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


John Lewis backs out of original plan for a completely new store at Brent Cross - so now it's refurbishment of the current store only


"Hammerson and Aberdeen Standard Investments, joint owners of Brent Cross, have signed a new agreement for lease with John Lewis to transform its department store as part of the £1.4bn Brent Cross redevelopment and refurbishment in North London.

"Having been present in Brent Cross since the centre opened in 1976 – the first 'US style mall in the UK' – the department store will undergo a full refurbishment as part of the plans and Brent Cross will remain open as usual throughout the development programme.

"The new store will include an enhanced retail layout to create a more contemporary shopping experience for customers and showcase its latest shop design. It will benefit from direct access to a brand new 1,450 space car park, which will also support the brand's growing click and collect offer."

Or you could go to John Lewis White City.

The Guardian: "Skyscrapers wreck cities – yet still Britain builds them"

"Around 500 towers are proposed for London. They're not just ugly: they symbolise Britain's greedy pandering to developers"

Link to web site

I love towers and hate towers. I love those of Siena and San Gimignano and the skyscraper clusters of Manhattan and Dubai. I admire the design of London’s Canary Wharf, and of the Shard, if only it had not been dumped on Bermondsey. I do not love the ugliness now being scattered at random along the banks of the Thames or the squalor of London's skyline. As art historian Vince Scully said of New York, he once 'entered the city like a god; now one scuttles in like a rat'.

"We have seen nothing yet. The latest survey from New London Architecture, the only body monitoring the city’s towerscape, is nothing short of sensational. At the turn of the century, the metropolis had some 30 towers over 20 storeys. Two years ago 115 were planned or under construction. Now, according to NLA, a staggering 510 are proposed. No plan for this proliferation has ever been published.

"No mayor has ever put it to the voters. Unlike any other European country, skyscrapers can go up wherever developers want, provided only that they do not spoil a view of St Paul's Cathedral. It is 'wild west' planning."

Greengauge21 report: "Beyond HS2"


Barnet news: Irish Independent: "Capita rehabilitation slow as outsourcing tarnished"

Link to web site

"We don't hear much these days about 'outsourcing' which may be no bad thing. The great Bill Gates summed up my idea of what outsourcing meant when he said that if you rely too much on other people and other countries you risk outsourcing your brain. An American novelist Tom Robbins caught the mood when he cynically quipped that he intended to outsource his next book to a couple of blokes in Bangalore.

"Nevertheless, 30 and more years ago, especially in Britain, it was all the go and it has taken until now to see the chickens coming home to roost, as Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) have begun to creak.

"The collapse of British government contractor Carillion has been a particularly spectacular failure."


The Committee on Standards in Public Life: "The Continuing Importance of Ethical Standards for Public Service Providers." And they even talked to Barnet-Capita.

Barnet-Capita 'contributors':

Chief Executive,
Commercial Director,
Deputy Chief Executive and Commissioning Director for Growth and Development,
Interim Assurance Director,
Monitoring Officer,
Interim Chief Operating Officer.


The Guardian: "Social housing funding system is 'nuts', says top property developer"

Link to web site

"One of the country's top property developers has described the UK's system of funding social housing as 'nuts' and called for higher taxes to speed up building.

Roger Madelin, a member of the executive committee at British Land, told the Guardian the decades-old system of getting private developers to pay for affordable homes was 'a stupid way of meeting this social need' and that the government should directly fund them.

" 'All companies should pay higher corporation tax,' he said. 'This country needs to have more tax paid. If we did it like that we could get on and do it. It can’t work in the long term, you can't expect developers to continue to produce for the population's social needs at this level. It should come from general taxation'."


Railway & Canal Historical Society: "The London Aircraft Production Group"

Society LINK

TED: "The biggest risks facing cities - and some solutions"

"With fantastic new maps that show interactive, visual representations of urban fragility, Robert Muggah articulates an ancient but resurging idea: cities shouldn't just be the center of economics - they should also be the foundation of our political lives.

"Looking around the world, from Syria to Singapore to Seoul and beyond, Muggah submits six principles for how we can build more resilient cities. 'Cities are where the future happens first. They're open, creative, dynamic, democratic, cosmopolitan, sexy,' Muggah says. 'They're the perfect antidote to reactionary nationalism."


FT: Stocks to Watch: Tuesday 1 May, 13.00 BST: Hammerson is a bit iffy

"Exane BNP Paribas cut Intu Properties to 'underperform' and downgraded Hammerson to 'neutral', moving from 'outperform' in both cases on valuation grounds.
“On our forecasts, the bulk of Hammerson's assets offer prospective returns below the cost of capital. Moreover, risk-adjusted returns on share buybacks appear far superior to major development projects at Brent Cross and Croydon. However capacity for a capital return is limited unless the company commits to a transformational disposal strategy.” 

(Complete item from FT is above}