.

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

2017-05-22

Barnet Times: " 'Behind our backs': campaigners speak out as council sign lease with waste management firm in Cricklewood"


Link to web site

"Campaigners feel 'betrayed' after a lease for two properties was granted to a waste management company despite protesters' objections."

P B Donoghue, a waste management and skip hire company, will lease two units and yard space in Claremont Way Industrial Estate from Barnet Council.

"Campaigners recently protested for the company’s removal from a site it owns in Claremont Road, Golders Green, complaining of air and noise pollution."

2017-05-17

The Compulsory Purchase Association (you MUST become a member)



CPA National Conference 2017
Thursday 22nd June 2017

Registration 9.30; Start 10.00; Close 17.00
Congress Centre, 28 Great Russell Street, London, WC1B 3LS
5.5 Hours CPD

The CPA National Conference seeks to brief members and other delegates on key issues and topics within the sector, providing valuable CPD [?] for all those engaged in CPO and land compensation work.

With the provision of infrastructure and housing at the top of Government’s agenda, demand for the services of compulsory purchase and compensation practitioners continues to increase. HS2, Crossrail 2, Heathrow Terminal 5 and the garden villages/ towns programme currently grab the headlines, but across the country there are hundreds of projects that demand the skills of those with an understanding of how to implement and advise on CPOs.

At the same time the pace of CPO reform is accelerating. Following hard on the heels of the changes introduced by the Housing and Planning Act 2016, fundamental alterations to temporary possession powers and the ‘no-scheme principle’ have been introduced in the Neighbourhood Planning Bill. With a new Housing Bill also likely this year, further reform is possible.

There has never been a more urgent need to keep up to date with rapidly developing law and practice.

The CPA National Conference brings together members and non members alike. With over 250 attendees at last year’s conference, it is a major networking event in the CPO calendar and a pre-eminent programme to attract the very best in the CPO world.

If you do CPO work, then this is a must attend event; both for networking and technical knowledge.

Programme: Confirmed to date
  • Keynote - to be confirmed
  • The new lending code for dealing with negative equity
      • The law as it stands- crystalising the debt on compulsory acquisition
      • Problems with the existing system for claimants and acquiring authorities
      • Transferring mortgages to a new property
      • When does the new Code apply and what does it do?
  • Application of Human Rights, Government Guidance, and best practice for Compulsory acquisition 
      • Relocation and locality
  • Access to justice
      • The costs of the compensation claims in the Upper Tribunal
      • Does ADR have a role?
      • What forms of ADR should be considered?
  • Infrastructure Real Estate Projects In Canada’s Capital City, Ottawa
      • An introduction
      • A blend of US practice with a bit of Victorian UK law thrown in
      • Acquisition Strategy For Right Of Way Projects, e.g. Light Rail Transit and Combined Sewer Storage Tunnel 
      • The use of a public private partnership for the redevelopment of Lansdowne Park 
  • Use it or lose it - The compulsory acquisition of residential development land
      • Birmingham and Manchester have plans
      • Planning Officers Society’s proposals
      • A disincentive for developers purchasing land?
      • Can such land acquisition satisfy the “compelling case in the public interest” test?
      • Will this really speed up housing delivery?
  • Legal update 
  • Heathrow case study
      • This is the scheme
      • Threats, key frustrations
      • We are not focusing on the merits of the scheme, simply the application of CPO rules into a highly contentious and politically charged environment
      • Key focus: the reasoning behind the 125% valuation and dropping the previous HOSS scheme would be of great interest to members and inform the debate on blight mitigation.
      • Operating in a regulatory environment
  • Neighbourhood Planning Bill and the scheme rules.

Speakers: Confirmed to date

Matthew Collings, Eversheds
Colin Cottage, CPA Chair, Glenny LLP
Jonathan Deegan, Heathrow Airport Ltd
Killian Garvey, Kings Chambers
Richard Guyatt, Bond Dickinson
Craig Howell Williams QC, Francis Taylor Building
Mike Kiely, Chair, Planning Officers Society
Gordon MacNair, Corporate Real Estate Office, City of Ottawa
Adrian Maher, aspireCP
Liz Peace, British Property Federation
Vicky Fowler, CPA Vice Chair and Gowlings WLG (UK) LLP
Toni Weston, Gowlings WLG (UK) LLP

2017-05-15

Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation: AECOM appointed as OPDC's Old Oak Masterplanner. (Already they are Brent Cross's transport planners - presumably not with the 29,000 extra cars per day promised for the Brent Cross area.)



"Following an OJEU-compliant [that's COMPLIANT, not COMPLAINT!] procurement process, the seven short-listed bids have been evaluated and the preferred bidder is AECOM.

The objectives of the Old Oak masterplanning contract are:

  • To create a masterplan that is deliverable and reflects the quality and sustainability aspirations set out in the OPDC draft Local Plan and supporting studies.
  • To create a masterplan that will establish a new benchmark for successful long-term placemaking in Old Oak, west London.
  • To establish an overarching approach for the delivery of the Old Oak area shared by partners and stakeholders, which delivers social and economic benefits for local communities.
  • To inform OPDC planning policy.

Forecasted timeline and key milestones:

  • OJEU Standstill period — 12-22 May 2017
  • Contract start and mobilisation — May/June 2017
  • Visioning and baseline analysis — Summer 2017
  • Longlist, shortlist options (incl. engagement with stakeholders) — Autumn 2017
  • Preferred option refinement, first draft strategies — Early 2018
  • Final deliverables: spatial masterplan, phasing, transport, commercial and residential strategies — Spring 2018

The Old Oak masterplanning contract will allow for:

  • Greater certainty for landowners, investors and stakeholders on how and when the area will be developed.
  • The development of a clear delivery strategy, funding and financing strategy, land assembly strategy and business plan for OPDC as a future landowner.
  • Clarity and consensus on what key site wide infrastructure is needed and where it would be located to allow for procurement and investment.
  • A site wide approach to development, creating synergies between different landowners schemes.

Background on OPDC and scale of opportunity

"Old Oak and Park Royal is London’s largest Opportunity Area with a new High Speed 2 (HS2) and Crossrail Station due to be constructed at Old Oak by 2026.

"Redevelopment of the area has the potential to deliver 24,000 new homes and 55,000 jobs in Old Oak and 1,500 new homes and 10,000 jobs on the adjoining Park Royal industrial estate.

"OPDC was established in April 2015 to drive forward future development plans for the wider area.

"OPDC has full planning powers within its 650 hectare boundary that includes land in the boroughs of Hammersmith & Fulham, Ealing and Brent."

2017-05-11

Argent Related: Brent Cross is high risk. Better concentrate on Tottenham Hale...


Link to 'This is Local London'

"Tottenham Hale regeneration plans have moved a step closer with the signing of a partnership between a leading development company and Haringey Council.

The agreed framework with Argent Related details the building of 900 homes over the next five years, some of which could be completed by 2020.

"Community groups, schools and businesses could soon be invited to talks with both the company and council, where feedback on various aspects of the framework will be encouraged.

"Leader of Haringey Council, councillor Claire Kober, said: 'This is a significant milestones in our ambitious plans for Tottenham Hale'."

Brent & Kilburn Times: "Community protest in Cricklewood for waste company to relocate"


Link to web site

Communities living near a waste site in Cricklewood are campaigning for the relocation of a waste firm as they battle daily against smells and dust.

"More than a hundred people gathered outside P.B Donoghue in Claremont Road armed with banners and chants on 28 April saying 'Dump Donoghue'.

"Lisa Pate, from the Golders Green Estate Residents Association, said:
"It used to be a just skip hire and now they go and get the waste from different industrial sites and bring it back. It's tons and tons a day, hundreds of HGV movements a day."

2017-05-09

IPE Real Estate: "Retail UK: Lights out at the mall" (Alas poor Hammerson!)


"Shopping centres specialists have been investing heavily in a changing world. But the outlook for the sector still looks gloomy."


"The rise of modern in-town shopping centres in the UK first gained traction in the 1960s with schemes such as the Bull Ring in Birmingham (which was redeveloped in 2003), and out-of-town schemes in the 1970s such as Brent Cross in North London. The explosion of development since then is the direct result of a shift in shopping habits favouring shopping centres over traditional high streets, many of which have been displaced.

"Good-quality UK shopping centres have long been favoured by investors wanting exposure to landlord-friendly leases providing stable income streams. Leading up to the Great Recession, shopping centres experienced three decades of almost uninterrupted growth, during which London offices rents were both volatile and range-bound.

"However, this trend in rental growth has slowed and may even be reversing, as physical retail sales growth and tenant densities have stalled for the better part of a decade. The change in fortune for physical retail was initially driven by a fall in disposable incomes resulting from the global financial crisis. But the deeper rooted – and more serious – issue is the disruption caused by growth in e-commerce."

Treasury to give pots of money to dig Barnet out of "New Cricklewood" (=source: Hammerson) Thameslink Station hole. (And nothing for Boris's platforms to Old Oak Common)












What we will actually get:



(That's enough blow-back from Barnet's corrupt Brent Cross Cricklewood planning consent. Ed.)




Boris's aspirations:




2017-04-23

The Observer: "BHS crash sets trend for a chain of closures on UK high streets" (Hammerson thinks it is up-market from all the failing riff-raff)


"The retail sector is still reeling a year after the collapse of the chain, with rising numbers of staff on zero-hours contracts and other big hitters shutting shop as the internet squeezes their share of profits"

Link to web site

"Last year, research by industry trade body the British Retail Consortium (BRC) identified a 'lost generation' of predominantly female shop workers who – as thousands of BHS staff would find out – risk losing their jobs as structural change chews up the high street. It estimated there were nearly 500,000 retail workers, aged between 26 and 45, many of whom have children and need to work close to their family home, who would find it hard to find alternative jobs.

"Using the benchmark of those earning less than £8.05 an hour, the BRC says 1.5 million people work in low-paid UK retail jobs. About 70% are female and one in five receive means-tested working age tax credits.

"Norman Pickavance, chair of the Fabian Society taskforce on the future of retail, says the majority of companies in the sector are trying to save money by moving towards less secure employment models. 'There are more and more zero-hours-type contracts and self employment,' he says."

2017-04-21

Development Finance Today: "Hammerson secures £360m facility from 14-bank syndicate"


Link to web site

"Commercial developer Hammerson has signed a £360m unsecured revolving credit facility (RCF) with a syndicate of 14 international banks.

"The new facility, which was secured at an initial margin of 90 basis points, has a maturity of five years – with an option to extend up to seven – and will refinance an existing £175m RCF maturing in April 2018.

"RBS [oh dear], Wells Fargo Bank, BNP Paribas, First Commercial Bank, IBC (London) and J.P Morgan served as mandated lead arrangers and bookrunners for the deal."

2017-04-19

Estates Gazette: Hammerson: "Retailers must do more to tackle climate change"



"The Paris Climate Change Agreement reached at COP 21 acknowledges the importance of keeping climate change to within 2C and provided rarely-seen, unified international political support for action on climate change.

"Unfortunately, all the research shows that what we are currently doing is simply not enough to achieve this. If all the sustainability-aware corporates hit published sustainability targets, we will still overshoot 2C of climate change. It therefore makes sense for those who are in a position to do so, to consider the potential sustainability risks that may impact their own operations, and identify areas where they can enact the most positive change. Furthermore, it is not enough anymore for businesses to draw a boundary around what we directly control and claim everything outside that is not our responsibility. We must consider ways to bring others on board and account for broader sector impacts too.

"Hammerson's response is to set a comprehensive Net Positive target for the business. In addition to its substantial Socio-Economic Net Positive goals, it has the objective of reducing carbon emissions, water demand and resource use to less than zero over the next 15 years." [Shame Brent Cross is such an environmental disaster, then.]

2017-04-08

"... [National transport] policy no longer places 'Predict and Provide' for commuter car driver convenience as a high priority, yet this is the approach [of Hammerson at Brent Cross Cricklewood]"









Hammerson is in as much difficulty in Croydon as at Brent Cross. Boo, hoo!


Link to web site

"It is five years since rival developers Westfield and Hammerson were brought together by Tory politicians Boris Johnson and Gavin Barwell in a shot-gun marriage of convenience over their conflicting plans for the Whitgift Centre and Centrale, sited opposite sides of North End [Road].

"Then, under the banner of the Croydon Partnership, the Hammersfield scheme was to include 2million sq ft of new shop space, 600 homes and 'destination' leisure facilities."

"... In February, Hammerson announced it would sell at least £400million of its interests in the shopping centres it already owns to help pay towards the Croydon development.

"And last month, Westfield bought a 3 per cent stake in Hammerson – around £135million-worth of shares – amid talk of 'leverage', which usually means a way of applying pressure on a company."

The Curious Case of The Corruption That Didn't Happen


2017-04-07

The Guardian: "It’s no longer just London: now Britain is encircled by the property sharks"


"Once the capital was the prime target for foreign speculators, now it’s all our major cities. We could have stopped them, but we didn't"

Link to web site

"A single generation transformed London into a capital where no person with normal resources could hope to own a modest home. It transformed London into a city where young people couldn’t start their careers, unless they had parents who could help them out. It transformed London into a place where every flat was in a block of 'luxury apartments', its price arranged in some weird dimension that had absolutely no connection to the wages paid at the coffee shop on the ground floor.

"Everyone knew what the problem was. Property prices had exploded, fuelled by international wealth. The government was reluctant to halt the bonanza. It made people who already owned property in London feel rich, confident and willing to keep on spending. The party continued.

"Exploding property prices meant property became an even more attractive investment, the best investment of all. You could buy a property, let it, and have a healthy income as well as a huge capital gain. Or not even bother to let it. What were, to some, crazily unaffordable rents were, to others, mere peanuts, not worth the smallest amount of hassle."

2017-04-05

Evening Standard: "Driverless shuttle bus to be tested by public in London for first time"


Link to web site

"A driverless shuttle bus is to hit the streets of London in the first extended trial of its kind in the UK.

"About 100 people will travel in a prototype shuttle – known as Harry after clockmaker John Harrison – on a route in North Greenwich over the next three weeks."

2017-04-01

'The Brent Cross Railway', nine years on. (Superseded by London Overground from Old Oak Common, and a North London tram system?)







Sun 23 April: Northern Heights Walk









[Reposted from Jan 2016] Evening Standard: "Architect Sir Terry Farrell's master plan for the regeneration of Brent Cross and Cricklewood includes a new shopping district." (The roof is built of nano-particles, and is unaffected by falling icicles or the weight of snow.)



"A £4.5 billion redevelopment of railway lands at Brent Cross and Cricklewood is bringing 7,500 homes, three new schools, four parks and a new Thameslink station, offering a 12-minute commute to central London.

The 20-year project is soon to start. It will create a new town centre for the area, including a high street leading to a revamped shopping district at Brent Cross. The high street will pass through new public squares and over a 'living bridge' — a new cycle and pedestrian crossing over North Circular Road.

The railway looms large in Cricklewood's history and topography. The area came of age in the 1880s when Midland Railway moved its locomotive works from Kentish Town to the new Brent Sidings and built an estate of railway cottages, now coveted private homes, for its workers.

Today it attracts people who have outgrown their Kilburn or West Hampstead flat and want more space for their money, as they seek to settle down in a good-value family house with a credible-sounding postcode less than four miles from Marble Arch. Cricklewood numbers former London mayor Ken Livingstone among its residents.

As a general rule, prices sag in the centre of Cricklewood, and rise expectantly towards its borders with Barnet, Brent and Hendon.

Check out the quieter streets and conservation areas either side of the bustling Broadway, including Mapesbury Estate and 'the Groves' — Yew Grove, Elm Grove and Ash Grove — plus roads surrounding 86-acre Gladstone Park, close to Dollis Hill."

The Guardian: "UK households’ savings fall to record low in warning sign for economy"


Link to web site

"British households ran down their savings to a record low at the end of 2016, raising fears that the UK is on course for a fresh consumer debt crisis in the wake of the Brexit vote.

The saving ratio – which estimates the amount of money households have available to save as a percentage of their total disposable income – fell sharply in the fourth quarter last year to 3.3% from 5.3% in the third. It was the lowest since records began in 1963.

"... Martin Beck, a senior economic adviser to forecasting group the EY Item Club, said the falls in savings and disposable income were 'worrying signs' for the health of household finances, not least because inflation is expected to climb higher.

" 'Given that this pre-dates the worst of the inflationary pressures, it provides further evidence that 2017 is likely to be a very tough year for the consumer, with little or no scope to offset the headwinds from higher inflation by borrowing more,' Beck said.



Link to web site

"Innovations come when governments and businesses are forced out of their comfort zones"

"It would be fatuous to argue that the EU is somehow responsible for the structural defects of British capitalism, because the dominance of finance over industry and the reluctance to invest in new plant and skills has been a feature of the economy for at least a century.

"But at the margin, membership of the EU has accentuated those trends. ... Free movement of labour has allowed employers to meet extra demand by taking on more staff at the minimum wage or just above, rather than by investing. That helps explain why employment is at record levels, but productivity has been feeble.

"The cry from employers now is that curbs on migration will push up their costs and lead to consumers paying higher prices. Actually, consumers are already paying through the taxes that fund the in-work benefits which subsidise poverty wages."

2017-03-31

UCL: Engineering Exchange Draft 'Green Infrastructure for London'






"Between January and March 2017, the Engineering Exchange delivered activities looking at the state of Green Infrastructure (GI) in London. The activities were part of a Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) bid on ‘Engaging the UK public with the big issues of environmental science’.

Review our draft report

"The major output from the project is a report entitled ‘Green Infrastructure for London: A review of the evidence’. The initial draft report is available here: Green Infrastructure for London: Report for Review

"Our goal is to achieve truly two-way, collaborative research in participation with London communities. To support this, we are trying something unusual. In addition to the normal client and peer-review process, we are asking community members to respond to our draft report. We are collecting feedback via an online survey, accessible here: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/KB5F5TR

"Anyone can participate, regardless of prior green infrastructure knowledge. The deadline for submissions is midnight, 23rd April 2017. After this, the survey will be closed and the consultation period will end.

"Although individuals will not be cited as contributors except in exceptional cases, your comments will be carefully considered and your input will be invaluable for reflecting the wide knowledge base of communities impacted by GI in London.

Launch event

"We held a panel and community consultation launch event at UCL, 30th March 2017. You can view the panel’s slides on working with communities to implement community planning and river improvements. You can also view photos from the event on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/uclengex/

Other activities included in the project:

– A CPD training course for GI practitioners called ‘Working with Communities: Practical skills for GI practitioners’. (Find out about future CPD opportunities: http://www.engineering.ucl.ac.uk/engineering-exchange/cpd/)

– A community research forum with discussion tables chaired by specialists on themes including light and air pollution; soil quality and food growing; heat islands and microclimates; water harvesting and flooding and greening the city. (Read the event report: Green Infrastructure Springboard event report and find out about other community research fora: http://www.engineering.ucl.ac.uk/engineering-exchange/community-forum/)

– A series of video interviews with specialists in airborne and light pollution. (Watch the videos: http://www.engineering.ucl.ac.uk/engineering-exchange/video-articles/)"

2017-03-28

Help Polish a Turd: Capita wants a 'Principal Transport Planner - Brent Cross'



"Capita provide transport planning advice and development planning assistance to London Borough of Barnet through the Regional Enterprise joint venture.

"[Due to, ahem, 'circumstances'] we are currently recruiting for a Principal Transport Planner to join our team engaged in all aspects of traffic and transportation planning including reviewing transport assessments for new developments and negotiation with developers; development of strategic transport schemes; funding bid preparation; masterplanning; urban regeneration and sustainable transport projects.

"The successful candidate will assist in the preparation of all aspects of our work in relation to the Brent Cross development as a part of the Brent Cross transport team.

"The Brent Cross Cricklewood Regeneration is one of the largest regeneration projects in London and will deliver a new urban quarter in accordance with its status as an Opportunity Areas identified in the London Plan. 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 [really?];
  • Doubling in size of the existing Brent Cross Shopping Centre including an enhanced replacement bus station;
  • A new Thameslink railway station [wanna bet?] 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 and a new road bridge over the Midland Mainline Railway;
  • Replacement waste handling and rail freight facilities.
  • [That's enough provision. Ed.]
"As part of the role you will be required to liaise with other professionals including Local Authority Officers, Architects and Town Planners and hence must have good interpersonal and communication skills.

"We're committed to developing our staff and as such the successful candidate will benefit from one-to-one training on a wide range of tasks that encompass transport planning and external training is also provided and offered on a company wide basis.

Role Definition

"Key Requirements are as follows [wait for it...]:
  • Substantial experience in transportation / development planning;
  • Ability to deliver transport planning solutions, manage junior staff and successfully manage projects;
  • A good all round knowledge of all aspects of transport planning for developments from strategic appraisal through to transport assessments and traffic engineering;
  • Sound technical experience, including familiarity with relevant software e.g. TRANSYT, LINSIG, ARCADY, PICADY, VISSIM, etc;
  • Understanding and experience of working in the Planning Regulatory framework, application of current highway design guidance and application of the relevant planning circulars and development control policies;
  • A highly motivated individual ideally with membership of a relevant professional body;
  • The ability to communicate effectively and professionally with all levels of staff and clients (both written and orally);
  • Capability to work to tight deadlines and work autonomously when required;
  • Understanding and experience of the operation of management systems for quality, financial and project control;
  • Experience of attending council committees to provide technical advice on transport issues to committee members; and
  • Ability to negotiate with developers and their agents to secure transport related improvements to schemes and secure appropriate funding for mitigation measures.

What's in it for you?

"At Capita, training and development aren't optional extras: they're how we do our job. We will motivate you to perform at your peak, recognising your achievements and rewarding them appropriately. As well as a generous basic salary we also give you generous holiday, company pension scheme and access to voluntary benefit options including; child care vouchers, share save scheme, life assurance, holiday buy and many more designed to suit your own personal lifestyle. All of this, in a professional but fun environment."

The shopping centre is through there.


2017-03-27

The Guardian: "'Dog kennel' flats in Barnet will be 40% smaller than Travelodge room"


"Homes converted from London council offices are permitted to be far below national minimum size due to deregulation of planning rules"

Link to web site

"Hundreds of tiny studio flats, many smaller than a budget hotel room, are to be squeezed into an eleven-story block in north London as its developer takes advantage of the government’s relaxation of planning regulations.

"Plans for Barnet House, used by the London borough of Barnet’s housing department, reveal that 96% of the 254 proposed flats will be smaller than the national minimum space standards of 37 sq metres (44 sq yards) for a single person.

"The tiniest homes will be 16 sq metres – 40% smaller than the average Travelodge room. They are legal because of government deregulation designed to promote the conversion of underused office space to help meet housebuilding targets."

2017-03-26

The Guardian: "Populism is the result of global economic failure"


Link to web site

"... James Montier and Philip Pilkington of the global investment firm GMO say that the system that arose in the 1970s was characterised by four significant economic policies:

  • the abandonment of full employment and its replacement with inflation targeting;
  • an increase in the globalisation of the flows of people, capital and trade;
  • a focus on shareholder maximisation rather than reinvestment and growth; and
  • the pursuit of flexible labour markets and the disruption of trade unions and workers' organisations.

"... 'Labour market flexibility may sound appealing, but it is based on a theory that runs completely counter to all the evidence we have,' Montier and Pilkington note. 'The alternative theory suggests that labour market flexibility is by no means desirable, as it results in an economy with a bias to stagnate. It can only maintain high rates of employment and economic growth through debt-fuelled bubbles that inevitably blow up, leading to the economy tipping back into stagnation.'

"This quest for ever-greater labour-market flexibility has had some unexpected consequences. The bill in the UK for tax credits spiralled quickly once firms realised that they could pay poverty wages and let the state pick up the bill. Access to a global pool of low-cost labour meant there was less of an incentive to invest in productivity-enhancing equipment.

"The abysmally-low levels of productivity growth since the crisis have encouraged the belief that this is a recent phenomenon, but as Andy Haldane, the Bank of England's chief economist, noted last week, the trend started in most advanced countries in the 1970s."

The Independent: "Amazon avoids $1.5bn US tax bill in court ruling"


"Judge rules it legal for internet giant to funnel European sales through Luxembourg"

Deliver the web site

"... [Even with this ruling] Amazon could face additional tax bills in Europe, if Brussels officials choose to take further action.

"Luxembourg is known as one of the world's biggest tax havens, offering heavy discounts on corporate taxes that have attracted global companies such as Pepsi and Apple.

"During his Presidential campaign, Donald Trump criticised Amazon for not paying enough in tax. The online retailer's chief executive, Jeff Bezos, responded angrily to the claims, triggering a social media battle."

2017-03-25

[Reposted from 2011] Mike McGuinness, Hammerson Development Director, and "leading on Brent Cross Cricklewood" (who is 'following'?) fails to mention the place

Publications > Commons Select Committees > Communities and Local Government > Communities and Local Government
Session 2010-12: Regeneration: Regen 73

Written submission from Hammerson plc:

Link to Parliamentary web site

Hammerson PLC

"Hammerson has been creating and managing some of the most exciting retail destinations and office buildings in Europe for over 60 years. A FTSE 100 company with a real estate portfolio in the UK and France of around £5.3 billion at 31 December 2010, Hammerson has investments in 17 major shopping centres and 17 retail parks. We own seven London office buildings, which provide 158,000 m² of prime accommodation. [2013: Not now, you don't ]

"Hammerson aims to be the best owner-manager and developer of retail and office property in the UK and France. We focus on prime regional shopping centres and out-of town retail, while exploiting opportunities in the office sector. Our strategy is to outperform through two areas of focus: maximising income growth, and creating a high-quality property portfolio through acquisition, development and asset management. Both areas are underpinned by prudent financial management."


What made you invest in regeneration in more prosperous times?
"Regeneration is an essential component of the growth process. Hammerson's expertise is in the retail and office sectors. Investment purchases generally become too expensive in a good market and therefore when occupier demand is strong in a particular town or City where Hammerson have an interest then it is a logical step to promote rental and capital growth (and day one profit) through the development process."
What is constraining your ability to invest at the present time?
"The fundamentals of the development process are weak at present. For example, in the retail sector - retailers are very selective about where they locate and how much they will pay, which puts huge pressure on a developer to make development appraisals viable - as inevitably, retailers want to pay less rent but in return for more rent free and capital. [sic]

Demand for residential space is restrained by the lack of mortgage finance. Grants have disappeared in respect of the provision of affordable housing, and therefore even more pressure on viability. [sic] Availability of bank finance is still a big barrier - not so much for Hammerson - but for businesses wanting to expand, which in turn will ignite the development process.
However Hammerson has spent time re-designing schemes, and making them more efficient and deliverable, i.e. fit for purpose. A big problem also with big regeneration schemes is the long lead-in period, huge upfront costs for planning; land assembly, big infrastructure commitments which undermine cash flow/returns, etc. Until the fundamentals change, relative to demand/finance, and more certainty on planning and costs, we remain in for a long and arduous period." [sic]
Do you think the Government’s current plans will encourage investment in regeneration?
"In principle, the Government's plans will help, and in addition to the previous answer, much will depend on the Local Authority's willingness and commitment to driving through the growth agenda.


There is a danger that the process could be side-tracked by agitators, and that NIMBYS will undermine the process. Therefore, it is key to have strong local leadership in the Local Authority at Leader and Chief Executive Level.  [Well, you've got no chance in Barnet, then, have you?]
It is important that processes are simplified, and not made more unwieldy."
Which areas will be most and least attractive for investment under the new arrangements and why?
"In geographical terms this is very difficult to say, until the Government initiatives are in place. The evolution of Local Enterprise Partnerships, Enterprise Zones and Tax Increment Financing (TIF) will be very important in setting up a strong platform for growth. The South East and London will continue to remain dominant, but areas such as the North East will be testing in enabling regeneration to be kick-started. In these areas, the big challenge will be to attract inward investment by presenting more certainty in planning, occupier demand, and delivery terms."
What more could Government do to help?
"I believe that the introduction of TIF will be key to plugging the gap in terms of what is or not a fundable or deliverable scheme in terms of financial returns. Whether the funding is provided by the public or private sector against future rates income, it is very important that the Government give a clear steer, and importantly, formalise the process, in order that regeneration can be kick-started."

Case Study:
Hammerson regeneration projects:
Highcross Leicester and Cabot Circus Bristol 2008

(pic: Leicester Shire Promotions)

"The two schemes follow the success in 2003 of the ground-breaking Bullring [sic] development in Birmingham, where Hammerson was the development partner. Once again, on Highcross Leicester and on Cabot Circus Bristol, Hammerson’s role as the principal development partner has seen the company forge a new template for city centre regeneration.

(Cabot Circus picture: EG Focus)
"Shaped by exhaustive and far-reaching consultation programmes, both Highcross Leicester and Cabot Circus Bristol have been designed to respond to community and council objectives. During the 18-month consultation programme undertaken for Cabot Circus at the planning stage over 200 individuals, representing 76 organisations, were involved in the process, while public exhibitions about Highcross Leicester generated 90% support for the proposals.

"During the development stages of both projects, extensive information programmes were implemented which included: public open weekends, regular mail outs to residents, visits and talks to community groups, and ambassador tours aimed at local opinion forming stakeholders and the public in general."