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


Thanks to Barnet's OFFICIAL policy of "Roads, roads, roads and roads", consultations like this in NORTH London are a bit thin on the ground...

Link to Transport for London

"London is growing and its population is expected to exceed 10 million by 2030. This will create more demand for public transport across London. Whilst we are already investing billions of pounds, further investment is required.

"Growth in southeast London is forecasted in areas such as Lewisham, Catford, New Cross and the Old Kent Road. It will also occur in parts of outer London such as Bromley.

"In southeast London, public transport is also crowded in places and many of the roads are congested. Predicted population growth will further increase the pressure on the area’s rail and road networks.

"To address these issues, we are considering options for extending the Bakerloo line into southeast London from its current end point at Elephant & Castle." [Extending London Overground from New Cross is also being considered.]


The Guardian: "Hammerson slides 2% after surprise £400m fundraising"

Link to web site

"Property group Hammerson has slipped back after unveiling a surprise* fundraising of around £400m. [*As in: "Ooo!"]

"Hammerson plans to place up to 71.3m new shares with institutional investors, to help buy out its joint venture partner in Leicester's Highcross shopping centre, as well as to expand in Europe.

"It is paying £280m to buy the Royal Mail pension plan's 40% stake in Highcross, £70m for an investment in VIA Outlets which has bought sites in several cities including Prague and Amsterdam, and £30m to Value Retail to fund extensions at Bicester Village and Kildare Village outlet centres."

Until Sun 9 November: TfL: "Have your say on segregated Cycle Superhighways through central London"

"We are proposing two continuous, largely segregated cycle routes through central London.

"Our proposals have been designed to provide clear and convenient routes for cyclists, physically separated from other vehicles. We would create space for the new Superhighways by reallocating road space from other traffic and changing the operation of some junctions." [Click on images.]

Cyclists in the City: "Major corporates, investors, London's hospitals and air ambulance are starting to support new Cycle Super Highways. But there are [secret] briefings against London's new cycle network"

"Just some of the
 employers and investors who have so far issued statements of support
 for the Cycle Super Highways"

"According to a press briefing that has been sent to a large number of businesses and journalists in London, Boris Johnson's planned Cycle Super Highways will:
  • 'be extremely damaging to London'

  • lead to 'significant increase in traffic in outer London'

  • 'put the safety of cyclists, pedestrians and drivers at risk'.

"This press briefing has been sent to all sorts of influential people, and it is as misleading as it is poorly-researched. It presents subjective opinion as fact and it is full of falsehoods. My understanding (from two different sources) is that this briefing document has been circulated by Canary Wharf Group PLC. You can review the briefing yourself via this link [also below].

"Now, it is important to mention that several of London's large employers are actively supporting the Cycle Super Highways. Just some of the companies that I'm aware of are shown in the image below and you can see their statements on the CyclingWorks website. As you can see, some of London's major real estate players - Jones Lang LaSalle, Knight Frank and Barratt Homes - have already come out in support of the Cycle Super Highways. Deloitte, a massive employer, has also come out in support.

"Only yesterday, Knight Frank, published a report on the effectiveness of global cities, praising cycle tracks and the need to invest in Cycle Super Highways.Plenty of other big employers (and, interestingly, plenty of big real estate players) are preparing their own letters of support to the consultation.

"NHS Barts (which runs the Royal London) and the London Air Ambulance have both come out in support of the Cycle Super Highways by the way. A number of London's other big hospitals will be adding their support next week."


New Scientist: "World on track for worst-case warming scenario" (Helped, of course, by the effects of the corrupt Brent Cross planning application)

Link to web site

"Presidents, prime ministers and ministers flying into New York City [last Tuesday] for a one-day United Nations summit on climate change had their work cut out for them. And this is why. As the graph above shows, despite everything they have done so far, we are on a clear course to extreme global warming.

"Since the ignominious 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, over a hundred nations have pledged action on emissions. The world has seen a major shift away from coal in favour of gas, which emits fewer greenhouse gases. Solar panels have become much, much cheaper and are being deployed in regions around the world, as are other renewable sources of energy. But the latest number-crunching – published on Sunday in Nature Climate Change – showed that none of this is enough.

" 'Our study shows no progress in curbing global carbon emissions,' says Corinne Le Quéré at the University of East Anglia in the UK. Global carbon emissions from fossil fuel burning and cement production grew 2.3 per cent in 2013. They are expected to increase a further 2.5 per cent this year. 'And they are projected to be around that for the next five years,' says Le Quéré. 'There is no progress in spite of all the talk'."


Until 24 Nov: TfL: "Have your say on a proposed London Overground station at Old Oak" (But the Dudding Hill Line link to the corrupt Brent Cross planning application area is not currently featured!)

Mayor of London's earlier plan:
Linking Old Oak Common to Brent Cross and Hendon Thameslink

22 Sept 2014 plan: Link to web site

"We are looking for your views on the principle of creating a new London Overground station at Old Oak and on three options to connect it with the HS2, National Rail and Crossrail station. All three options are feasible, but offer different levels of passenger benefits and local impacts."

"The connections made possible as a result of adding a
London Overground station to the Old Oak interchange."
(Where's the Dudding Hill Line?)


The Guardian: "Construction competition: Lodha Group plans £3bn push into London property" (Not, of course, making use of the corrupt Brent Cross Cricklewood planning application)

"India's biggest housing developer wants to develop capital properties ranging from mid-market to super-prime"

Link to web site

"UK housebuilders could face aggressive competition in London from the Indian developer Lodha Group, which is planning a £3bn push into property in the capital, according to the Financial Times.

"India's biggest housing developer, which last year bought the former Canadian high commission building in Mayfair for £306m, wants to develop properties ranging from mid-market to super-prime. Abhishek Lodha, managing director, told the FT:
"We want to be among the top two developers in London in the next five years."

[Reposted] To Thurs 16 Oct: "Long term transport strategy - public consultation" (It's Brent. Barnet has been "roads, roads, roads, roads" [Cllr. Coleman])

Link to survey

"LB of Brent is currently consulting on our Long Term Transport Strategy (2015 to 2035).

"The strategy has been developed to allow us to plan for future investment in transport throughout the borough for the next 20 years.

"This is your chance to let us know your thoughts on things like cycling in the borough, public transport and the proposed HS2.

"The consultation will run from Thursday 21 August 2014 to Thursday 16 October 2014.

"To take part in the consultation, fill in an online form or you can attend one of our public exhibitions being held at Brent Civic Centre on:
  • Thursday 25 September, 5pm to 8pm
  • Friday 26 September, 10am to 4pm
  • Saturday 4 October, 11am to 4pm
"For more information, please contact our transport planner: Christopher McCanna by email christopher.mccanna@brent.gov.uk or by phone 020 8937 5424."

TickerReport.Com: "Jefferies Group Reiterates 'Hold' Rating for Hammerson plc (HMSO)"

"Jefferies Group restated their hold rating on shares of Hammerson plc (LON:HMSO) in a report issued on Monday. They currently have a GBX 625 ($10.20) target price on the stock.

"... Shares of Hammerson plc (LON:HMSO) opened at 598.50 on Monday. Hammerson plc has a 52-week low of GBX 486.10 and a 52-week high of GBX 620.50. The stock’s 50-day moving average is GBX 602.0 and its 200-day moving average is GBX 584.3. The company’s market cap is £4.261 billion.

"A number of other analysts have also recently weighed in on HMSO. 
Analysts at AlphaValue reiterated a reduce rating on shares of Hammerson plc in a research note on Thursday. They now have a GBX 572 ($9.33) price target on the stock. 

Separately, analysts at Deutsche Bank reiterated a hold rating on shares of Hammerson plc in a research note on Wednesday, September 17th. They now have a GBX 530 ($8.65) price target on the stock. 

Finally, analysts at Liberum Capital upgraded shares of Hammerson plc to a buy rating in a research note on Tuesday, September 16th. They now have a GBX 664 ($10.83) price target on the stock, up previously from GBX 643 ($10.49). 

One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have assigned a hold rating and five have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The stock has a consensus rating of Hold and an average price target of GBX 611.67 ($9.98).

Hammerson plc is a real estate investment trust (LON:HMSO).

Stay on top of analysts' coverage with Analyst Ratings Network's FREE daily email newsletter that provides a concise list of analysts' upgrades and downgrades. Click here to register now.

Scientific American:
Financial Flimflam:
Why Economic Experts' Predictions Fail

"Why are experts (along with us non-experts) so bad at making predictions?

"The world is a messy, complex and contingent place with countless intervening variables and confounding factors, which our brains are not equipped to evaluate.

"We evolved the capacity to make snap decisions based on short-term predictions, not rational analysis about long-term investments, and so we deceive ourselves into thinking that experts can foresee the future.

"This self-deception among professional prognosticators was investigated by University of California, Berkeley, professor Philip E. Tetlock, as reported in his 2005 book Expert Political Judgment. 

After testing 284 experts in political science, economics, history and journalism in a staggering 82,361 predictions about the future, Tetlock concluded that they did little better than 'a dart-throwing chimpanzee'."


"Modernity Britain: A Shake of the Dice, 1959-62 by David Kynaston review – humorous, compassionate and shrewd"

" 'Don't forget the fruit gums, Mum!' – how we became a nation of consumers.

"Kynaston outlines how the late 1950s and early 1960s laid the foundations of modern materialism"

Link to The Guardian

"The author is now halfway through his sequence, which is scheduled to close with Margaret Thatcher's arrival in Downing Street in 1979. The emphasis on private virtues, on community loyalties, on apologetic decency is already receding. By the early 1960s many traditional notions of self-respect and self-restraint are beginning to be laughed at. Acquisitiveness, the proliferation of gimcrack modernity, the abuse of trade-union power, the decline of neighbourly responsibility all obtrude on Kynaston's narrative.

"While he recognises that improving prosperity alleviated hardships, and that consumerism brought worthwhile amenities to many households, he seems to feel saddened by a nation of unsuccessful materialists, behaving in unseemly ways, to buy objects that they do not really need and cannot reasonably afford.

"A Shake of the Dice
spotlights new trends among male factory workers that contributed to Labour's defeat in the general election of 1959. Researchers and pollsters reported rising material expectations, sharper acquisitive instincts and increased presumptions of personal economic security. Experiences of wartime dangers and National Service disruptions had intensified men's appreciation of marriage, domesticity, stability and home comforts. One working-class man is quoted as saying that mates at work 'are not pals'. The basis of working-class solidarity was shifting."

Link to web site

Financial Times:
"An epic social history moves into the age of municipal modernism"

" 'You can hear people eating celery next door,' claimed the married respondents to a University of Liverpool survey on conditions in some of the city’s new estates. Their neighbour, a machinist’s wife with two daughters, wished the corporation would 'put the roughs in the flats and the respectable ones in houses to look after the gardens.' Houses with gardens were what everyone wanted, yet flats, in the late 1950s and early 1960s, were what they got.

"Between 1959 and 1962 – the period documented in the second half of Modernity Britain, the third volume in David Kynaston’s so-far triumphant social history series – 60,000 houses a year were demolished or boarded up after being designated slums. This rate was far behind the targets set in the mid-1950s to rebuild and rehouse the millions of city dwellers living in poor-quality housing. These included families living in cellars, in terraces that shared a single running water pipe, and in houses with ancient, dangerous wiring.

"In terms of the civic and public realm there was, Kynaston argues, at least a partial popular appetite for such changes. The rise of self-service supermarkets is shown, through vox pops and diary entries, to have been not so much a sign of rampant, top-down modernity but a genuinely popular development among housewives and mothers who appreciated the choice, autonomy and freedom from judgment that wandering the aisles with a basket gave them."


Evening Standard: "Argent's David Partridge - it’s all change at Brent Cross with a greener, cleaner regeneration" (OK, King's Cross. It's still a Cross though.)

Link to web site

"Short, greying and intense, the managing partner of Argent, the King’s Cross property developer, has been planning for and managing the transformation since 2000, even though the now-defunct British Railways Board first chose four developers to prepare plans way back in 1987. He said:
“No one could have stood here 14 years ago and predicted what it would look like. But we really felt the excitement. The chance to seize a piece of the city like this was once-in-a-lifetime.”
"After a shaky start thanks to the recession, the building project —– co-owned by Argent, the BT Pension Scheme, state-owned property group London Continental Railways and logistics firm DHL — is halfway through.

"... Argent is already considering what comes next. It is one of three bidders to develop the last chunk of the Olympic Park at Stratford and is also keen on an opportunity that is opening up in Cricklewood. [What? Using the corrupt Brent Cross planning application?] Partridge is thinking of King’s Cross-type developments, only smaller. Mixed use, regeneration, retail; something that adds to the public realm." [Crikey.]

Planning Resource: "Stretching the city: how to build a new garden city"

Link to web site

"Having garden cities as the subject for a major national economics competition run by a Tory peer has focused attention on planning and the housing shortage. Lord Wolfson's economics prize was this year awarded to the best idea for a visionary, popular and economically viable garden city. The £250,000 prize went to planner David Rudlin, director of regeneration consultancy URBED, and his colleague Dr Nicholas Falk, an urban economist.

"Unlike most of the finalists, three of whom advocate stand-alone settlements, the winning entry does not propose a conventional garden city. The URBED entry instead argues for the expansion of existing settlements to double their size. A fictional town called Uxcester is used to show how this would work, increasing its population by 150,000 with the creation of three urban extensions.

"While for illustrative purposes Falk applies the ideas in detail to Oxford, the essay suggests the model could also be used to expand up to 40 towns and cities across the country, including Norwich and Reading.

"Rudlin asks why the UK no longer produces developments of the quality found on the continent. He argues that the UK housing market is dysfunctional, creating the priciest but also the smallest homes in Europe, often of poor quality. The 'fundamental issue' is land value, he writes, which rises hugely when allocated or granted permission for housing, and makes up most of the cost for developers. Speaking to Planning, Rudlin says:
"When permission is granted, the developer puts all the money into the land, and there is nothing left to build the sorts of places we admire in Germany and the Netherlands."

Barnet Times: The corrupt Brent Cross planning application, and a poor Peel Centre one


BBC: "I loved/loathed my 1960s high-rise block"

Link to web site

"A recent BBC on-line Magazine article looked back at the era of radical concrete - where the post-war landscape came to be dominated by high-rise buildings and new towns.

A collection of slides in the article provided a window into a time when optimistic town planners believed that society could be reinvented - although the period remains massively controversial.

Many accuse the town planners of having destroyed traditional neighbourhoods in an attempt to modernise society. Streets of terraced houses with tight-knit communities were torn down.

But for many people leaving slum housing these new towns and concrete blocks were often initially welcome.

The article prompted a significant response from readers, who wrote in with their own memories and experiences of living in these areas ..."

The Guardian: "Would Transport for London's property deal plans be a speculators' charter?"

"London MPs and others fear that new legislation could lead the capital’s transport body into disastrous ventures with property developers"

Link to web site

"Delivered to parliament way back in November 2010, the Transport for London Bill is a small piece of nascent legislation making extremely slow progress - towards what could be very big trouble indeed. That’s the view of those with large concerns about key aspects of the Bill. By contrast, Transport for London (TfL), the government and Boris Johnson say it will mean a better-funded TfL and less upward pressure on fares. Either way, the issues raised are large.

The idea is to give TfL greater freedom to make money out of the land it owns. There’s plenty of that land: it includes more than 500 sites with the potential to be developed, from which a good £1b is expected to be generated over the next ten years. 

"The transport body is, in fact, one of the capital’s largest landowners, and few disagree that with London’s population booming, TfL’s government grant shrinking and property prices on the rise, it makes sense to squeeze more money from all that precious and pricey real estate.

"The arguments are about how, how far and with whom TfL should go down that path.

"... Hammersmith MP Andy Slaughter characterised TfL’s involvement with Capco over Earls Court as being the origin of the unattractive parts of the Bill and an alarming pointer to the future (which includes another part of the Earls Court Project, as TfL owns a depot in the area).

"And it wasn’t only Labour MPs who were perturbed. Tory Christopher Chope, true to his history in London local government, said he’d prefer TfL to flog off its surplus land (as MOPAC is doing) but was firmly in favour of it sticking to its core business."

Urban Pamphleteer: Contemporary urban debate from diverse perspectives: "#2: London: Regeneration Realities"

The Guardian
"Is demolition ever the best way to regenerate?"

[Reposted] NICE LITTLE NEST-EGG! Well, well... ANOTHER reference to Brent Cross's Hammerson and an off-shore tax haven...

20 December 2012

"Purchase of Shares by the Trustees of the Hammerson Employee Share Ownership Plan (the 'Trust')"

"On 19 December 2012, Hammerson plc (the 'Company') received notification that Computershare Trustees (Jersey) Limited (being the trustees of the Trust) has acquired Ordinary shares of £0.25 each in the capital of the Company ('Ordinary shares') as detailed below:

Number of Ordinary shares purchased:
Average price paid per Ordinary share:
Date of Purchase:
18 December 2012

"It is intended that the shares will be used to satisfy exercises and releases of options and awards granted to employees of the Company under various employee share plans operated by the Company. [Is it indeed? Pip! Pip!]

"Following this purchase, the Trust holds 1,337,807 Ordinary Shares representing 0.19 per cent of the Company's issued Ordinary shares and total voting rights.

"General Counsel and Company Secretary"

Planning Resource: "Labour to look at planning department resourcing"

"The Labour Party is examining ways to get more resources into local authority planning departments, shadow planning minister Roberta Blackman-Woods has said."

Link to web site

"Speaking at the Planning for Housing conference, organised by Planning, Blackman-Woods said planning for housing was 'very close to Labour’s heart'.

"... Blackman-Woods said planning could not work for and with communities unless planning departments have the correct level of resources. She said:
"We can’t do any of that unless we have planning officers who have the time to be able to have those conversations with communities and who can encourage and support developers.

One of the things that we are very concerned about at the moment is the capacity of planning departments. Absolutely everybody talks to me about this, and so we really have to think, and we’ve addressed this a little with [Labour’s Housing Commission], of how we get more resources into planning departments, so they are able to undertake some of this preparatory work."

The Guardian: "The truth about property developers: how they are exploiting planning authorities and ruining our cities"

Link to web site

" 'I always said you should never trust a bank with property, or a property developer with money,' says Peter Rees. The former chief planner of the City of London should know about such things, having presided over the results of both. Over the last 30 years, he has ushered in a menagerie of their monuments, from the Gherkin and Cheesegrater to the Walkie-Talkie and Heron Tower, during which time he has seen a significant shift in the balance of power. 'When I arrived in the job in the 1980s, the big banks were in control of London,' he says. 'But now it’s the big house-builders. We’ve gone from being ruled by Barclay’s bank to being controlled by Berkeley homes.'

"... Developers have bounced back from the crash with bigger plans than ever before, acquiring vast areas of land with the ambition to operate like the great estates of yore. Framed with the cuddly terminology of “long-term stewardship” and “adding value”, they are merely mimicking those aristocratic fiefdoms, recasting the city as a network of privatised enclaves. The landed families of Grosvenor, Portman and Cadogan have been joined by a breed of corporate giants like Lend Lease, CapCo and Ballymore.

"The latter is overseeing the £2bn transformation of Nine Elms into a high-security zone of luxury flats around the new American embassy, that will apparently 'draw inspiration from the attractive residential and commercial estates which evolved over time in cities like New York and Boston'. CapCo is building its £8bn kingdom across a 30-hectare swathe of Earls Court, while Lend Lease is ruling Elephant and Castle, Argent is reshaping Kings Cross, and most of Victoria is now controlled by Land Securities. The list goes on."

Barnet Bugle: "Boris v Dismore at London Assembly: Barnet Council transport schemes"

"Quite a few choice blows from either side"


Centre for London: "How London fails people on modest incomes"

"London is failing workers and families on modest incomes. Caught between a fiercely competitive labour market which keeps wages low, and a high cost of living, over 1 million Londoners are 'Endies': Employed with No Disposable Income or Savings.

Read the full report by Charles Leadbeater at centreforlondon.org "

Planning Resource: "Government outlines minimum space standards"

Link to web site

"The proposed set of space standards, set out in a government consultation, outline requirements for the gross internal floor area of new dwellings at a defined level of occupancy as well as floor areas and dimensions for key parts of the home, including bedrooms, storage and floor to ceiling height.

"Under the proposed space standards, the minimum gross internal floor area for a two-storey three bedroom house with four bedspaces would be 84 square metres, rising to 102 square metres with six bedspaces.

"The minimum gross internal floor area for a two bedroom single-storey dwelling with three bedspaces would be 61 square metres under the proposed standards, rising to 70 square metres with four bedspaces."

GOOD NEWS ON HOUSE PRICES: Daily Telegraph: "London houses now cost more than £500,000"

Link to web site

"A leap in the price of London homes in the year to July has seen their average value above £500,000 for the first time, official figures showed.

"Buying a typical home in the capital set buyers back £514,000 in July, as the average property value jumped by 19.1pc in the year, and into a higher stamp duty bracket.

"... For those looking to get on the property ladder, the combined figures indicate that the average first-time buyer has a salary of £51,500, while a typical deposit comes in at £33,400."


[Reposted and updated in Jan 2013 and Sep 2014] Light Rail across Outer North London?

[Sept 2014: Transport for London will shortly consult on London Overground expansion at Old Oak Common in west London. That may, or may not, include using the Dudding Hill freight line from there to Brent Cross and Hendon Thameslink. Watch this space!]

Not really (this is Croydon). 

The Brent Cross Coalition has promoted an outer-London 'Brent Cross Railway', based on the off-road 'Dockland Light Railway'.

In a city of nine million people, we believe there is sufficient public transport demand for an east-west rail connection across Brent, Barnet, Enfield/Haringey, and continuing further east.

We feel north London is better suited to DLR-type trains, rather than trams, because of existing railway corridors, and access to existing public land. 

Although trams can transform the street-scene of town centres for the better, they are very disruptive while being built.

The expanded 'North and West London Light Railway' has been unanimously supported in principle by Harrow, Brent and Ealing full council meetings. 

It might join Old Oak Common (Crossrail and High-Speed-Two) station in the west, to Alexandra Palace (Crossrail Two) station in the east, across the outer-London boroughs.

The fly in the ointment is, of course, Barnet. 

(Click on image for Old Oak Common video)
Link to LB of Hammersmith & Fulham video
by Sir Terry Farrell

[Jan 2013: Actually, there is a second fly in the ointment: The recent approval of a new rail-freight terminal at Radlett might make the Dudding Hill Freight Line across Brent unsuitable for light-rail use.  

(Transport for London already has suggested London Overground trains would be more appropriate there, anyway.)

Light-rail would still be possible across Barnet, and there might still be a way to link the Brian Coleman Light Railway with the Terry Farrell one.]


The Observer: " 'Endies': Employed with No Disposable Income are struggling in London"

"Centre for London report says a million workers can hardly make ends meet and feel politically disenchanted"

Link to web site

"If for London the 1980s was the decade of yuppies, now the capital finds itself home to the 'endies"'– Employed but with No Disposable Income or Savings.

"Feeling unloved, overworked and ignored, endies are becoming disillusioned with their lot, according to a report from the Centre for London that suggests there are now about a million modest earners in the capital.

" 'Hollow Promise: How London is Failing its Modest Earners and What Can Be Done About it' – which is based on quantitative research and in-depth interviews with families on modest incomes – paints what it claims is an alarming picture of the pressure on 'squeezed-middle' households, those on low to modest incomes who are not entitled to most benefits."

Tuesday 16 September 2014 6:30 pm
Report Launch: 'Hollow Promise'

with Charles Leadbeater, report author, London’s Hollow Promise

Margaret Hodge, MP for Barking and Dagenham

Fraser Nelson, Editor, The Spectator

"Centre for London launches invites you to the launch of London’s Hollow Promise: How the city fails people on modest incomes and what should be done about it.

"This new research by Charles Leadbeater examines the plight of London’s so-called ‘squeezed-middle’ households – workers and families earning low to modest incomes, and struggling to get by. This report looks at the way these households continue to cope with limited incomes and the financial pressures of austerity, exacerbated by the capital’s high cost of living.

"As well as new analysis of the issues involved, including housing and household expenditure patterns, this publication also outlines radical new measures which could help improve the quality of life for London’s modest earners.

"This report launch will take place 6.30pm-8.00pm, 16 September at Coin Street Conference Centre, South Bank. To book your place please register using this link."

Wembley Matters: Welsh Harp: "West Hendon Estate battles Barratts and Barnet"

Link to web site

"On Saturday 13 September, residents came out in force to assert their claim to be able to live in a peaceful, clean neighbourhood, without the noise and pollution impact of construction work on their doorstep. The neighbourhood was West Hendon estate on the bank of the Welsh Harp nature reserve. The contractor was Barratts Homes, determined to extend its real estate, with prior permission of Barnet Council and with all the nods and winks that came before that.

"Brent and Barnet Greens have been active on the campaign to preserve the habitat of Welsh Harp for several years, against the threat from over development on both sides of the council boundary and were visible at this protest. Discussion of the impact of this latest development on current tenants in social housing came to the fore last summer at a public meeting hosted at Brent Council (Brent Unites against Welsh Harp over-development). Unfortunately, despite the approval from Barnet, Brent did not mount a judicial review and it was unlikely residents would be able to afford to do so.

"I lent my megaphone to a resident who was driven around the estate to drum up a bit more people-power. We began obstructing the main gate to the construction site, as dozens of contractors started to arrive. Our spirits were up as we sang, 'Aint gonna do no work today'. A couple of vehicles were mounted up against the hoarding at the critical entrance and banners, and placards were mounted around."

Further actions are planned – please follow on facebook or @ourwesthendon #ourwesthendon


The Guardian: "Scotland’s vote is not about Braveheart or kilts or tribal nationalism. It’s about democracy"

"The independence debate has unleashed an exhilarating democratic passion. The challenge is to sustain it"

Link to the web site

"The Scottish independence referendum poses a very good question, but suggests an inadequate answer. The question is: where does power lie? This is not a marginal problem to pose in a 21st century democracy. It cuts to the heart of a deep crisis in the relationship between people and politics. But the answer implied on the ballot paper is a geographical one: power lies in either London or Edinburgh. Most Scots – and most of the rest of us – know that while this choice is far from meaningless, it also rather misses the point.

"... The Scottish referendum is ... a symptom of a much broader loss of faith in the ability of existing institutions of governance to protect people against unaccountable power. [Ah: The Barnet, Hammerson and Brent Cross connection!] 

"This is why the campaign is not particularly nationalistic: the loss of faith at its heart is Scottish and English and Irish and Welsh and European and American. The demand for independence just happens, for historical reasons, to be the form in which Scots are expressing a need that is felt around the developed world: the urgent necessity of a new politics of democratic accountability.

"And as symptoms go, this has been a rather healthy one. It is impossible to have visited Scotland in recent days and not to have been exhilarated by the sheer vigour of democratic engagement. Scotland at the moment is what a democracy is supposed to be: a buzzing hive of argument and involvement, most of it civil, respectful and deeply intelligent. This energy has been unleashed not by atavistic tribal passions but by a simple realisation: for once, the people have some power."

The Independent: "How traditional markets are fighting back"

"A host of radical ideas and local traders and producers are helping the original retail experience fight back against the internet shopping revolution"

Link to web site

"In an era of online shopping in which high streets are in decline and even a major retailer such as Tesco is struggling, the traditional town market may seem like little more than an outdated throwback to a medieval age. Yet thanks to our growing appetite for local produce – edible and otherwise – our desire to get up close and personal with local producers, and a new generation of innovative younger traders, the town market's fortunes are once more on the rise.

"For proof, look no further than the Northamptonshire town of Kettering, which hosted its second Teenage Market last Saturday – a day of stalls showcasing local young traders' talents, produce and innovative ideas for all ages."

A View From The Cycle Path: "Does free car parking make people drive cars? Certainly not when there is a better alternative"

Link to web site

"It's not unusual to hear calls from cyclists, especially cycling campaigners, for an increase in the price of car parking. The belief is that increasing the cost of driving is essential to prevent other people from choosing to drive cars, and it's usually assumed that this will somehow make those other people then choose to cycle. I've always found this to be a strange belief, especially when it is expressed by people who can well afford to park a car but who prefer to cycle because they enjoy it.

"My personal choice to cycle has never really been about saving money. I cycle because of convenience and because I find cycling to be pleasant. I've always believed that if other people could find cycling to be as convenient, safe and pleasant as I find it then this would enable those other people to make the same choice as I do. No-one needs to be forced to do something that they want to do anyway.

"Sadly, few places in the world offer people a genuinely free choice to cycle."