Click above for Planning Application submission (we submit, we submit!) plus Transport page.

2014-08-21

Daily Telegraph: "We're stuck in the 'Yes-But' economy, where interest rate rises are forever delayed"


"For every indication that the economy is on the mend, there is another that suggests things could unravel very quickly"

Link to web site

"Welcome to the topsy-turvy world of the 'Yes-But' economy. It is, as you are doubtless becoming aware, a strange, febrile place – one that is forever teetering on the brink of an inflection point without ever quite tipping over. There’s plenty of good news but it comes couched in significant caveats; likewise, most of the gloom is cancelled out by equal and opposite cheer. Is the glass half full or half empty? Well, that depends on your point of view, and which statistics you choose to back it up.

It is, in other words, an environment replete with excuses for inaction, especially if you are one of the world’s central bankers currently gathering for their annual jamboree at Jackson Hole this week. (What, incidentally, is the collective noun for central bankers? An 'indecision', perhaps?)

"... Ambiguous economic signals provide reasons not to raise interest rates. But they are also the consequence of the decision not to raise interest rates. The fragility of the 'Yes-But' economy is both maintained and sustained by the unwillingness of central banks to end the biggest monetary experiment in history."

[Reposted] Evening Standard: Hammerson's Brent Cross: "A lot of imagination in the layout" (Then, not now.)


"It is a wonderful asset to be able to park your car and do all your shopping under one roof, without worrying about traffic wardens or getting wet," says Mrs Renee Stitcher, a magistrate's wife.

We took her around the centre to see for herself what was going on, and to get her views about the shopping centre.

"It is a wonderful centre - a lot of imagination has gone into the layout, and I am enjoying walking around the shops, and also having the chance of a sit down and something to eat and drink," she said.

Sometimes she uses Golders Green for her shopping, but says parking is a real problem. "The council has not provided any parking. Either you park a long way away and walk, or else go elsewhere.

"I have been going to the West End, because I can get a car park and a choice of goods.

"The chance of doing all my shopping in one go will be just what many housewives want - and they needn't get wet in the process.

"I like the design and layout of the centre, but my husband is going to be furious because it will encourage me to shop more often!

"High on my priority list with this centre is its convenience. You can come by car and park all around it, and get into the shops on two completely different levels.

"The big West End stores have come out to where we live, and it looks as though there will be plenty of choice.

"I like the big islands of carpeting in the Fenwicks store. The aim of this, I am told, is to help identify each department - the whole store ... looks very bright and cheerful.

"In these days of economic depression and general problems, everyone needs a lift - and this store provides it. I think the Fenwicks store is nicer than many similar styles I have seen in America.

Her one big worry was that the centre was big and overpowering. "It might take a long time before people get used to it."

6 Jan 1976


Barnet Times: Cricklewood, Brent Cross and Hendon Football Club





2014-08-20

Evening Standard: "London gets first roundabout to segregate cyclists and motorists"


Link to web site

"A breakthrough in cycle safety was unveiled today, as work began to create the first fully segregated roundabout in London.

"Cyclists and vehicles will be kept apart by using raised kerbs and separate traffic lights on the Queen’s Circus roundabout in Battersea.

"The interchange is not notorious for collisions, but Wandsworth council decided to make the improvements to prioritise cycling and walking as the Nine Elms area is redeveloped."


2014-08-19

Hammerson's development manager Russell Beresford "disappointed" with Swansea's plan (Barnet engineered the Brent Cross corrupt plan, so no disappointment HERE)


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-south-west-wales-28839940
Link to BBC web site

"Developers Hammerson have been given permission for a £10m revamp of Swansea's [semi-out-of-town - we know the feeling!] Parc Tawe retail outlet, but said a restriction blocking it for 12 years from approaching well-known stores is not acceptable.

"Swansea council claims the restriction is to protect its plans for the city centre.

"... Hammerson's development manager Russell Beresford, said:
"It's a strange day when a leader of a council desperate for investment chooses to unfairly [unfairly?? bless!] criticise a major [useless] landowner and potential investor in the city [so crawl before us, you pond-life scum] and we very much hope his approach doesn't put off anyone considering investing in the city [in our race to the bottom].

... We are therefore considering our options."
"Swansea has struggled to find a way of successfully regenerating the centre following the collapse of the long-time proposed Castle Quays development in 2004 which suffered several false starts, including with Hammerson."

2014-08-18

Evening Standard: "Charities could be left homeless as Barnet office block is turned into flats"


Link to web site

"Charities fear they will be left homeless after being evicted from a London tower block.

"Many of the current tenants — more than 100 small businesses and charities — have been given as little as four to six weeks' notice to leave, it is claimed. Developers plan to turn the 14-storey Premier House in Barnet into 112 'reasonably priced' flats.

"Andrea Bilbow is chief executive of Attention Deficit Disorder Information and Support Service (Addiss) which is based in the building. It runs a helpline used by around 5,000 people a year. She said:
"The shocking news that we have to move with just six weeks’ notice arrived at the start of summer holidays."

2014-08-17

The Guardian: "Britain's productivity puzzle: when will it return to pre-slump levels?"


"Recession saw productivity collapse as more people have been employed to produce the same level of output"

Link to web site

"... Since 2008, productivity has collapsed as more people have been employed to produce the same level of output. Output per worker is currently 17% below where it would have been had the pre-recession trend continued, which explains why this has been a lost decade for living standards.

"That, though, is history. The real issue is when will productivity return to its old pre-slump trend? If ever. That, in turn, is related to the reason productivity has been so weak in the first place, a theme explored by the Bank of England in last week's inflation report.

"...Some of these structural changes in the economy predate the recession, so unless skills have atrophied or we have become thicker as a nation, there is good reason to imagine that productivity will eventually pick up."


The Independent:
"Black cloud hanging over Britain’s
impressive economic recovery?
Weak productivity"


Link to web site

The Guardian:
"How peaches and propaganda are helping to shape the new world order"

"Many chroniclers of the 1930s say the decade only really took on its doomed, chaotic character when major countries left the gold standard (Britain first in 1931, Italy last five years later). Today, a breakup of the world system would take a different form: the competitive devaluation of currencies in which large amounts of debt are held by other countries, or the closure of financial markets to certain countries. We are still far from this – but not unimaginably far.

"After the release of this week's GDP figures, the debt dynamics of Europe – above all Italy – once again look ominous. Italy has the eurozone's biggest debts and is the biggest loser from the arrangement whereby Germany profits from everyone else's inefficiency. Without recovery, not only do its debts look unsustainable; it also becomes yet another candidate for imposed austerity and technocratic government.

It is possible that, at some point, there will be a replay of summer 2011, in which a bond market crisis has to be averted by concerted global action, but this time with Italy rather than Greece and Spain needing the bailout. Such action will be all the harder in a world where trade and financial markets have become weapons of diplomatic war, in which anti-globalist parties of the right and left have significantly more support, and where the global order looks much more worn and frayed."

Progressing the Corrupt Brent Cross Cricklewood Planning Application: Provision of Legal Services


"The London Borough of Barnet wishes to appoint a single legal services provider to provide legal advice on the Council’s Brent Cross Cricklewood Project, including but not limited to:
a. Property
b. Procurement (including joint ventures and other delivery mechanisms)
c. Planning (including Section 106 Agreements)
d. Highways(including Section 278 Agreements)
e. Financial and commercial
f. Tax (if required[!]), and
g. Affordable Housing."

"Total final value of the contract(s): £5,000,000. Excluding VAT."

Award criteria  (at least Barnet is actually tendering nowadays, not just routinely paying invoices without any tender or any contract!)
:

Quality – Experience, Skills, Knowledge & Understanding 15
Quality - Procurement 10
Quality – Commercial 10
Quality – Planning 10
Quality – Public Sector Partnership 10
Quality – Delivery of Services 15
Quality – Presentation 10
Price 20



"And the winner (out of 8 offers received) is..."
Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co LLP
2 Snowhill
Birmingham
Date of contract award: 14-07-2014




"Every single one of us cares about what we do and why we're doing it. It's never just another job to us. Our reputation for standing by our clients and our people is reflected in their loyalty to us. It's also reflected in our status as one of the UK's Best Workplaces."


"We don't want to be acceptable, we want to be exceptional. As the world becomes more regulated and complex, our clients will continue to expect more from us - and we won't let them down."


"Dynamic thinkers with a positive outlook and an entrepreneurial spirit, we're always looking to explore new ideas and shed light on technical and complex issues."


"As clients demand more and more of their lawyers, we're constantly extending our services and developing our insight to exceed their requirements - through our enhanced sector experience, increased international reach and flexible delivery models."


"A human touch and spirit is something you wouldn't associate with most law firms. We're proof that it's possible for top lawyers to be approachable, inspirational team players."


Jonathan Joseph's Brent Cross and Russell Beresford's Parc Tawe: Councillors say Hammerson cares "Sod All"


Link to South Wales Evening Post

"THE redevelopment of Swansea's Parc Tawe has been given the go-ahead by councillors — despite a warning from the firm behind the project that some of the conditions being imposed on it are unacceptable.

"Russell Beresford, from developers Hammerson, said it had an interest in making sure the city centre did well [ha!], and was prepared to accept other planning conditions but not condition four, adding that a revamped Parc Tawe would support some 300 full time equivalent jobs.

But councillors decided to keep the contested condition in the planning approval — and had some harsh words for Hammerson.

Ward member David Phillips sarcastically congratulated Hammerson on 'getting off their backsides' and finding possible tenants for a revamped Parc Tawe but accused them of doing 'sod all' for the city centre when they were responsible for it as agents."

Progressing the Corrupt Brent Cross Cricklewood Planning Application (via the dead hand of the London Communications Agency)



2014-08-14

Elephant & Castle Regeneration: Lend Lease Director Dan Labbad shows us his hands







The Guardian:
"Elephant and Castle and beyond:
what is the right way to regenerate in London?"



The Guardian:
"Elephant and Castle regeneration:
what are the rights and wrongs?"



"How the Heygate estate at Elephant & Castle
was sold to Lend Lease for a song"
Link to 'Private Eye' (lengthy PDF)

Er, that's all.

BikeHub: "Building more roads will not cure congestion, says Sustrans"


Scoot to web site

"New government statistics reveal that motor vehicle traffic has risen by 1.4 percent to 77.1bn vehicle miles.The data was released within the Department for Transport’s Quarterly Road Traffic Estimates. Another report – Congestion on local A roads – reveals that average speed on local A roads has dropped to 24.4mph, down 0.9 percent on this time last year.

Allan Williams, Policy Advisor for Sustrans said:
“Traffic is a major headache for everyone but we can't build our way out of road congestion. According to the Government’s own analysis there’s little evidence of wider economic, social or environmental benefits either.

The key to unlock road traffic congestion is to give people a choice about how they travel by providing safe, convenient and affordable alternatives to driving."

2014-08-10

Barnet Times: " 'A town where only the rich can live' - concern over lack of social housing in Barnet"


Link to web site

"Overcrowding in Barnet demands a more 'ambitious' housing programme - despite the approval of 27 new homes, according to a councillor.

"Social housing landlord Barnet Homes is set to build new flats and houses on disused sites in Tarling Road, Haldane Close, Brent Place and Bedford Road.

"It forms part of a wider scheme to build 28,000 new homes by 2025, of which 40 per cent will be designated 'affordable'."

London Tenants Newsletter, July 2014: "Report from West Hendon Residents Association, Barnet"


Link to web site
(PDF; page 2)

"For nearly 15 years our residents’ association has challenged and campaigned against the so-called regeneration plans for our estate, at both the local and London-wide level.

"Demolition of 680 council homes, including 23 freehold homes, and construction of 2,149 new homes is planned. More than two-thirds (1,500) are to be luxury homes in blocks of up to 29 storeys high.

"We have raised social and environmental concerns and have consistently argued that the only beneficiaries of this ‘regeneration’ are wealthy incomers, at the expense of existing residents.

"The key attractions of our estate for the new, wealthy penthouse dwellers that the council wants to bring in are:
  • the estate is situated just 5-10 minutes from Hendon train station and then only 15 minutes to St Pancras, and
  • the estate is adjacent to the Welsh Harp, a Site of Special Scientific Interest. It is a valuable wildlife habitat for breeding water birds and rare birds (250 different types), butterflies, bats, dragonflies, newts and more."

Citymetric: "What would London's new orbital rail link look like?"


Link to web site
-a vote of confidence in Hammerson's Brent Cross, then. Not.


"The mayor's office [has just] released its £1.3trn - yes, trillion - London Infrastructure 2050 plan. The document contains all sorts of goodies for the sort of people who get all excited by the prospect of new transport infrastructure (i.e. us), so we'll no doubt be writing about it rather a lot.

"Perhaps the most striking proposal it contains, however, is the one for a new orbital rail link, which would connect a string of existing lines to the Overground Network and which, according to the Guardian, is referred to by officials as the 'R25', after London's orbital motorway."

Link to 'London 2050'

20 August: Brent Planning Committee considers ERUV


Link to Brent Planning web site
(ref: 14/1252)

"Installation of 0.5mm clear nylon wire spans between poles in 14 locations within the London Borough of Brent (and additional ones in adjacent boroughs) to complete a notional 'enclosure' (as defined in Jewish law) so as to ease Sabbath observance for non-ambulant persons and their carers" 

Link to two Westminster documents
(ref: 14/06739/OBS)


Link to Ham & High:
"Jewish Eruv plans would see poles and fishing wire
erected in West Hampstead and Swiss Cottage"


www.hamhigh.co.uk/news/row_erupts_over_bid_for_st_john_s_wood_and_maida_vale_eruv_1_1367985#
Link to Wood & Vale (2012):
"Peter Leaver, St John’s Wood Society chairman, says
he resents being labelled as xenophobic for opposing the eruv:
'I do not see why anyone who is against the eruv should be
stigmatised as a xenophobe or anti-semitic or both,'
said the West London Synagogue member"

2014-08-09

London Live: "Campaigners' last-ditch attempts to save Earl's Court"


Link to web site

"Alex Beard reports from Earls Court, where planning permission has been given to demolish the exhibition centres and existing estates to build 7,500 homes on the 77 acre site."

Brent Cyclists: "Brent Cross cycling provision"


Pedal to web site

"... This 'living bridge' will allow cyclists to cross the North Circular, which sounds good. However, there will be no quality cycle access to it from the south or south-west, so far as we can see. The only access from the west side of Barnet, and Brent, will be via Claremont Road, an unpleasant rat-run which is sure to be made much worse by traffic generated by the housing developments planned, or via another new bridge, across the Midland Main Line, connecting to the A5 Edgware Road, a hostile main road which has absolutely no cycling facilities.

"Why, in a brand new development, where most of the infrastructure is being rebuilt, are the developers planning shared cycle and pedestrian routes? This is planning for failure in terms of attracting significant volumes of cyclists. They should be planning separation.

"Perhaps most seriously, as we have repeatedly pointed out, the flaw with this plan for a riverside path along the Brent is that it goes nowhere at the west end. Brent Park Road merely meets the concrete wall of the A5 flyover across Stapes Corner West. There will be no way for cyclists to escape at that end, as they can't go north up the A5 without cycling illegally on the pavement, and they won't be able to go south, as they will be swept back into a new traffic system at the junction into the North Circular [shown above]. There are no other roads going south.

There is one going north, Dallas Road, but that creates no practical routes towards Brent because of the banned turn at the junction of Park Road with the A5."

2014-08-07

New Brent Cross John Lewis - dome protection from traffic fumes, of other shoppers getting there by car?


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-28641205
Link to BBC web site and video

"Technology giants are using their burgeoning wallets to build new headquarters. But not for them the skyscrapers of another age that advertised status vertically. What do they want instead?

"Apple's Steve Jobs never got to see one of the projects dearest to his heart fulfilled. A huge silver donut-shaped building in Cupertino, California, encircling an orchard. [Brent Cross encircles the 10-lane North Circular Road!]

"It is just one of many headquarters currently being built to host technology giants. Facebook has commissioned Frank Gehry to build an iconic HQ in California's Menlo marshlands, and Google is extending its campus in Mountain View."

Barnet Times: "Calls for Barnet Borough Council leader to step down from panel which will determine Cllr Rayner's fate"


Link to web site

"GLA member for Barnet Andrew Dismore is calling on the authority’s leader to step down as the chairman of a panel which will determine whether the Mayor of Barnet abused his position as a councillor.

"Conservative Councillor Hugh Rayner is under investigation by Barnet Borough Council’s monitoring officer for failing to declare the fact that he is a landlord when voting on controversial housing policies.

"Fellow Conservative and council leader Richard Cornelius, who is due to chair the panel to determine Cllr Rayner's fate, has previously come out in support of him and denied [he] should resign, despite strong criticism."

Barnet Press (x2) and Barnet Times (Hammerson and Brent Cross: Housing, high streets and the living hell bridge)







2014-08-06

Arrogant and talentless Hammerson: Doing well in France though



HAMMERSON plc
UNAUDITED RESULTS FOR THE SIX MONTHS ENDED 30 JUNE 2014


MAXIMISING INCOME THROUGH ACTIVE MANAGEMENT
  • Strong demand for high-quality retail property, with new rents secured of £12 million (2013: £10 million) for 67,800m² (2013: 70,600m²).
  • Leases signed overall at 7% above ERV and 6% above previous passing rents, providing confidence in future income growth.
  • Improving UK shopping centre performance with tenant sales growth of 2.5% and ERVs increasing by 0.7%.
  • Group occupancy of 97.2%, again exceeding our benchmark of 97%.
  • Interim dividend increased by 6.0% to 8.8 pence per share (2013 interim: 8.3 pence).

CREATING HIGH-QUALITY RETAIL DESTINATIONS
  • Les Terrasses du Port, Marseille, opened in May. The centre is now 98% let and has produced a 23% profit on cost.
  • On site at five development schemes, with construction started at Victoria Gate, Leeds, in April. 
  • Planning approval received for major retail developments at Brent Cross, London, and Watermark WestQuay, Southampton.
  • Submitted a planning application for 260,000m2 mixed-use development at The Goodsyard, London.
  • Completed 5,000m2 extension at Abbotsinch Retail Park, Paisley, and due to start the redevelopment of Elliott’s Field Retail Park, Rugby, in autumn 2014.


ENOUGH, ENOUGH!

(choke, choke...)

Brent Cross:
"Champagne bar opening this summer"

"Together We Can Save Earl's Court!"


Link to web site

"Ignoring wide-scale opposition from local residents and businesses, the London boroughs of Kensington & Chelsea and Hammersmith & Fulham have approved the demolition of the world-famous, iconic, art deco Earl’s Court Exhibition Centre.

"The Earl’s Court Area Action Group believes that decision is wrong. It is now campaigning to save an asset that is of vital importance to the capital's economy.

"Together, Earl’s Court’s twin exhibition halls provide West London's largest exhibition/ conference space and concert venue. Despite assurances, it transpires no tangible replacement facilities will replace a loss, which economically and culturally defines the area."

2014-08-05

Hammerson / Allies & Morrison / Chapman Taylor: Attractive-to-use Brent Cross Living Bridge - as magical as the current one?


Chapman Taylor:
"Always exceed the expectations of the users"

"Here comes the place where cleaves our way in twain.
Thy road, the right, toward Pluto's dwelling goes,
And leads us to Elysium.

"In no fix'd place the happy souls reside.
In groves we live, and lie on mossy beds,
By crystal streams, that murmur thro' the meads:
But pass yon easy hill, and thence descend;
The path conducts you to your journey's end."

VIRGIL, The Aeneid
(No, not Thunderbirds, the Roman poet.)



The REALITY:




2014-08-04

Better than arrogant and corrupt London Borough of Barnet:- Design Council: "How Hackney became London’s most liveable borough"


Link to web site

"The graph below illustrates the change that has occurred in the past decade in the way that Hackney residents commute. If those who run to the bus or walk to the station are included then over 87% of Hackney commuters are active travellers!


"But how has this remarkable change happened? There have been no Superhighways or Superwalkways, no grand project.

"In a nutshell, Hackney has taken a lead from Jan Gehl, the Danish Urbanist, whose simple message for a liveable city is to 'create a better balance between cycling and walking and motor vehicles'.

These are some of the changes that were implemented in Hackney. Many on their own would seem insignificant and go unnoticed, but cumulatively add up to the transformation of Hackney as a place where people want to work, rest and play. It's the transformation that had made Hackney London's most liveable borough."

Financial Times: "UK policy not to blame for housing shortage, says economist Barker"


Link to web site
(free access available)

"The economist who conducted a review of housing policy for the Labour government in 2004 believes public hostility to housebuilding and the credit crisis are the two main reasons for Britain’s lack of homes, not government failures.

"Kate Barker, an economist and former member of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee, made a set of recommendations to Gordon Brown when he was chancellor in 2004. Among them were the creation of a regional planning executive and a community infrastructure fund.

"... Ms Barker said that the housing shortage was feeding into wider inequalities between generations and between rich and poor and said it was unfair that no one paid capital gains tax on their primary home."

Link to web site

The Guardian:
"The housing market is broken. But in Camden we are starting to fix it"

"Britain faces a housing crisis. For a long time, people on low incomes have been struggling with the cost and quality of housing. But it’s now so acute that, in my role as leader of Camden council, even senior people in multinationals raise with me on a regular basis the issue of housing for their staff.

"Camden’s housing market is one of the most extreme in the country. The average cost of a house is £700,000. This would require a household income of about £175,000 to get a mortgage. Average weekly rent for a two-bed flat is £440, requiring an annual income of about £70,000. Even Boris Johnson’s so-called affordable rents, at 80% of the market rate, need an income of £50,000. Average earnings in Camden are £33,000. Something has to give.

"... The housing market is broken for a few reasons, but the main one is the market itself. House builders – private companies in the main – benefit from spiralling values. One way to keep prices rising is to restrict supply. This started under Thatcher with right-to-buy. She stopped councils building replacement homes for the ones that were sold off, with the idea that the private market would step in. It didn’t. She let existing stock slide into disrepair. When Labour came to power in 1997 the focus was investment in existing stock and only latterly on building. But crucially, and fatally, Labour didn’t reverse Thatcher’s ban on councils building until 2009."

Ham & High: "Why the Swiss Cottage [High-Rise] Tower is not the right way for London"


Link to web site

"Terraced urban streets with normal houses and low or medium rise flats: In every single piece of evidence, they are infinitely more popular. In the latest national poll, only 3 per cent of us want to live in flats with over 10 units in the buildings. And people are being deeply rational in expressing this view.

"Controlled studies show that living in big tall buildings is not good for you. The vast majority of studies show that the residents of large multi-storey blocks suffer from more stress, mental health difficulties and crime, that children do less well and that communities are less strong. And this is taking account of socio-economic status.

"Streets are also practical. Terraced streets can be very high density. They are higher density than most post-war estates. Southwark saw its density fall by two thirds when streets were turned into post-war estates. If we built enough and regenerated sufficient land (with local support), streets could solve London’s housing crisis – potentially providing over a decade’s supply.

"The opportunity is so great that the Government has commissioned Savills to investigate it. By making redevelopment more popular, by giving local people more control over what happens, we believe that redevelopment of more land would be popular.

"So we have choices. And we should be backing streets not towers. If not, as the fate of Vauxhall and Blackfriars demonstrates, where one tall building is permitted, other will inevitably follow."

The Independent: "Britain has taken longer to recover from recession than at any time since the South Sea Bubble"


Link to web site

"I have to admit I was wrong in claiming that the recovery that has occurred under the Coalition is the slowest and worst in one hundred years. I should have said worst in 314 years. I severely understated how bad things have actually been. The editor of The Spectator, Fraser Nelson, pointed out to me that I hadn’t studied historical precedent adequately and was severely understating how bad the recession really has been.

"It is without historical precedent. Fraser pointed me to a series published by the Bank of England which provides data on real GDP back to 1700, and guess what? He was right. It is now clear that George Osborne is responsible for the worst recovery in three hundred years of recorded history. Celebrate? I don’t think so.

"So let’s look at the data starting with the 20th century, and then we will look at the 19th and 18th centuries as well as other countries. The first chart shows the length of time it takes in months to restore lost output in the six main recessions of the 20th century: 1920-24, 1930-34, 1973-76, 1979-83, 1990-93 and 2008-2014."