Mill Hill East Transport (before the bean counters cut it all)


Thursday, 20 December 2012

Daily Telegraph: "Planning rule book is torn up"

Link to web site

"A review by Lord Taylor of Goss Moor has concluded that up to 80 per cent of the 7,000 rules governing where development can take place should go.

"Last year, the Government faced a major battle over proposals to simplify planning laws, because they appeared to create a bias in favour of builders.

"The proposals suggest changes to how that law is interpreted, in a process which could generate new pressure to develop more of the countryside."

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Daily Telegraph: "MPs plot to stop rash of new housing squeezing local schools and roads"

Link to Daily Telegraph

"A group of twenty Conservatives and Liberal Democrats is seeking changes to the law to stop new housing being built in towns and villages without adequate infrastructure.

"The group wants an amendment to the Government’s Growth Bill, which would force local councils to consider whether there would be enough public services in the area to cope with new housing.

"The changes have been tabled by Nick Herbert, a former Conservative minister, who warns there is currently a lack of infrastructure to support development."

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Evening Standard: "Taxpayer forks out £218m a year to have poor road resurfacing work done again"

Link to web site

"Taxpayers are forking out more than £200 million a year to repair street surfaces which are poorly relaid by utility companies' contractors after roadworks, according to research released today.

"The Local Government Association (LGA) said councils in England and Wales have to redo 340,000 shoddy resurfacing jobs a year - 17 per cent of all private companies' roadworks - at a total cost of £218 million to the taxpayer."

Thursday, 6 December 2012

ConservativeHome: "Newly built neo-classical social housing in Islington"

Link to web site

"The picture above is of Union Square in Islington. It shows newly built social housing. As part of a redevelopment of Packington Estate, these houses, in sympathy with the rest of the square, replace the 1960s ugly slab blocks.

"The Hyde Group housing association who are responsible for the scheme says:
"The terrace of four and five bedroom traditional town houses on Union Square, are all for social rent. The 17 family homes on Union Square are designed to mirror the existing Edwardian street properties."
"Hyde is replacing 491 council homes, and adding 300 new homes which will be sold on the open market to finance the £130 million scheme (not completely - there is a £33 million "gap funding" subsidy from the Government.) There will also be new community spaces, a youth centre, retail units, and employment spaces." 

Link to PDF file

"London is in the midst of a housing crisis, with demand having outpaced supply for too many years. London’s homes are also overcrowded. Building more, larger, family sized homes is one way in which we can begin to solve this crisis. We also need to build quality homes, designed to high environmental standards, in order that London plays its part in mitigating climate change.

"As this report will show, this needn’t occur at the expense of the public purse. In fact, the opposite is true: significant value can be created from designing and building homes to the highest environmental standards, as has been demonstrated at other sites across the country, such as the BedZED development in south London.

"The 8000+ homes to be built on the Olympic Park over the next two decades represent a generation-defining opportunity to build high-quality family homes and help regenerate this historically neglected part of the city. Done well, the project has the ability to re-define regeneration in London."

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Daily Telegraph: " 'Garden tax' clampdown facing homeowners with large grounds"

Link to Daily Telegraph

"Those with more than 1.23 acres of land face having to pay a 28 per cent levy on gains on the sale of a home.

"The new stance by tax authorities, reviving the enforcement of rules on the statute book since the 1960s, threatens to upset the long-held assumptions of many that profits from the sale of one's main home are exempt from tax."

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

The Independent: "Planning minister: We need to build more homes in the countryside"

Link to web site

"The amount of land that is built on in Britain needs to be expanded by up to a third to tackle the nation’s housing shortage, the new Planning Minister will say [later today].

Nick Boles will reveal a controversial plan to build more homes in the countryside in order to give today’s younger generation their “basic moral right” to an affordable home. He will also attack many of the modern homes being built by developers as 'pig ugly'.

"... Before becoming an MP in 2010, Mr Boles advocated building in the Green Belt in a report for Policy Exchange, the think tank he headed, which has close links to Mr Cameron."

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Daily Telegraph: "Swathes of green belt land sacrificed"

Link to web site

"The Telegraph has established that more than 9,000 acres of land – an area the same size as the city of Gloucester – is set to be removed from the Green Belt by local authorities, following the Coalition’s controversial planning reforms.

"At least 40 per cent of councils with green belt land in their areas have already redrawn, or plan to alter, the boundaries of the protected areas, in an attempt to meet demand for housing and development." [Er. There isn't any great demand in the economy, is there?]

Monday, 5 November 2012

BBC: "Campaigners angry at Growth and Infrastructure Bill"

Link to BBC web site

"Campaigners have accused the government of creating a developers' charter with its Growth and Infrastructure Bill being debated in the Commons later.

"The government says the bill is needed to stimulate development.

"But critics say it betrays ministers' promises to leave planning decisions to be made at local level."

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Evening Standard: "London house price boom ‘is over’ "

Link to web site

"London house prices fell last month for the first time since February. The average value dipped 0.2 per cent to £363,802, according to official Land Registry figures.

"Prices are now just 5.5 per cent higher than a year ago, although this is still a far better performance than anywhere else in the country.

"The figures suggest that the mini-boom, that started in the spring of 2009 and has been fuelled by a wave of foreign buyers, may be finally running out of steam."

BBC: "Councils urge ministers to U-turn over extensions plans"

Link to web site

"Councils across England are calling on the government to abandon its plan to allow larger home extensions without planning permission.

"The Local Government Association warned the proposals would 'give the green light to unsightly development' and cause 'friction between neighbours'.

"Last month Downing Street announced a consultation on easing the rules on home extensions of up to eight metres."

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Evening Standard: "Recovery hopes dimmed by housebuilding ‘disaster’ "

Link to web site

"A 'disastrous' month for Britain’s building industry today raised fresh fears about recovery in the UK, as business leaders warned of stagnant growth and house prices fell again.

The latest alarming figures from the Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply showed the nation’s construction industry still stuck in recession during September. Housebuilders endured their worst month since a snow-blighted December 2010, while commercial building work saw its biggest slump for more than two years.

"Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply chief executive David Noble said:

"September’s figures show the construction sector’s cupboard to be well and truly bare, rounding off a disastrous quarter. After the longest continual decline in new orders for three years, this is of no surprise.

Looking ahead, there is little to be positive about. Homebuilding continues to be hit hard, and the commercial sector, so long the star of the industry, has lost its sparkle."

Thursday, 20 September 2012

BBC: "Tory council set to defy relaxed planning rules"

Link to web site

"A Conservative council is set to defy the government over a relaxation of planning rules for building extensions.

"The proposals, covering England and intended to boost the economy, will allow larger home and business extensions without planning permission.

"But amid fears of a rash of ugly extensions, Richmond council officials in south-west London are considering ways to circumvent the policy."

Barnet Times: "Retired man campaigns to save trees at Old Camdenians Football Club in Mill Hill"

Link to web site

"George Maile of Burtonhole Close is calling for Barnet Council to prevent the killing of trees at the Old Camdenians Football Club, also in Burtonhole Close.

"Mr Maile, who is retired and lives next door to the club, claims that a number of trees in the “naturally beautiful tree line” have already been cleared and that more are in danger."

Monday, 17 September 2012

Daily Telegraph: "Green belt only safe 'for now', planning minister Nick Boles admits"

Link to web site

"... Shaun Spiers, the chief executive of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said:
"We would have hoped for much stronger defence of the green belt than the [new planning] minister gave in Parliament."
"Asked about Nick Boles' comments, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman denied there were plans to make it easier to build on the green belt. He said:
"There are flexibilities within the current planning regime – in some parts of the country, they are quite good at using those flexibilities.

We have a national planning framework which was finalised quite recently, and there isn’t any plan to change that."

Saturday, 8 September 2012

The Economist: "The green belt is sacred. It should not be"

Link to The Economist

"CYCLING north through London, you experience the city’s history. Bloomsbury has grand 18th-century mansions. Farther out, in Camden, you pass pretty Victorian terraces. In Finchley, the houses are neat 1930s villas. And then the city simply stops.

"At the edge of the pre-war suburbs of Barnet there are fields.

"Traffic fumes give way to bird calls and the acrid smell of smoke from a bonfire on a nearby farm. This scraggy patch of land, part of London’s green belt, has been protected from the bulldozers for nearly 60 years. Some in the government would like to relax the belt a few notches."

Sunday, 2 September 2012

The Guardian: "George Osborne plans deregulation of planning laws"

Link to web site

"George Osborne has signalled plans for a major deregulation of planning laws, raising the prospect of allowing more development of green belt land.

"In an interview on Sunday, the chancellor of the exchequer said he wanted to see more 'imaginative' thinking by planning authorities, which could allow building on previously protected land.

"His words will anger some ministers and members of the coalition who have campaigned for protected green belts around urban areas to remain free of development."

Monday, 27 August 2012

The Independent: "Dozens of developments pose threat to sanctity of green belt"

Link to The Independent

"The scale of the threat to the green belt is revealed today, with a report highlighting more than 35 proposed developments on protected land.

"Local authorities are under growing pressure to rip up countryside-planning rules by approving dozens of building projects including mines, industrial parks and 81,000 homes, according to the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE).

"Government policies requiring councils to allocate more than five years' worth of land for new housing is opening up large swaths of England's 1.6 million-hectare green belt to developers, the CPRE warns."

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Daily Telegraph: "We need new houses built on fields, not these 'mixed-use’ Soviet estates"

Link to Daily Telegraph

"... The insistence on housing quotas of 'affordability' by governments has had a negative short-term impact.

"Sir Adrian Montague has been reviewing the rental market for the Coalition, and wants the quotas done away with altogether. His report this week suggests that such requirements have put developers off building (Keith’s opinion appears not to be unique), with the result that even the private rented sector is becoming less available to those waiting to get on to the ladder.

"Thus the law of unintended consequences: there aren’t enough houses in London, so the cost is too high. The government intervenes with affordability quotas, which will never be sufficient to deal with the root cause of the housing crisis.

"Those quotas put some buyers off, which in turn puts the developers off, which in turn leads to rents for those locked out of the market becoming inexorably higher."

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Daily Mail: "Ministers ready for a battle over greenbelt grab as they plan to seize land for housing and new airport"

Link to web site

"Ministers are planning to seize chunks of the greenbelt to build housing developments and pave the way for a new hub airport, the Mail has learned.

"The Treasury is prepared to ‘have a fight’ with green campaigners by pushing through rules which would let ministers redesignate areas of greenbelt as available for development.

"Chancellor George Osborne plans to let ministers rather than local councils decide where to build hundreds of thousands of houses by reclassifying them as projects of national importance."

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

London house prices rise: Capital bucks the trend as the rest of the country suffers

Link to Evening Standard

"Official figures showed today that London house prices rose overall by 6.5 per cent last year.

The surge in the capital drove an England-wide increase of 2.3 per cent for the year to June, according to the Office for National Statistics.

But analysts predicted that house prices could edge downwards into next year, amid the uncertain economy and 'fragile' consumer confidence.

"... Howard Archer, of IHS Global Insight, said:
"We continue to suspect that house prices are headed lower over the rest of 2012, and very possibly beyond."

Monday, 6 August 2012

Barnet Times video: "Hidden cameraman exposes Barnet Council binmen disposing of industrial waste in Mill Hill"

Link to web site and video

"Embarrassment reigns at Barnet Council following the release of a video which appears to show binmen disposing of industrial waste. 

"The video, which appears to have been filmed in secret, was posted on YouTube on July 29. 

"It seems to show Barnet Council binmen in Page Road, Mill Hill, allowing two men to throw items including bags of cement and mattresses into the back of a refuse truck."

Monday, 23 July 2012

WhatHouse: "Developers to build new homes in Mill Hill East"

Link to WhatHouse web site

"Housebuilders Linden Homes and Taylor Wimpey have purchased two parcels of land at the Inglis Consortium's 33-hectare Millbrook Park* development in Mill Hill East, with a view to developing a selection of new homes as part of a new community at the heart of the London Borough of Barnet.

"Taylor Wimpey North Thames will develop 58, three- and four-bedroom houses on land adjacent to the popular Ridgemont development bordering Frith Lane with views over Finchley Golf course.

"Meanwhile, Linden Homes have purchased a package of land to the west of the site to build 113 new homes comprising one- and two-bedroom apartments as well as three-, four- and five-bedroom houses. They will also refurbish the former Inglis Barracks Officers Mess which has been preserved as an important part of local history. This will be renovated to provide ten apartments as well as a GP's surgery."

* A combination of three rustic-sounding phrases,
in one new location name.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Evening Standard: "London has lost equivalent of seven Hyde Parks as front gardens are paved over"

Link to web site

"So many of London’s front gardens have been paved over to create car parking spaces that the city has lost the equivalent of seven Hyde Parks.

"According to new figures from the RAC Foundation, about 600,000 homes in the capital have lost 85 per cent or more of their front gardens, as homeowners seek to avoid parking restrictions introduced by borough councils.

"The foundation estimates that the number of front gardens being turned into hard-standing areas for cars has doubled over the past 15 years.

"It urged London councils to draw up plans to combat the loss of green space which, it said, spoiled London’s 'green' look."

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Daily Telegraph: "Celebrity gardeners blamed for making floods worse by encouraging decking and patios"

Link to web site

"New satellite pictures show the proportion of gardens in towns and cities in England that have been paved over increased from 28 per cent to 48 per cent between 2001 and 2011.

"Lord Krebs, the Government’s top adviser on climate change and flooding, suggested celebrity gardeners were to blame:
"Rather than allowing water to soak into the soil, like a traditional lawn, hard surfaces cause water to run-off and build up in valleys and roads."

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Daily Telegraph: "If you want to keep England green and pleasant you're going to have to pay for it says Motion"

Link to web site

"Andrew Motion, new President of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, has admitted that energy bills will have to go up, if we want to stop destruction of the countryside.

"The former poet laureate said that climate change is the greatest risk the planet faces. Therefore, conservationists must support plans to reduce carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels, by switching to renewables.

"However, renewables also have an impact on the countryside, because of the aesthetic impact of technologies like wind turbines and solar panels. Also, wind and solar often have to be far away from the population, meaning more more power lines and pylons are required."

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Daily Telegraph: "Recession hitting middle-income families the most"

Link to web site

"The middle fifth of households saw disposable incomes drop by £1,100 to £24,400 in the year to April, quadruple the average fall of £200 to £30,300 across all households, the report from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed.

"The figures, which track family incomes after tax and benefits, showed that the poorest members of society have borne the brunt of tax and duty rises under Chancellor George Osborne’s austerity measures."

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Barnet Times: "Cosmetics firm Barry M threatens to abandon borough if Barnet Council denies expansion"

Link to Barnet Times

"A leading cosmetics firm employing 80 people is threatening to leave the borough if Barnet Council refuses to sell a piece of land next to its Mill Hill East factory.

"Barry M Cosmetics, based in Bittacy Hill, says it desperately needs to expand and is looking to buy part of the adjacent Mill Hill depot to create another 100 jobs."

Sunday, 20 May 2012

The Guardian: "London housing crisis: should we build on the green belt?"

Link to The Guardian
"... Environmentalists, free-enterprise evangelists and even mainstream political parties tend to agree that car-dependent suburban sprawl is bad stuff, both environmentally and economically. It's an  interesting debate.

"Given London's expected population surge and the already high densities of much of inner London, it could be that rather than building new suburbs, we need to turn our existing ones into Compact Cities, if Greater London is to adapt and thrive. But would those suburbs agree?"

Thursday, 17 May 2012

The Guardian: "Government 'failing to get enough homes built'"

Link to web site

"Ministers are failing to tackle the housing crisis and not enough new homes are being built, leading to rising rental levels and growing homelessness and overcrowding, according to a report by leading housing experts.

"The report by the National Housing Federation, Shelter and the Chartered Institute of Housing highlights areas where the coalition is in charge of deteriorating housing conditions. It points out that while there has been a small increase in new builds, the 109,020 completed homes in 2011 is almost 40% below the 2007 peak of 175,560 – and less than half the number the government admits would be required annually to meet demand."

Monday, 30 April 2012

Evening Standard: "Has the green belt had its day?"

Link to Evening Standard

"Nobody wants to see environmental degradation, but is the London green belt a yoke around Britain's neck? With population levels spiralling, house prices increasing and discretionary incomes plunging, could one of the single most effective steps to boosting the UK economy be to start opening up the green belt for development, creating jobs in the process?

"... Relaxing green belt restrictions need not be equivalent to junking the whole concept - this doesn't need to be 'baby and bathwater' territory. Similarly, not all green belt land is of equal beauty; surely some of it could go?"

Thursday, 26 April 2012

BBC: "Showing paintings of British suburban houses to Saudis"

Link to BBC web site

"From LS Lowry's matchstick factory workers, to a haunting depiction of Stonehenge in winter - dozens of works of art have gone on show in Riyadh to try to depict the UK's landscape and people to Saudis.

"The art in the exhibition 'Out of Britain' is dominated by landscapes and abstract compositions - rather than works displaying human form. Selections were made by five Saudi curators, with help from the British Council. Take a look with the council's visual arts director, Andrea Rose."

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

IEA: "Only liberalisation of land use planning system can address affordability crisis"

Link to IEA web site

"... In summary, there is overwhelming empirical evidence that planning restrictions have a substantial impact on housing costs. It is also fully plausible, albeit not (yet) definitely confirmed, that planning restrictions play a much more important role than scarcity of developable land, be it due to topographic obstacles or past development.

Even in very densely populated and built-up places, regulatory restrictions have been found to be important determinants of housing costs. If such evidence can be found for Manhattan and Hong Kong, then there is hardly any place in Britain where housing shortages could be blamed on scarcity of space. High housing costs are a self-inflicted problem.

"...  Opinion surveys show strong resistance to development, which allows the anti-development lobby to present their views as fully in accordance with the public mood. But this is not the least surprising given that these surveys bear no resemblance to real-world decision-making processes, which involve opportunity costs and trade-offs. They are no more meaningful than asking ‘would you prefer to get up two hours later in the morning’ or ‘would you prefer to work closer to home’: other things equal, how could the answer be in the negative? 

What matters is the choice people make when faced with real-world opportunities, facing the benefit and (opportunity) cost of each, and making trade-offs. Unless the planning system moves a lot closer to a decision-making process of this type, there will be no lasting solution to the housing affordability crisis."

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Sunday Telegraph: "Middle England goes to war as the National Trust fights planning reforms"

Link to Sunday Telegraph

"Dame Fiona Reynolds has given the Prime Minister a bloody nose. She wouldn’t put it like that, being a woman who likes to win her battles with cream teas and a smile, but the fact is that the director general of the National Trust and her allies have just forced the Government to rewrite the rules on planning development, preserving swathes of the countryside.

"'They listened and we thank them for it,' says Dame Fiona, sitting in the ultra-modern, environmentally-friendly offices of the National Trust in Swindon. The fight is not over yet. 'We won’t leave it alone now. We will be watching what happens next, and playing our part'."

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

London Stock Exchange: "Green belt vow in planning shake-up"

Link to web site

"The Government has insisted that the green belt will remain protected under long-awaited reforms to the planning system.

"Planning minister Greg Clark said protection of the green belt and putting high streets and town centres first are national requirements which protect everyone."

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Sunday Telegraph: "Radical planning powers are to be unveiled by ministers"

Link to Sunday Telegraph

"The planning framework will be published on Tuesday by ministers who want a new age of 'pro-growth' planning. It was described by one Whitehall source last night as 'the most radical business deregulation there has ever been'.

"Meanwhile, new official figures analysed by The Sunday Telegraph show that two million homes are expected to be built by 2020, to meet demand fuelled by a massive population rise.

"... London itself would have a 'second Docklands' development in the west of the city, said High-Speed-Two chief engineer Prof Andrew McNaughton."

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

The Independent: "'Visit Britain' could soon become a much harder sell"

Link to The Independent

"... George Osborne – and let us be clear, it is Mr Osborne who is driving the policy, not the man ostensibly in charge of planning, the Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles – is sweeping away [protection of the countryside] and replacing it with nothing.

"And it's not only in PPS7. It's also in Planning Policy Statement 4, paragraph 10: the Government's aim is to achieve:
'inclusive and locally distinctive rural communities, whilst continuing to protect the open countryside for the benefit of all.' 
That's being swept away as well."

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

The Guardian: "Roger Tichborne, blogs at Barnet Eye: 'Crime is on the rise'"

Link to The Guardian

"To watch the sun set over St Joseph's college from the Mill Field in Mill Hill is probably one of my greatest secret pleasures. St Joseph's college is a local landmark, and this is probably the most spectacular view of it. It was a training centre for the Mill Hill Missionaries until they sold it. It has been slowly falling apart ever since, making the odd appearance as a film set, most recently in Call the Midwife."

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Daily Telegraph: "Opponents to planning reforms are Nimbys, says IoD head Simon Walker"

Link to Daily Telegraph

"Simon Walker, director general of the Institute of Directors, said that the Government should stick with its reforms to boost house building and bring down prices.

"Ministers want to replace over 1,200 pages of planning guidance with a new 52 page document called the National Planning Policy Framework to clear away red tape and to stimulate development and economic growth.

"Campaigners including the National Trust are worried that the plans will put communities at risk of large scale development [in] parts of rural England."

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Daily Telegraph: "Getting planning right"

Link to web site

"After months of debate, the Government will shortly respond to the consultation exercise on its draft 'National Planning Policy Framework'.

"...  A streamlined planning policy that is more accessible to the public – and better reflects the competing interests of the economy, the environment and communities – is what everyone should be striving to achieve."

Monday, 20 February 2012

The Independent: "Planning reforms would not promote growth, says report"

Link to web site

"A report commissioned by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), the National Trust, and the RSPB claims there is no evidence that planning has large effects on productivity or employment, and that the draft National Planning Policy Framework is unlikely to have much effect on growth.

The report, prepared by Vivid Economics, also found that, although there have been a few studies of the costs of the planning system, the resulting claims have been overstated – and very little has been done to measure the benefits that good planning delivers.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Evening Standard: "Saracens: Our new stadium will tie us to community"

Link to Evening Standard

"The boss of Saracens rugby club today vowed to create a 'unique' community stadium in north London if its plans for a new home are approved by Boris Johnson.

"The Aviva Premiership champions have been given permission by Barnet council to move to the Copthall stadium in Mill Hill as part of an £18 million redevelopment. But community and environmental groups say the plans, which would increase the capacity to 10,000, would damage the surrounding green belt."

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Anti-Saracens campaigners fight back

Link to 'Copthall Community Initiative'

"We believe Saracens' proposal is wrong for a number of reasons. Copthall is used by the community, amateur sport and the simple pleasures of walking and enjoying the open space. It's part of the 'lungs of London', Green Belt, and the wrong site for up to 10,000 people to come and just sit and watch thirty or so professionals play rugby.

"But worst of all will be the effect on the stadium itself. Four of the running tracks will be out of use for most of the year, and the new indoor facilities, if they're built, could well be partly takem up [sic] by Saracens' souvenir shop, hospitality suites and a restaurant. Is that what we want for our young athletes and schools?"

Link to Barnet Times:

Monday, 6 February 2012

'State of the Suburbs'

"More than 80 per cent of us live in areas that can be classified as suburban and yet ‘suburbs’ have played a secondary role in regeneration and urban policy. In this publication, we have deliberately set out to contend that ‘city-suburbs’ – to give them a label that more accurately reflects their economic, social and environmental impact today – are an organic and correlative part of inner urban centres and the vitality of the city-region.

As such, the suburban agenda needs to be defined clearly by those that lead suburban boroughs, their city-region counterparts, their city-region partners and central government policy makers. The London Borough of Barnet – itself a suburb - together with the Leadership Centre for Local Government and partners the New Local Government Network and the Academy for Sustainable Communities have commissioned this publication – an analysis of our suburbs today – in order to start the debate."
Leo Boland, London Borough of Barnet, chief executive
(yes. this is a pre-credit crunch report)

Link to 'State of the Suburbs'

"Government policies for sustainable development and, crucially, for sustainable communities, could be seriously compromised if the role of suburbs continues to be overlooked. As Richard Rogers argues:  
“Urban renaissance needs to spread out beyond our city centres…Architects and planners have often neglected, or even derided, suburbs,” (R Rogers, 2006).
"An attitudinal shift was needed to promote an urban renaissance: away from regarding cities as problem areas to be avoided, and towards viewing them as vital engines for a sustainable society and economy. Similarly, we need a cultural shift away from regarding suburbs as isolated and self-sufficient entities. Instead, we should see them as organic extensions of the urban system, deserving as much attention as their inner urban centres. ...

"... We highlight some of the key features of a suburban quality of life, exploring the common perception that suburbs offer a better quality of life and hold many inherent advantages over inner urban areas, therefore not meriting special attention. Our analysis shows that, while the story is mixed, suburbs do provide a range of quality of life assets, including:
  • Healthier lifestyles
  • Lower crime rates
  • Good and accessible local services/amenities
  • Decent although unaffordable housing
  • Good transport and connectivity

Barnet 'Spider Chart'
(click to enlarge)

Case study: Barnet

"Barnet is a north London borough that closely identifies with its city-suburb profile. In fact, its sustainable community strategy and long-term vision (2006) is entitled 'Barnet: a first class suburb' and is a strategy that reflects the relationship it has with the capital and the issues that can arise out of an area in demand by inner-London professionals.

"For a London borough, Barnet offers a relatively good quality of life, with long life expectancy alongside a high level of connectivity and good amenities.

"One of the downsides is the high level of out-commuting, as many of the borough’s residents travel daily to their highly paid jobs in central London.

"Barnet is typical of many suburbs, where a high proportion of professionals commute out each day to work. This is made possible by a relatively efficient transport system and generally good connectivity. However, many commuters also use their cars and, consequently, we see above average levels of traffic congestion.

"Commuters also experience long travel-to-work times – in Barnet’s case, amongst the longest in the country. Preserving a high quality of life offer, while dealing with the impact of commuting – both for families and the environment – is one of the biggest challenges for ensuring sustainable suburban community strategies."


The future of suburbs

"More than eight in 10 people in England live in areas classified as suburban. Their future should be of as much concern to policy makers as it is to the businesses that operate in the suburbs and the communities that live in them. 

"We believe a shift of emphasis is required in urban policy, ensuring more priority is given to the suburban agenda. This will require a change in the conception that suburbs have a one-way dependency on their urban centres. Our analysis suggests a much greater interdependence, with the city and its suburbs each contributing in different ways to the economic vitality of the city-region. 

"Pushing suburbs up the political and policy agenda is timely in a number of ways. The city-centric approach to urban renewal has led to significant investment and some major improvements in town and city centres. However, in many cases, a step outside specific regeneration projects still reveals many urban problems. 

"Suburbs can play a part in achieving a more holistic approach to urban regeneration. Wider partnership-working, to include suburban policy, may help to encourage a more integrated and coherent approach to the future of city-regions."

Friday, 3 February 2012

Saracens Mill Hill plan approved by Barnet Council

Link to Saracens web site

"Reacting to the unanimous decision by Barnet Council Planning and Environment Committee [2 February] to approve plans to revive Barnet Copthall Stadium, Saracens chairman Nigel Wray said:
"After 18 months of engaging extensively with local residents, we are delighted that Barnet Councillors have approved our proposals to revive Barnet Copthall Stadium and create a vibrant sports hub for the local community.

The new stadium will provide both a real home for Saracens and a hugely improved venue for athletics in the south east. It will secure the future of the highly successful Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers and offer great facilities free of charge to local schools.

Our plans include the installation of an artificial turf pitch, which may well be the future of rugby. It could enable a faster, safer and more entertaining game and will certainly enable the local community to use the pitch for 349 days per year.

Copthall will, we promise, be a genuine community stadium. We will continue to work closely with the local community, and make Copthall an asset that we can all be proud of."