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


The Economist: "America’s modern suburbs look like cities but feel like villages"

"Instant, ready-made downtowns bulldoze the distinction between city and suburb"

Link to web site

"American suburbs don't come much more ordinary than Sunrise. In street after street, modest single-storey houses sit behind grass yards dotted with bougainvillea bushes and palm trees. Each house has a mailbox on a pole, with a little red flag to signal when it is full. Sunrise is so similar to other Florida suburbs that when it was built, in the 1960s, the developer lured visitors with a gimmick: an upside-down house, with upside-down plants and an upside-down car in the driveway.

"What is being built now seems odder even than that. On the edge of Sunrise, next to the Florida Everglades, work has begun on a modernist 28-storey block of flats. Seven other tall towers will soon rise around it, along with offices, car parks and a shopping street including restaurants and a cinema. Erick Collazo of Metropica Holdings, the developer, says the idea is to build a downtown in suburbia. Metropica, as the 26-hectare complex is called, will not really be a downtown. Because of what it suggests about the future of cities and suburbs, it will be more interesting than that."

Barnet's 2010 Corrupt Planning Consent: Argent Related's 'Brent Cross South': "The consultation website for the redevelopment of the former Waterloo International Terminal" (well, that's what Soundings's HTML code says)

[meta name="description" content="The consultation website for the redevelopment of the former Waterloo International Terminal"]

[div class="comingsoon"][h1]Website coming soon[/h1][/div]

Can't wait.
It needs to justify why it is 'consultation'
whereas it is really just implementing Hammerson's
2014 planning consent up to 2031.

Barnet council announcing Waterloo station regeneration


Croydon Advertiser: "The careering juggernaut of the Westfield/Hammerson development has swerved in another surprising direction"

Link to web site

"After we posted the story on our Facebook site, a significant number of readers declared 'we'll believe it when we see it', or words to that effect.

"Repeated setbacks at the Whitgift redevelopment appear to have created a cold cynicism among some Croydon residents unwilling to get too carried away until the ribbon is cut on the new centre, pencilled in for 2020/21."

[Reposted from Feb 2011] Property Week: Extension of Westfield White City. (Has John Lewis given up on Brent Cross?)

Link to 'Property Week' (limited free access)

"Westfield has revealed it is looking to submit a planning application for the extension of its Westfield London shopping centre in White City later this year.

"A 20-acre site to the north of the shopping centre is expected to be developed as a mixed-use site, comprising retail and residential space.

"It is thought Westfield could be in talks with John Lewis about occupying space in the extension. John Lewis is currently fitting out its 240,000 sq ft anchor store at Westfield’s new Stratford shopping centre."

"London without old people is just a factory floor, with no past and no future"

"The capital is a cruel city for the elderly if they are not in the moneyed 1%. Old age has separated me from much of the city that once gave me happiness – but it doesn’t need to be this way"

Link to The Guardian

"When I was younger, a visit to London always charged my soul with a sense that anything was possible and that all could be overcome through pluck, determination and defiance in the face of insurmountable odds. I guess I felt that way because I was first introduced to London during the second world war.

"Back then the city behaved like the capital of a great nation should during a time of conflict: with dignity and perseverance. London stood as a beacon of hope to all of its inhabitants and citizens of Britain. Both young and old felt connected to London’s destiny and that meant everyone believed they were an integral part of this dynamic city. Everyone put their shoulder to the wheel to help London survive those dark days.

"Time has moved on and London in 2016 is not threatened by Hitler's bombs. But other threats do imperil this city’s reputation as a metropolis which can be considered both a beacon for excellence and an inclusive home to all its residents regardless of wealth, ability or age. London – like the world – has become more polarised by wealth and status than it has since the days of my boyhood in the late 1920s and 30s. Now London venerates youth and elitism rather than the common-sense wisdom that can be acquired through a long life."

The Economist: "London’s property woes are getting worse: Faulty land-use regulation is throttling the capital"

Link to web site

"AT FIRST glance London looks unstoppable. It is the most important city in Europe, perhaps the world. In the past decade its economy has grown twice as fast as Britain's and its population 50% faster. Scratch the surface, however, and its situation looks less good. The motor of the British economy is becoming less productive and more unequal. The fundamental problem is how land is used and regulated.

"Over the last full economic cycle, from 1993 to 2008, the cost of a hectare of residential land in London increased by more than 300% in real terms, to more than £8m ($15m). Commercial-property prices rocketed up as well. Now less-productive industries are moving out. The supply of floor space put to industrial uses such as factories and warehousing has fallen by half in the past five years, suggest data from JLL, a property firm. At the same time London's population is growing more skilled. Over the past decade the proportion of people with university degrees has increased much more quickly inside the capital than outside it."

Link to web site
The Guardian:
"Onerous planning regulations and cheap debt pushed house prices into the stratosphere – and it’s in the interests of the political elite to keep them there"
"House prices have risen by 10% in the last year, the Halifax announced last week. Whoopeedoo. What that means is that the intergenerational wealth divide just rose by another 10% – and anyone born after 1985 is going to find it 10% harder to ever buy a home.

"There is perhaps no greater manifestation of the wealth gap in this country than who owns a house and who doesn't, and yet it's so unnecessary. Ignoring land prices for the moment, houses do not cost a lot of money to build – a quick search online shows you can buy the materials for a three-bed timber-framed house for less than £30,000; in China a 3D printer can build a basic home for less than £3,000 – and the building cost of the houses we already have has long since been paid.

"How can it be that, in the liberal, peaceful, educated society that is 21st-century Britain, a generation is priced out? These are not times of war, nor are they, for the most part, periods of national emergency, so why should one couple be able to settle down and start a family and another not, by virtue of the fact that one was born 15 years earlier than the other?"


The Guardian: "If BHS can fold, then how safe are M&S and John Lewis?"

"The problems that finally killed off British Home Stores could easily apply to other department stores we regard as institutions"

Link to web site

"It has been a fixture on so many high streets. It has traded for 88 years. But today, British Home Stores is going into administration, with the loss of 11,000 jobs. In retrospect, its fate was probably sealed a year ago, when the entrepreneur Philip Green sold the company for the token sum of £1.

"... You can say, all worldly wise, that it was bound to fail. But will it be a one-off? I doubt it. That description of BHS – enormous spaces, prominent positions on the high street, the attempts to please everyone, the regular rebranding, the diversification – applies also to others. M&S would be one – might it one day become food-only? Debenhams? Even, dare I say it, the sainted John Lewis?

"It could be that the classic department store is in decline, not just because of technology, but because of changing habits and taste. How many of the shops regarded as institutions will still be around in, say, 20 years' time?"


The Observer: "Where have all Britain’s shoppers gone?"

"Incomes may have risen, but we’re not splashing cash on the high street – and it's not just because of Brexit"

Link to web site

"Shopping is the national pastime. High streets, malls and retail parks have long been places people went for a day out, rather than on a mission to buy a particular item, and their spending helped lift the country out of recession. But a big drop in footfall – the number of people visiting high street and retail centres – over the past year has exposed fresh cracks in the high street, leaving retail chiefs wondering where all their customers have gone.

"Analysts are reporting declines in the number of shopper visits to high streets and shopping centres around the country of as much as 10% in some cities over the past year. Worries about the economic outlook, coupled with the rise of internet shopping, jitters about the EU referendum and more spending on eating out and leisure leave little cash left over for splurging in the shops.

" 'There is a lot of nervousness around [among retailers],' says Tim Denison, retail analyst at Ipsos Retail Performance. 'People have had more disposable income but retailers have not been as successful as they could have been in taking their share. Instead any spare money has gone on leisure and holidays rather than pure retail spend'."


London news: Hammerson's Shopping Centre Plan Falls Apart

Link to web site
" 'It looks like Plan A has been abandoned as undeliverable and they expect to have to do a whole new planning application,' said David Wickens, whose work included delivering the biggest engineering project yet seen in the borough, Tramlink.

"The proposals are all about the dreaded two-bedroom flats to finance developments.

"The Compulsory Purchase Order might also have to be repeated due to the increased housing element and perhaps less justification for the retail side.

" 'This is so disappointing for Croydon, but I have to say somewhat expected,' Wickens said.

"The Croydon Partnership which has submitted the revised scheme is the shotgun marriage between the two giant mall development companies, Westfield and Hammerson, formed for the purpose of the development in Croydon. The Partnership announced on Wednesday that it had increased the cost of the scheme by 40 per cent, to £1.4billion, and that it would double the number of flats… sorry, 'luxury executive apartments', that it intended to build to 1,000. It has also increased the number of floors for retail by one-third, and that its principal 'anchor store' was revealed to be a branch of (cue drum roll)… Marks and Sparks."

L&Q Housing Association: Report on Use of Outdoor Spaces

"The research indicates that a key barrier to greater use of the outdoor spaces is that the purpose of the space is unclear, and as a result it is putting people off using the spaces or wanting anyone else to use them. The lack of clarity about the purpose of these spaces is creating tension as people’s different expectations are not being met.

"The interviews revealed that management approach is usually to identify the cause of the problem and prohibit or prevent the problematic activity so that the source of conflict is removed.

"However as a result of this management strategy, the outdoor spaces are becoming more like ornaments, peaceful places for looking at, as opposed to a functional social resource.

"Despite the incremental restriction on uses, this 'look but don’t touch' feel of the spaces seems to have been intentionally integrated into the design."

London Assembly Election: Brent Cross: Rubbish Hammerson and Rubbish Argent


Daily Telegraph: "We must build on the green belt to end this housing crisis. Will any politician have the guts?"

Link to web site

" 'London needs a million new homes,' declared the London mayoral candidate known as Prince Zylinkski, who carries a cavalry sword inherited from his father and once challenged Nigel Farage to a duel. 'I'm the only person who can do it. The others are timewasters.'

Mr Zylinski's pitch drew laughs from the audience at this week's BBC mayoral debate. But they also appeared to agree with him. Asked whether any of the candidates promising to build 50,000 homes a year would actually do it, just one person in the audience raised his hand, tentatively.

It is not just London. The whole country is suffering from a chronic shortage of houses. England has been building about 100,000 to 170,000 houses a year for over two decades. Its estimated need is for 250,000 to 300,000 a year – and that’s just to keep prices steady.

Unsurprisingly, prices keep rising. Home ownership peaked more than a decade ago. In much of the south, simply getting planning permission to build houses on a patch of farmland increases its value a thousand-fold. Something is deeply wrong."


[Reposted] Croydon Advertiser and The Curious Case of The Corruption That Didn't Happen

"Insiders have suggested Mayor Johnson could use his planning powers as a lever in getting either Westfield or Hammerson to withdraw from the Croydon scene.

"... Hammerson has planning permission for an expansion of its shopping centre in Brent Cross, but it is understood conditions imposed have made going ahead uneconomic.

"The suggestion is that the Mayor could help relax those conditions. Hammerson could proceed, and decide to forsake its ambitions for the Whitgift Centre [in return]."

Link to 'Croydon Today'
(picture: David Cook)

'Croydon Today':
"Croydon's architecture: Iconic or eyesore?"

"A RECENT post on Twitter read:
"Croydonisation' – architectural ruining of a town centre. Image issue cited by Croydon's director of regeneration Tony Antoniou."
"Mr Antoniou had been speaking at an event organised by New London Architecture, a series of conferences and exhibitions about regeneration.

"...The council released a statement:
"Part of the discussion about Croydon's future regeneration is honestly appraising the mistakes of the past.

Like most of our residents, the council is under no illusion that parts of the town centre in particular have suffered from design mistakes, that must not be repeated."

6 June 2012 Update:
The missing Croydon Advertiser story has reappeared on its website today, here.

Road.cc: "Safer cycle infrastructure possible after signage rule changes"

Link to web site

"The Department of Transport (DfT) has made long-awaited changes (link is external) to infrastructure regulations, meaning mandatory bike lanes and low level traffic lights can now be used without a special application to central government, while parallel pedestrian-and-cycle zebras can be legally introduced for the first time, making Dutch-style roundabouts possible in the UK.

"Changes to the TSRGD (Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions), which take effect on 22 April, were finally approved six years after the signage review began. At least two councils, frustrated by lengthy delays, illegally introduced cycle-friendly infrastructure in the interim.

"Phil Jones, of Phil Jones Associates, is a transport planner and traffic engineer who trains councils on cycle friendly infrastructure. He calls the changes 'significant', and says there is no reason, from the 22 April, why every new bike lane shouldn't be mandatory, rather than advisory, giving cyclists legal protection against encroaching traffic, and says people should be asking for these improvements from their local councils."


[Reposted] Hammerson's broken promises: (1) We are in it for the long term; (2) The Brent Cross development will not require subsidy; (3) We are a talented and competent outfit, not a bunch of clowns.

New Brent Cross Thameslink station (and for London Overground, from Old Oak Common?)
2008: Thameslink Programme (TLP) and Department for Transport (DfT) agree service pattern for station at 8tph peak, 4tph off-peak
2009: URS business case establishes positive BCR for station
2010-2012: Design integration with TLP GRIP 3 review and GRIP4
May 2012: DfT consultation on the TSGN franchise refers to the new station
June 2012: TLP review confirmed service pattern at 8tph proceed in 2011 version of the 2018 development timetable
Jan 2013: Brent Cross Cricklewood (BXC) GRIP3 report submitted to Network Rail (NR)
July 2013: NR / DfT confirm up to 8tph could stop
Sept 2013: NR confirmation BXC document in TSGN Franchise Data Room [don’t ask]
Nov 2013: NR validates URS station core cost estimate
Aug 2014: NR peer review of station design: Confirmed construction wiork feasible, subject to stage gate close out [no idea] GRIP 3; funding; risk management; access; and stakeholder management
Oct 2014: NR Investment Panel approval
Nov 2014: Stakeholder workshop to agree stakeholder requirements (input from route requirements document)
Nov 2014: Network services agreement with NR signed
Nov 2014 – Jan 2015: Initial GRIP3 review of existing GRIP3 proposals, including train services modelling, demand forecasting and business case development to identify preferred station design which meets client requirements
Feb 2015: Preferred scheme and updated cost estimate
July 2015: Complete GRIP3 AIP [?] and contracting strategy
Dec 2015: Network change
April 2016: GRIP4 detailed design
Dec 2017 – May 2021: GRIP6 – 7 Construction, testing and commissioning
May 2021: Station open (proposed opening date)
May 2021 – Dec 2022: Grip 8 Project close out (contractual close, 1 year).


[Reposted from Mar 2015] Barnet Eye: "New Brent Cross Station - nailing the lie"

"I'm Richard. Click me."

"... Sadly, there is plenty that this Barnet press release doesn't clarify. In fact it raises more questions than it answers.

"Firstly, the station is not in Brent Cross shopping centre. It is over 1/4 of a mile from it (as the crow flies). What provision will there be for shoppers to traverse the A406 and M1 entrance to get from the shops to the station?

"There is also talk that the existing station at Cricklewood may have to shut as part of the scheme. This would be a major blow to the existing shops and High Street businesses."

Exclusive: Image of Hammerson and Argent's build-out of Barnet's corrupt 2010 Brent Cross planning consent

Barnet Press and Barnet Times - Hapless Hammerson's Brent Cross Shopping Centre illegal flyposting

And just for the hell of it, the recent Evening Standard letter again...


Tues 12 April: "Is Neighbourhood Planning for Cricklewood?"

"Would you like to have a say in how our neighbourhood will be in 5, 10, 15 years time?"

"A way to do this is for local residents, business, community groups and organisations to set up a Neighbourhood Forum and together work on a neighbourhood plan. Once the neighbourhood plan is approved by referendum, it would have legal weight on future planning decision making.

"In our last meeting, we had James Earl, Fortune Green and West Hampstead Forum Chairman, who shared with a group of residents his experience in setting up their own Neighbourhood Forum, working on and having approved their neighbourhood plan. After he left, those present agreed that it would be positive for our area to apply to Barnet for a Neighbourhood Forum designation.

"What still remains unclear are the boundaries of the proposed Neighbourhood Area.

"For this reason we invite residents associations, community groups, local organisations and individuals affected by the Brent Cross South regeneration to join our working meeting tomorrow evening (12th April 2016) to: 
  • learn about neighbourhood planning for an update on our previous neighbourhood planning discussions
  • have an opportunity to share views on what should the criteria be to define our Neighbourhood Area
  • hear other views."
6.30-8.30pm. Whitefield School, room IT5. (Turn right when you enter the schools main gates and enter via main school reception.)
Tea, coffee and some nibbles will be provided.

Next meetings:
  • Thursday 14th April – Heritage and Local Memories, Whitefield School, Room IT5 3-5pm
  • Thursday 28th April – Neighbourhood Planning – Whitefield School, Room IT5 3-5pm.
These regular meetings take place every second Tuesday (6.30-8.30 pm), second Thursday (3-5pm) and every fourth Thursday (3.00-5.00 pm) of every month until the end of June 2016.
These meetings are funded by the Community Organisers Mobilisation Grant and kindly hosted by Whitefield School.

For further information please contact Luisa at 0777 366 0938 or luisa(@)clitterhouse(dot)com


MayorWatch: "The Tory vision for estate regeneration in London" by Cllr Ross Houston, Deputy Leader of Labour Group and Housing Spokesperson, LB of Barnet

Link to web site

"How did it all go wrong in West Hendon? [Part of the borough's same Supplementary Planning Guidance as Brent Cross.]

"The original estate had 680 council homes at social rent – a promise was given to replace all 680, and this was one of the reasons the council decided to sell the land to the developers for just £3. Unfortunately, the developers came back some years later with a plan to reduce the number of social rented homes down to only 250, and all because of ‘viability’.

"It's taken the council well over a decade to proceed with the regeneration. In that time all vacant council homes have been re-let to homeless families on non-secure tenancies. A third of council tenants on the estate are now non-secure tenants who have been living there for up to 12 years but will not be re-housed in the new development. They often face multiple moves and school changes and may be re-housed outside the borough.

"Residents feel left out of the scheme design and alienated from the process. Non-secure council tenants have no place in the new community. Residents feel betrayed by broken promises. We know that many of the new flats have been sold off-plan to overseas investors and won’t be helping Londoners buy a home to live in."

The Observer: "Boris Johnson’s dire legacy for London"

"As London mayor Boris Johnson prepares to leave City Hall, pity his successor, faced with ill-planned developments that could turn the capital into one of the highest-density cities on the planet"

Link to web site

"When Boris Johnson first ran for London mayor, in 2008, he promised not to create 'Dubai-on-Thames', the parade of riverside towers intended by his rival, Ken Livingstone. Oh no, of course not. What the city is actually getting, as he prepares to leave for possibly higher office, is a Dubai-on-Westbourne, -on-Lee, -on-Effra, -on-Bollo Brook, -on-Quaggy, and indeed on most of the obscure tributaries and secondary rivers of the capital, as well as on the Thames, and many of the spaces between them. For, as is possibly now dawning on a wider public, it is hopelessly naive to believe that Johnson believes something when he says it. You didn’t think he really meant it, did you? Ha ha ha. What a card he is.

"It's not just about tall buildings, although the number of towers higher than 20 storeys proposed for London now stands at more than 400. It’s also about bloated, bulging, light-blocking buildings of medium height, and about the limited attempts to insist on design quality, or to get new developments to create neighbourhoods that are more than a sum of their parts, or have any meaningful relationships with the areas into which they are inserted.

"In the dying days of the Johnsonian empire, several proposals indicate the sort of city he is leaving behind. Some are hoping for a final signoff before he goes, in the manner of outgoing American presidents pardoning their disreputable mates, or to benefit from the inattention of the election and interregnum. Some will be in the in-tray of his dazed successor."


[Reposted from Mar 2015] Brent Cross railway station no longer a private sector provision: 'Capitalism on the way up, Socialism on the way down'

Link to Evening Standard

"George Osborne will press the accelerator in his Budget tomorrow on plans to tackle the capital’s housing shortage by building 400,000 homes.

The Evening Standard understands the key commitments will include:
  • The Mayor of London to be given new powers over 50 riverside wharves which are currently governed by Whitehall regulations, allowing City Hall to negotiate for new developments in consultation with Londoners.
  • A £97 million down-payment for a new station at Brent Cross which will help lead to the construction of 7,500 homes and support 27,000 jobs.
  • A £7 million injection of public money for the Croydon growth zone, aiming to create 4,000 homes and 10,000 jobs.
  • Funding worth £1 million for the new London Land Commission to help create a Domesday Book of surplus public sector land and brownfield sites that can be taken over for redevelopment."

Barnet Press: Green Party Air Monitoring around Hammerson's Brent Cross, plus Barnet Council and West Hendon


The revolving door forever spins: Barnet needs another 'Strategic Lead, Growth and Development' goon for its corrupt 2010 Brent Cross planning consent

"Barnet is a great place to live and do business, with a high quality suburban environment, including excellent transport links, high performing schools, and attractive parks and green spaces. [Good, so far.]
"However, the borough is growing fast with one of the biggest, most exciting regeneration programmes in the country, including Brent Cross/Cricklewood. The challenge is to accommodate growth whilst maintaining the qualities which residents value so highly. [Just blindly push through the secretly-created 2002 masterplan and corrupt 2010 planning consent, and take the bloody salary.]
"You will be responsible for working closely with partners to progress our ambitious growth and regeneration agenda, including housing development on the Council’s own land. A proven and visible leader, you will be comfortable using your influencing skills to develop and commission excellent outcomes. You will bring a strong track record of achievement and from the outset will play a key role in helping us to achieve our vision." [No-one else has been able to. That's no surprise given how arrogant, unsustainable, and now financially-risky to the borough it is.]
For a confidential and informal discussion about the post contact our advising consultant at GatenbySanderson, Ben Cox on 020 7426 3997 or visit www.gatenbysanderson.com/job/GSe26630
Closing date: 25th April 2016

Transparency International: "Paradise Lost: Ending the UK’s role as a safe haven for corrupt individuals, their allies and assets"

Link to PDF file

"Paradise Lost is a thorough analysis of the UK’s role in global corruption, outlining the multitude of ways in which the UK is enabling corrupt individuals to enjoy luxury lifestyles and cleanse their reputations. This includes:
  • The ability to buy UK property anonymously through foreign companies
  • The UK’s Overseas Territories offering secretive company ownership
  • Lack of powers for law enforcement to seize stolen assets
  • Role of UK based accountants, lawyers, estate agents and other 'professional enablers' in making it easy for corrupt individuals to hide their cash
  • An anti-money laundering system that is easy to bypass in order to launder money with impunity.
"Key recommendations include: 
  • Ensure the UK's Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies introduce centralised public registers of beneficial ownership, and ensure corrupt individuals cannot buy UK property with impunity
  • Act on unexplained wealth by increasing the capabilities of the UK's asset recovery regime to seize corrupt funds
  • Fix the flaws in the UK’s anti-money laundering regime – overhauling the supervision of the rules, and prosecuting complicit professional enablers.
"The Panama Papers and the UK’s complicity:
  • Of the 214,000 corporate entities exposed, over half were registered in the British Virgin Islands
  • Our research showed 36,000 properties in London are owned by companies registered in offshore jurisdictions
  • The UK was the second most popular place for the Mossack Fonseca firm to operate. According to the ICIJ, Mossack Fonseca worked with 1,924 UK professional enablers to set up companies, foundations and trusts for customers."

Financial Times image


The Independent: "The Panama Papers expose how the global elite ruined the housing market and stopped you from buying a home"

"UK property valued at £170bn is held by overseas investors. While the wealthiest hold their spoils in empty property, the cost of living goes up for everyone"

Link to web site

"Even before the leak of the Panama Papers this week, we knew it was happening. So widespread is the use of central London property as a safe haven for the spoils of the world’s elite that the government had already promised to do something about it. The problem is, it promised so little.

Last year, speaking in Singapore, David Cameron was forced to acknowledge that foreign investment in British housing stock was damaging to the housing market and provided a cover for illegal activities. He agreed to crack down on individuals and organisations using the mask of offshore companies to invest in the UK property market as a means to launder what he called 'dirty money'. He described how London property was being snapped up with 'plundered and laundered cash' and promised that the UK should not be a 'safe haven for corrupt money'. But it wasn’t enough.

In making the speech, Cameron was responding to a growing realisation that, in ushering in foreign investment, the government had also welcomed in a wealthy elite that objected to transparency in its financial dealings. Did we really know what, or who, we were dealing with? More importantly, did we understand how significant an effect their secret spending with the global luxury real estate brokers of Mayfair was having on everyone else, right down to the family trying to buy a modest two-bedroom semi in Chelmsford?"