Grove, including food, mulled wine and gifts
  • Father Christmas in his grotto
  • Christmas workshop by Creative Cricklewood creating a festive keepsake."
Winterfest Programme (as listed by Creative Cricklewood)
  • 2 – 4 pm (with intervals) – St Michaels Steel Band on Yew Grove
  • 2.30 pm – Alistair Hughes and group
  • 3 pm for 3.15 pm – Lantern procession from Beacon Bingo, via Cricklewood Lane / Yew Grove, to the Crown Moran Hotel.
  • 4 – 6 pm – Poi Show performances on Yew Grove and outside the Crown
  • 4.05 pm – Mora Road School Choir singing outside the Crown Moran Hotel by the Christmas Tree
  • 4.15 pm – Monooka Romanian Band
  • 4.45 pm – Poi fire show outside the Crown
  • 5.00 pmLaser Light Show
  • 5.30 pm – Switch on of Christmas lights in Cricklewood
  • 5.40 pm – Laser Light Show
  • 6.00 pm – End


Reinhart and Rogoff argue that advanced countries will not be able to return to more sustainable levels of debt through austerity and growth. (We're stuffed?)

Link to The Guardian

"For Carmen Reinhart and Ken Rogoff, 2013 has been a year to forget. The big news in the world of academic economics was that a celebrated and hugely influential paper by the Harvard duo, on the link between government debt and growth, was wrong.

"The paper, cited regularly by supporters of austerity programmes, said countries where the national debt was higher than 90% of national output (GDP) could expect to see a marked drop off in growth.

"On examination, the data used by Reinhart and Rogoff showed there was no such link, with the pair's (many) critics saying that the line of causality lies in the opposite direction: low growth leads to high levels of debt rather than high debt leading to low growth."

Living Streets: "Protect our most vulnerable road users: Call for 3 more seconds green man time"

Link to web site

"Three-quarters of British people over 65 struggle to cross the road at the very places that are meant to be safe for pedestrians – our signalised crossings.

"It’s a problem for tens of thousands of others as well, including people with mobility issues and parents with young children.

"Living Streets is calling for an average of just 3 more seconds 'green man time' on our crossings, to allow everyone to cross the road in comfort."


Where's the new 'London Designer Outlet', with excellent public transport central to its plan? (It can't be Brent Cross then!)

"Police blitz on drivers, bikes and HGVs to tackle 'appalling' London cycle carnage"

Link to Evening Standard

"Hundreds of police are to flood central London in a 'zero-tolerance' campaign against dangerous road users, in a bid to halt the 'appalling' spate of cyclist deaths.

"Specialist traffic officers will be on duty on every major street, especially notorious junctions.

"Starting on Monday, they will be looking for motorists using mobile phones, drivers stopping in the advance 'bike boxes' at traffic lights and cyclists riding on the inside of HGVs.

The decision was taken at a meeting between the Met and City Hall last night, hours after charity volunteer Richard Muzira became the sixth cyclist to die on the capital’s roads in less than two weeks."


Brent Cross redevelopment: New staircase up from the bus station

"The east London-based architects have made £45 million worth of architecture that does not flaunt its contemporariness, but tries to fit in with the decorative scheme and planning logic of a historic building [built in the second Harold Wilsonian period, 1976].

"... Like many of London’s greatest cultural institutions (like the V&A, the Science Museum, the Royal Albert Hall [and the North Finchley Arts Depot]), it was designed ... to be over the top in its classical imagery, but not close enough to benefit from the dawning modernity that gave architecture a new direction.

Caruso St John’s additions here take that eclectic classicism seriously. The new rotunda staircase, linking the ground floor to a large series of basement spaces, is made in a repeating terrazzo pattern that references Op Art, but in the end is more Art Deco than anything else. New chandeliers continue the stripped-back Deco theme [particularly at the 326 bus stop]."

(Click on image.)

Evening Standard: "The red-light fight: who's to blame for the spate of cyclist deaths on London's roads?"

Link to web site

"Towards the end of possibly the worst week ever for London cyclists, with five killed in the space of nine days, Boris Johnson had a clear message for them.

"It wasn’t one most found helpful. 'People have taken decisions that really did put their lives in danger,' the Mayor told LBC’s Nick Ferrari, singling out the phenomenon of cyclists jumping red lights.

"Johnson did preface his remarks by saying that 'you cannot blame the victim in these circumstances'. But that, unfortunately, is what it sounded like to many of us cyclists."


Wembley Matters: "Dinosaur and developer join protest against loss of Cricklewood green space"

Link to web site

Barnet Times: "Protesters campaign against plans to build on green space in Cricklewood"

Link to web site

"More than 20 people, including members of the Coalition for a Sustainable Brent Cross Cricklewood Development, waved banners and talked to passers-by about proposals to develop on the land outside B&Q in Cricklewood Lane.

"... Ward councillor for Childs Hill, Jack Cohen, said:
"I think Barnet Council has to think again about this part of the Brent Cross development. The green space, in my view, is vital to local people.

There is a deficit of green space in Cricklewood, and I quite understand why local resident are angry about proposals to build over this valuable piece of land."

The Guardian: "From Aberdeen's rugged Gallowgate, to the castle-like crown of Harlow's Bishopsfield, the Observer's architecture critic Rowan Moore chooses his favourite council estates"

Link to web site

"This is dangerous territory, choosing the ten best council estates. Best architecturally or socially? The two, notoriously, are often not linked and as it's beyond the scope of this list to undertake a social survey of all the estates in the country, it will lean towards the architectural.

Byker Wall (above), however, strove to be both. Ralph Erskine set up his office in the area, and invited future residents to drop in and say what they wanted. [Funny. The Brent Cross developers have never done that.] It also has purpose-designed details, such as letterboxes and garden gates and pioneering energy-saving techniques. It was hit by the effects of industrial decline in the 1980s, but is now recovering."


Sat 16 Nov: One of many small sites, tacked on by Barnet council to the Brent Cross planning application 'Leviathan' (Sea-monster. No, not relevant, we know)

"John Lewis heads west to Westfield as part of £1bn extension." (By the way, Brent Cross John Lewis will be demolished in latest plan, for new western entrance to shopping centre)

Link to Evening Standard

"John Lewis is to open a department store at Westfield in Shepherds Bush [White City].

"The 230,000 sq ft branch will be one of the biggest in Britain, and will anchor a £1 billion extension of the shopping centre due to be completed by 2017.

"... Andy Street, managing director John Lewis, told the Standard:
"Our business in London has strengthened significantly over recent years. It is therefore right that we now move to open in Westfield London, and bring our offer to customers in the west of the city."


Tue/Wed 12/13 Nov: LB of Barnet: "Brent Cross Cricklewood development" (not widely advertised information!)

Brent Cross Planning Application

"The Brent Cross Cricklewood (BXC) Development Partners submitted an outline planning application to the Council on 26 March 2008 for the comprehensive regeneration of the Brent Cross Cricklewood area. (Application Number C/17559/08).

"The Council issued planning consent for the Brent Cross Cricklewood Regeneration Area on 28 October 2010.

"The Brent Cross Cricklewood Development Partners have now submitted a "Section 73" Planning Application to Barnet Council on 11 October 2013.

"The Section 73 application is to modify a number of planning conditions to reflect the evolution of the scheme since outline planning permission was granted.

Key changes proposed

"The key changes to the scheme design can briefly be summarised as follows:

"A new pedestrian and cycle only bridge over the North Circular Road to improve connectivity across the site and provide better integration between the northern and southern parts of the new town centre.  This will involve the reconfiguration of Market Square to the south of the A406.

"Alterations to the layout of development within Brent Cross East Development Zone (i.e. around a remodelled Brent Cross Shopping Centre) including the new pedestrian and cycle only bridge, as well as changes to the alignment of the River Brent and the reconfiguration of Brent Cross Main Square.

"Alterations to the phasing of the development to bring more of the Brent Cross East Development Zone into the earlier Phase 1 including all the proposed north side retail plot development and the new bus station.

"The highways infrastructure necessary to support the changes to the phasing of plot development is brought forward into the earlier Phase 1A.  This will include the changes to the A406/A5/M1 junction and the A406/A41 junction as well as the new Living Bridge.

"For further details of the changes proposed see the preface to BXC04 Planning Statement Addendum contained in the planning application documents. You can also view a full set of planning documents until 6 December 2013 online at www.brentcrosscricklewood.com

"This includes the application and supporting documents including a detailed list of the conditions proposed by the application for modification.

Public exhibition

"Alternatively you can view the plans by attending a staffed public exhibition, where the plans will be on display and staff will be able to explain the plans and answer any further questions you may have on the proposals.

"These are being held at Hendon Leisure Centre, Marble Drive, NW2 1XQ on the following dates:
Tuesday 12 November,
11.00am - 8.00

Wednesday 13 November,
11.00am - 8.00pm

Why are we consulting? 

"We would like to receive your comments on the proposal so they can be taken into account when the decision is made. 

"Please take the time to submit your views to us by 6 December 2013. The planning documents can be accessed online at www.brentcrosscricklewood.com. The documents can also be viewed at the following locations set out below:
  • Barnet House Planning Reception, 1255 High Road, Whetstone, N20 0EJ
  • Monday - Friday 9.00 am - 1.00pm, 2.00pm - 5.00pm.

  • Childs Hill Library, 320 Cricklewood Lane, NW2 2QE. (Closed Tuesday).
  • Hendon Library, The Burroughs, NW4 4BQ
  • (Information relating to library opening hours is available to view here).

  • Brent Cross Shopping Centre Management Suite, off Central Court.
  • Monday - Friday10.00 am - 8.00 pm
  • Saturday 9.00 am - 8.00 pm
  • Sunday 2.00 pm - 6.00 pm
"Members of the public may obtain copies of the Environmental Statement submitted from Barnet House Planning Reception (address above) so long as stocks last, at a charge of £10 (electronic copy). 

"You can submit your comments online at www.barnet.gov.uk. Please ensure that your comments reach us by 6 December 2013."

[Reposted] London Mayor, 2002: ‘plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose’

14 October 2002
[References within this letter have been removed, and some parts are emphasised. The added comments are to keep you from drifting off.]
Government Office for London
Copied to:
Brian Coleman, London Assembly Constituency Member (Barnet and Camden)
Bob Neill, Chair of London Assembly Planning and Spatial Development Committee
London Borough of Barnet
London borough of Brent
London Borough of Haringey
London Borough of Harrow
Nabarro Nathanson
Cricklewood Regeneration Limited
Transport for London
London Development Agency


I refer to your letter dated 30 September 2002, informing all parties connected with the 1999 public inquiry on the above planning application, and the necessity for re-determination by the Secretary of State of the April 2000 refusal of planning permission decision that had been quashed by Order of the Court on 23 October 2000. [Clear as mud.]

In your letter, you state that you had given careful consideration to an extension of time of six months for further written representations requested by the Applicant and the London Borough of Barnet, but that the Secretary of State does not consider there is sufficient justification to warrant such a request. I also note that you have decided to allow all parties a further period, until 14 October 2002, in which to make final representations or supplement any already received. [Crikey: today is that day! Right up to the line...]

You will recall that I wrote to you 21 December 2000, where I submitted strategic objections to the planning application, whilst recognising I had no statutory locus, as this was submitted before the Mayor’s statutory planning powers came into effect. [Locus?]

You will also be aware that I have issued my draft London Plan: draft spatial development strategy (June 2002) in which I promote the sustainable growth of London particularly within key strategic Opportunity Areas, of which the application site is identified as falling within one such area: the Cricklewood/Brent Cross Opportunity Area.

Furthermore, you should by now be in receipt of a copy of my letter dated 7 October 2002 to the London Borough of Barnet, commenting formally as a statutory consultee on the Barnet Unitary Development Plan first deposit Chapter: Cricklewood/ /West Hendon/ Brent Cross Regeneration Area, where I have endorsed the Council’s policies for growth and redevelopment of the area.

In addition, I welcome the approach being taken towards mixed use comprehensive redevelopment, which involves turning Brent Cross Shopping Centre into a vibrant and sustainable mixed use town centre dependant on a significant improvement in public transport to serve its catchment area, and linked to the adjoining rail lands and significant regeneration area at Cricklewood to the south of the A406 North Circular Road.

I wish to make further representations with regard to the application and Secretary of State’s redetermination of the decision at Brent Cross in respect of ... my views as the strategic planning authority for London.

In addition, I would like to bring to your attention that I objected in December 2000 to the original planning application as a single mono-use retail extension to an out of centre shopping centre, but am aware that events have moved on very significantly, and there has been increasing convergence between the respective parties, particularly the GLA, TFL and London Borough of Barnet, of taking forward the regeneration of this strategic opportunity area in a sustainable way.

I am also aware that significant progress has been made between the local and strategic planning authorities in bringing the major landowners and developers in the area closer together, to deliver a more appropriate mixed use high density regeneration scheme at Cricklewood and Brent Cross. Also, ... it may be beneficial in strategic and regeneration terms to consider the potential for an early phase of the regeneration project coming forward on the North side of the North circular Road at Brent Cross Shopping Centre, as a catalyst for the wider regeneration of the Cricklewood rail lands and adjoining areas to the south. 

I am also welcome the fact that the applicant of Brent Cross, Hammerson/Standard Life are prepared to introduce mixed uses into and around the existing shopping centre, to improve its sustainability and create a new and exciting town centre in North London. I particularly welcome the proposals by Hammerson/Standard Life to commit to delivering a Planning Framework (masterplan) and delivery framework for the whole regeneration area, and to agree to condition the implementation of the proposed retail extension and 50% of its development upon first bringing forward an equivalent total amount of sustainable mixed use development. [Not any more they ain't!]

This commitment is further enhanced by the offer of a Section 106 legal agreement that proposes to make an increased financial contribution of £42.5 million towards public transport improvements in the area, creation of a world class bridge link [good grief] across the North Circular connecting to Cricklewood regeneration lands and a £0.5 million contribution towards taking forward the Planning framework and masterplan work.

I also draw your attention to the requirement expressed in earlier comments from Transport for London (TfL) about the need, should planning permission be granted, for a condition covering a series of highways junction improvements on the A406 North Circular Road and A41 Hendon Way.

Therefore, my strategic views, taking into account the above new information, is that, whilst I continue to raise strategic planning objections to the solus retail extension [Solus? Use of Latin is rather like special hand-shakes: it is a sort of unspoken code, is it not?] in isolation of any related mixed use or comprehensive regeneration proposals, in line with my draft London Plan and the Barnet UDP Regeneration Chapter, I am prepared to review this objection upon the applicant, Hammerson/Standard Life, submitting further information in due course, sufficiently demonstrating appropriate commitments to bring forward these strategic planning objectives including the mixed use development, creation of a new town centre, increased public transport improvements offer [have you noticed this is one big sentence? It's quite a whopper!] and Section 106 financial contributions. [None of which, even by February 2012, have been quod erat demonstrandumed.]

I see no necessity for the public inquiry to be re-opened, and agree with the Secretary of State that this would not be in the interests of the objectives for a fast and efficient planning process.

In conclusion, I believe there have been a significant number of developments in a positive direction which is bringing the respective key parties closer together, with an opportunity to deliver real sustainable and beneficial regeneration at Brent Cross and Cricklewood. 

My holding objection to the current planning application may therefore be reviewed in due course, in the light of these emerging issues and firming up of commitments from the applicant.

I would be grateful if the Secretary of State would take into account my strategic comments and these further representations, together with the contents of the attached appended documents.

I look forward to a speedy re-determination of the Secretary of State’s decision to enable matters to move forward positively and swiftly. [Still waiting, still waiting...]

Ken Livingstone, Mayor of London

Someone else's comment: Well, ten years later, we are more or less back with the 'solus retail extension', are we not?