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


The Guardian: "Silicon Valley siphons our data like oil. But the deepest drilling has just begun"

"Personal data is to the tech world what oil is to the fossil fuel industry. That’s why companies like Amazon and Facebook plan to dig deeper than we ever imagined"

Link to web site

"Imagine if your supermarket watched you as closely as Facebook or Google. It would know not only which items you bought, but how long you lingered in front of which products and your path through the store. This data holds valuable lessons about your personality and your preferences – lessons that Amazon will use to sell you more stuff, online and off.

"Supermarkets aren't the only places these ideas will be put into practice. Surveillance can transform any physical space into a data mine. And the most data-rich environment, the one that contains the densest concentration of insights into who you are, is your home.

"That's why Amazon has aggressively promoted the Echo, a small speaker that offers a Siri-like voice-activated assistant called Alexa. Alexa can tell you the weather, read you the news, make you a to-do list, and perform any number of other tasks. It is a very good listener. It faithfully records your interactions and transmits them back to Amazon for analysis. In fact, it may be recording not only your interactions, but absolutely everything."


[Reposted] The Brent Cross Railway, and cunning plans since then

Link to PDF file

From 2008:
"A massive expansion is planned for the Brent Cross area of north London, with high-density retail, housing and commercial developments that will create a new 'Town Centre' on both sides of the North Circular Road. [By 2013, reduced to essentially the 1996 shopping centre expansion plan.]

"According to the Development Framework document, there will be more than 29,000 additional vehicle journeys at Brent Cross per day. That will have a serious impact on an area where congestion can already be severe. As we start to tackle global warming, urgent discussion is vital to substantially reduce car use in massive developments like this.

"While addressing the need for much better public transport at Brent Cross, there is an opportunity for a rapid transit system to also serve large parts of Barnet, Brent, Ealing, and beyond. Therefore this document proposes a Brent Cross Railway, as an east-west rapid transit system from Brent Cross (Northern Line), via the expanded Brent Cross Shopping Centre and Town Centre, to Neasden (Jubilee Line) and Harlesden (Bakerloo Line and Euston-Watford Overground).

Possible extensions southwards are to North Acton (Central Line), and/or Park Royal (Central and Piccadilly Lines), and/or Acton Main Line (Crossrail). A major project! [At this time, Old Oak Common wasn't even a twinkle in anyone's eye.]

"It would rely on financial contributions from the twenty-year development of Brent Cross Town Centre, and provide local regeneration, connection between underground lines, and access to the proposed Brent Cross Thameslink station, and to trains to Heathrow. It would also contribute generally towards a shift towards public transport, since much of it parallels the North Circular Road." [But the Brent Cross developers and the London Borough of Barnet have never been interested.]

Link to:


[Reposted from Jun 2011] Light-rail across north London? (There's an election coming)

 (Click to enlarge the image, and usually again to magnify)

('Haringey Journal')

This also made the west London media:

Our view:

"Follow the Money"

Boris's development sites ought to be used, collectively, to help fund an east-west light-rail line, across outer north London.

Click above to enlarge
('Transport 2025' map)

Click above to enlarge,
and also link to the 'North London Strategic Alliiance'

A suggested 'DLR-type' system for north London (instead of on-road trams) is described here.

In the west, it could start at either Ealing Broadway, or the proposed HS2/Crossrail station at Old Oak Common.

In the east, it could be extended beyond Finchley, along the wide North Circular Road corridor, to New Southgate and Arnos Grove stations.


The Guardian: "Electric cars are not the answer to air pollution, says top UK adviser"

"Prof Frank Kelly says fewer not cleaner vehicles are needed, plus more cycling and walking and better transit systems"

Link to web site

"Cars must be driven out of cities to tackle the UK’s air pollution crisis, not just replaced with electric vehicles, according to the UK government’s top adviser.

"Prof Frank Kelly said that while electric vehicles emit no exhaust fumes, they still produce large amounts of tiny pollution particles from brake and tyre dust, for which the government already accepts there is no safe limit.

"Toxic air causes 40,000 early deaths a year in the UK, and the environment secretary, Michael Gove, recently announced that the sale of new diesel and petrol cars will be banned from 2040, with only electric vehicles available after that. But faced with rising anger from some motorists, the plan made the use of charges to deter dirty diesel cars from polluted areas a measure of last resort only.

"Kelly's intervention heightens the government’s dilemma between protecting public health and avoiding politically difficult charges or bans on urban motorists. 'The government’s plan does not go nearly far enough,' said Kelly, professor of environmental health at King’s College London and chair of the Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants, official expert advisers to the government. 'Our cities need fewer cars, not just cleaner cars'."


SpendMatters: "Is Barnet Council Capable of Managing Capita Contract? Auditors Not Sure …"

Link to web site

"Barnet is attempting to become a 'commissioning council', which means outsourcing pretty much everything it can. That is conceptually an interesting idea; it would leave the two key 'internal' activities for the Council as setting policy and managing contracts / suppliers. It’s not a new idea; I was involved in discussions along those lines in central government back in the 1990s. But it's absolutely clear that if such a model is going to work, you have to be good at procurement and contract management. The more activity, risk and delivery you put in the hands of third party suppliers, the more important it is that they are managed properly.

BDO [external auditors] agrees with this diagnosis in their report. However, and unfortunately, this does not seem to be actually happening in Barnet. BDO talks about contract management and monitoring like this:
"During the course of 2016/17 we have noted a number of internal audit reports which have raised significant findings in this area. In addition, further concerns have been identified through our own audit work. As such, we have recognised a significant risk to our use of resources [value for money] opinion."

'Champaign4Change' article on Barnet is here.

National Audit Office guidance is here.


[Reposted from Mar 2016] Barnet Planning: Corrupt Corporate Governance leading to 2010 Brent Cross Planning Consent

Link to 'Barnet Times',
including to a dozen comments!

"COUNCIL chiefs have been criticised for the way a private company can both draw up and approve planning applications.

"Regional Enterprise (Re) not only has the final say on building plans submitted to Barnet Council, but is also responsible for designing them.

"The firm's architects sit just yards away from colleagues who rubber-stamp the decisions.

"This means Re acts as the 'jury, judge and executioner'.

"The director of a planning firm, who refused to be named, said fears private companies trying to make it in an already flooded market will be unable to compete."

Barnet Eye:
"Planning in Barnet - The conflict of interest that is Capita in Barnet" (Link)

And earlier fall-out from Barnet's corrupt 2010 planning consent:

[Reposted from Apr 2016] CAPITA continues implementation of Barnet's 2010 CORRUPT BRENT CROSS PLANNING CONSENT

"Town Planner"

Brent Cross, 
North West London, 
£45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits 
Gold Group Ltd.
Permanent [in a manner of speaking]
"Our client, a well-established company based in both Thameslink [sic] and Brent Cross are looking for a Town Planner to join their team.

"Brent cross are looking for 1x Town Planner 1x Town Planner [sic]
Thameslink are looking for 1x Town Planner

"This is a career-defining opportunity to contribute to one of Europe's largest and most dynamic regeneration programmes. We are looking for ambitious and experienced Town Planners to join our Brent Cross Planning Team and Thameslink Team Based in London as this exciting regeneration project reaches a key stage of delivery."
About the roles
The approved development will provide:
  • A new town centre comprising retail and leisure uses and a new office quarter with 4million square feet of office space.
  • 7,500 new homes and approximately 20,000 new jobs.
  • Double in size of the existing Brent Cross Shopping Centre including an enhanced replacement bus station.
  • A new Thameslink railway station and associated new public plazas and public realm.
  • Extensive changes to the highway, cycle and pedestrian network including a new pedestrian and cycle 'living bridge' over the A406.
  • New and refurbished public parks, including a new riverside park along a diverted section of the River Brent.
  • Expanded primary and secondary schools.
  • Replacement waste handling and rail freight facilities.
What you will do
  • Provide pre-application advice to developers, coordinating and processing planning applications, reserved matters applications, section 73 applications, section 96a applications, discharge of conditions and other relevant applications associated with the development.
  • Negotiating and securing Section 106 planning obligations and instruct, coordinate and lead on associated legal processes.
  • Providing planning input and giving evidence at Public Inquiry required for Compulsory Purchase Orders.
  • Carrying out a broad range of work to assist service delivery including coordinating the registration of new applications, review and appraise technical reports, plans and planning documents associated with planning submissions for the project.
  • Prepare accurate and timely officer delegated reports and committee reports for planning and other Council committees, and briefing papers to Councillors and members of the public.
What you will need
  • To be competent and confident to lead negotiations with developers and stakeholders, influence and shape development proposals, communicate clear advice and achieve effective outcomes.
  • Excellent knowledge and understanding of development management procedures, planning policy, and experience of investigating, analysing, recommending and presenting solutions to planning problems to make quality planning decisions.
  • Knowledge of urban design principles and ability to assess design proposals.
  • Broad knowledge and understanding of London or metropolitan/regional and local government planning issues, policy trends and development/legal processes.
What's in it for you?
  • As well as a generous basic salary we also give you up to 25 day's [sic] holiday, discretionary annual bonus, company pension scheme and access to voluntary benefit options including; child care vouchers, share ownership scheme, life assurance, holiday buy and many more designed to suit your own personal lifestyle.
  • There are strong career opportunities across the Capita group nationwide [Ah. So it's a Capita job! Good Grief.] and overseas, with a strategy of secondment and resource sharing to enable maximum opportunity for individuals.

"This advert was posted by Gold Group - one of the UK's leading niche recruitment consultancies. We span a variety of specialist industries and are the recruitment company to help you find your next career opportunity. We pride ourselves on our commitment to candidates and stick to our ethos of finding the right role for the right person. Visit our website or get in touch today to discuss this role, find out what else we've got or just for a chat about the state of your industry. Services advertised by Gold Group are those of an Agency and/or an Employment Business.

"Please be aware that we receive a high volume of applications for every role advertised and regularly receive applications from candidates who exceed the job credentials. We will only contact you within the next 14 days if you are selected for interview."
Contact: Lewis White
Reference: Totaljobs/931688
Job ID: 65163599

Evening Standard: "Earth Overshoot Day: Humans use up allowance of Earth’s natural resources for entire year"

Link to web site

"Humans have already used up the allowance of Earth’s natural resources for the entire year.

"In just seven months, humanity has exhausted the amount of water, soil, clean air and other resources that the planet can generate in 2017, meaning from now until December all the energy we use is unsustainable in the long-term.

"The day marks the point when the amount of energy and resources humanity is using exceeds the amount Earth can replace in that year.

"The extra waste we now produce cannot be absorbed and will cause harm, and we are using too many other natural resources - like eating fish, plant-based food and meat - too quickly.

"... Overfishing, overharvesting forests and pumping out more carbon dioxide than plants can take are all reasons which contribute to humanity’s massive and growing ecological footprint."


The Guardian: "The car has a chokehold on Britain. It’s time to free ourselves"

"Our insanely inefficient transport system is in thrall to the metal god. Electric vehicles are not the answer"

Link to web site

"We tell ourselves that we cherish efficiency. Yet we have created a transport system whose design principle is profligacy. Metal carriages (that increase in size every year), each carrying one or two people, travel in parallel to the same places. Lorries shifting identical goods in opposite directions pass each other on 2,000-mile journeys. Competing parcel companies ply the same routes, in largely empty vans. We could, perhaps, reduce our current vehicle movements by 90% with no loss of utility, and a major gain in our quality of life.

"But to contest this peculiar form of insanity is, as I know to my cost, to be widely declared insane. Look at how advertising is dominated by car companies, and you begin to understand the drive to ensure that this counter-ergonomic system persists. Look at the lobbying power of the motor industry and its support in the media, and you see why successive plans to address pollution seemed designed to fail.

"Suggest a neater system, and you will be shouted down by people insisting that they don’t want to live in a planned economy. But in this respect (and others) we do live in a planned economy. These days transport planners make a few concessions to cyclists, pedestrians and buses, but their overriding aim is still to maximise the flow of private vehicles. Rather than encouraging the more efficient use of existing infrastructure, they keep increasing the space into which inefficiency can expand."