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Evening Standard: "Unflappable property company boss has a starring role in the Theatre of Retail"

"Hammerson's chief executive David Atkins with big plans for some of London's most popular shopping centres"

"... Hammerson is best known in London for Brent Cross. ... 'People love shopping centres,' Atkins says. 'Human beings are programmed to identify with real places in a way you can't get with a web site.'

"He cites Brent Cross, which will be 40 years old in a fortnight.

"... Hammerson is partnering with Westfield to deliver a much-needed redevelopment of Croydon's shopping centre, and has finally negotiated 'the minefield of the planning environment in the country', to extend and refurbish Brent Cross.

"I hazard a guess at how long the Brent Cross planning process took: four or five years? 'Try 15,' Atkins says. It's a mark of his calm personality that he doesn't get even remotely agitated on the subject, beyond deapanning; 'Let's just say that John Prescott [the secretary of state in charge of planning for much of the process] is not on my Christmas list.'

"The good news, he says, is that work will start soon in a project that includes building 7500 new homes to neighbouring Cricklewood. [sic]

"... With which parting patter, he buttons a thin overcoat up to his neck and paces out into the chill. I think he'll need a hot-water bottle." [continued.]

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