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


Thursday 5 March 2015

Planning Resource: "Consultancy calls for London 'Green Belt Commission'"

"A 'Green Belt Commission' should be established to decide where development could be allowed on currently protected land around London, according to engineering consultancy AECOM.

"The firm made the call in a report setting out its vision for maintaining London’s global competitiveness over the next 50 years.

"Big, Bold, Global, Connected – London 2065 [loads PDF file] calls for the formal creation of a London City Region, which would include anywhere within 90km of the heart of the capital.

"The report says a Green Belt Commission should be created to carry out a major review of possible sites for housing development. It says:
"Although the green belt policy is still valid, today it is failing to meet the scale and needs of the 21st century London City Region. Much of it provides significant ecological, environmental, visual and amenity function, but there are areas that should be subject to review and may assist in achieving sustainable urban growth.

This is a true regional challenge. The Metropolitan Green Belt has to be seen in its entirety and any review lifted from local consideration – with the establishment of a commission looking at its overall value to the capital and not solely the local value."
It also says that certain sites should be used to develop 'Garden Villages' on the edge of the capital. It report says:
"Green belt land without landscape, recreational or environmental protection, yet highly connected within a 15-20 minute walk of existing Tube and rail lines would be a focus.

"As new settlements or extensions to existing communities, these Garden Villages would be built with particular attention to their setting and the opportunities to open up access to the green belt for recreation."

Tuesday 24 February 2015

Planning Resource: "London councils 'should carry out green belt reviews'"

"London's reserves of brownfield land will not be enough to meet rising housing demand and councils should look to review green belt in their areas to provide for more homes, a report has recommended."

"The Green Belt: A Place for Londoners?, by SERC at the London School of Economics, Quod planning consultancy, and business group London First, argues that argues that [sic] it is unrealistic to assume that building on brownfield sites will provide sufficient land to meet London’s housing need.

It says London’s boroughs 'should be encouraged to review their green belt and consider how the land within it can be most effectively used and what the options are for re-designating a small fraction for new homes'.

The document says that the starting point for any green belt review 'should be to only consider areas that are close to existing or future transport nodes, that are of poor environmental or civic value and could better serve London’s needs by supporting sustainable, high-quality, well-designed residential development that incorporates truly accessible green space'.

The report also highlights key facts on the London’s green belt including:

  • A quarter of the land inside London’s green belt (within the area of the Greater London Authority) is environmentally designated land, parks, or land with real public access.
  • 27.6 per cent of London is covered by buildings, roads, paths, and railways.
  • 22 per cent of all the land within London’s boundary is green belt.
  • Around 60 per cent of London’s green belt is within 2km of an existing rail or tube station.

Barney Stringer, a director at Quod said:
"We need to make the most of brownfield sites, but if we want to protect the quality of London for the growing number of people who live in London, then we can’t continue to rule out sensible reviews of the green belt boundaries."

Sunday 18 January 2015

City Metric: "7 London boroughs are more than 25% green belt"

Link to web site

"Ask whether it's time to re-think Britain's green belts, as we often do in these parts, and you're likely to get a mixed response. Part of your audience – the younger, more urban, more-likely-to-be-private-tenants part – will cheer you on. But a significant minority will call you all sorts of names, accuse you of being in the pocket of the construction industry, and probably at some point blame immigration.

"Such is life. But since this debate isn't going to go away any time soon, we thought it might be worth injecting some figures into it. Let’s consider the Metropolitan Green Belt which has restricted London’s growth since 1938.

"There are 33 boroughs in London, of which no fewer than 19 have at least some protected Green Belt land within them. This chart shows the size of those 19 by area (total bar length), and the proportion of each which is designated as Green Belt (the bit that's, well, green). We’ve taken our data from government figures, hosted here."

Tuesday 13 January 2015

BBC: "Low-energy urbanisation 'can help climate goals'"

Link to web site

"A study of 274 cities has helped shed light on energy consumption in urban areas and what can be done to make future urbanisation more efficient.

"Globally, cities are best placed to mitigate emissions as urban areas are much more energy intensive than rural areas, say researchers.

"Most people now live in urban areas, a trend that is accelerating as the global population continues to grow.

"The findings appear in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences."

Saturday 13 December 2014

Barnet Eye: "Guest Blog - Support our campaign to Save Mill Hill Library - By Richard Logue"

Barnet Council are planning to make severe cuts to our library service

They are currently consulting on three possible options:
Option 1 Massive reduction of size of library to 540 sq feet – approximately the size of a large sitting room. Possible relocation from the existing building to another site and our library building sold off.
Library hours extended but only staffed for 33% of the time.
Option 2 Our library would be closed
Option 3 Massive reduction of size of library to 540 sq feet – approximately the size of a large sitting room. Our library would be offered to our community to be run entirely by volunteers. Possible relocation to another site in Mill Hill and our library building sold off.
It’s the oldest trick in the book to give only poor options in the hope that the least bad is taken and that the discussion is immediately limited. If, like us, you feel that all three options are unacceptable and lack vision, please join us in protesting and coming up with more constructive, imaginative ideas.

Regarding the consultation document, paper copies are available in the library. You can also complete it online at, but take care, the questions are worded so that it is possible to innocently give the council data that they can use to justify cuts. 

Here are our suggestions for the questions to watch out for:

Q6 We suggest you Don’t Answer!!
It asks you to rank which days of the week you want the library to be staffed. We advise that you don’t answer because the results could be used to justify reducing opening hours on particular days of the week.

Q7 We suggest you Don’t Answer!!
This question asks you to choose a time of day when you want libraries to be staffed. We believe that libraries should be accessible to all groups and open as long as possible. Different people use the library at different times – e.g. parents of school children may prefer mid-afternoon opening, students may prefer evenings and working people weekends. 
Unstaffed opening times will restrict the time children can use the library. It will also deter elderly and vulnerable people and people with disabilities from using the library. We advise that you don’t answer this question because the result could be used to justify reduced staffing and more unstaffed hours.

Q8 Tick ‘I would not feel confident at all’ and put your reasons in the comments box at Q10 Asks how you feel about an unstaffed library. We believe that libraries should be safe places for everyone. Barnet has not explained how an unstaffed building would be either safe or secure.

Q9 We suggest you say ‘I would not feel confident at all’ An unstaffed library would offer neither the same level of  service nor be as safe as a staffed building.

Q23 Tick ‘Another option’ and explain in the Q24 comments box why you oppose all three options This is the key question which forces you to rank in order the council’s three options, which for Mill Hill are:
  • Option 1: Massive reduction of floor space to the approximate equivalent of the current computer room, possible relocation from the existing building, library hours extended but only staffed for 33% of the time.
  • Option 2: Our library would be closed
  • Option 3: Our library would be offered to our community to be run entirely by volunteers, but with a reduction of floor space to the approximate equivalent of a large sitting room, and possible relocation from the existing building.
We believe that all three options are bad ones, lacking imagination and vision, and we oppose them all.

Q25 Say No!
This asks if you would be interested in volunteering. While volunteers can be a good thing if they’re trained and supported, they should not take the place of paid professional staff. Because there’s no comments box to express this distinction we recommend saying ‘no’ to this question.

Q26 Say No!
This asks if you would be interested in running a community library. Expressing a willingness to do so gives Barnet an argument that a community can be denied a key service, available free of charge in other parts of the borough (paid for by your council tax), and asks us to run it ourselves, thus putting librarians out of a job. Running a community library is no easy thing.

We will be running a public meeting at Hartley Hall, Flower Lane on Wednesday 14 January at 7pm. Please come along to support your library and to bring your own ideas on the future of our library. 

Richard Logue is the Chair of the Mill Hill Residents Association

Tuesday 21 October 2014

"Taylor Wimpey to deliver new phase of development at north London former RAF barracks"

"House builder Taylor Wimpey has purchased five acres of land for the one of the next phases of development at the former RAF Inglis Barracks in Mill Hill, north London, according to a report in the Estates Gazette.

"The London Borough of Barnet granted outline permission in 2009 for the comprehensive, phased redevelopment of the 34 hectare site to provide a new district, named Millbrook Park. The wider plans include: 2,174 homes; a primary school with community facilities; 1,100 square metres of 'high street' retail space; 3,470 sq m of office space; an energy centre; and a new public park.

"Taylor Wimpey was selected to deliver one of the next phases of the scheme: the 114-home "Phase 4A". The reported acquisition of five acres of land from the Inglis Consortium will enable work to commence on the construction of 55 three- to five-bedroom houses overlooking the Totteridge Valley to the north of the site, and an apartment building with 59 units, underground car parking and communal gardens."

Sunday 12 October 2014

Barnet Times: "New planning group to decide what the future should hold for Mill Hill"

Link to web site

"A new planning watchdog marks an 'important milestone' for Mill Hill as the group decides on what the future should hold for the area.

"The new Mill Hill Neighbourhood Forum, launched earlier this week, will oversee planning matters and ask people for their views on new developments.

"Barnet Borough Council's planning committee approved the new independent advisory team at a meeting on September 17, and it has now officially started work."

Sunday 18 May 2014

The Observer: "The solution to the UK housing crisis? Build on the green belt"

Link to web site

"Housing prices have become a prime driver of inequality. First, between generations: a thirty-something professional worker will now find it harder to buy a house than their exact peer 10 years ago. Second, within generations: the majority of people my age who own a house have drawn heavily on the Bank of Mum and Dad.

"They often end up letting out a spare room to a friend and the ultra-low interest rates of the last five years can mean the rent their mates is paying them is more than their mortgage. So the already well-off get an extra boost.

"Having parents who live in London also confers a huge advantage if you want to work in the arts, media, finance or law, because you can bunk up in the family home while you slog through unpaid internships or further study.

"This state of affairs should worry all the political parties. For Labour, there's an obvious story about social mobility going into reverse and about the rich becoming richer. For the Lib Dems, there's a chance to win back some of the young voters who defected over tuition fees.

"But perhaps the Tories have most at stake. The assumption has long been that homeowners become more conservative. More importantly, the Tories' core message – that with hard work comes rewards – is dented by a quick look at the housing market."

Saturday 29 March 2014

Daily Telegraph: "Mafia-style behaviour [over Green Belt] in the planning system is traumatising villages, suggests Sir Simon Jenkins"

"Chairman of National Trust says planning decisions have led to eyesore developments that could only have happened in Sicily"

Link to web site

"Mafia-style behaviour in the planning system is ‘traumatising’ the English countryside, the head of the National Trust has suggested.

"Sir Simon Jenkins, the Trust’s chairman, said the planning decisions that have led to eyesore developments getting the go-ahead could only have happened in Sicily, the historic home of the mafia.

"In an interview with The Telegraph to mark the two year anniversary of planning regulations in the new National Planning Policy Framework, Sir Simon laid bare the damage being done to the countryside.

"He spoke of his sorrow at some planning decisions he says have wiped out scenes of countryside beauty and invoked the Mafia when he questioned how they have been allowed to proceed."

Wednesday 12 February 2014

Barnet Press: "Property website boss changes ‘cheap’ benefits-bashing advert"

(Click on either image)

Before, and after...

"A PROPERTY website has agreed to alter a 'cheap shot' marketing campaign after it was slammed for using Mill Hill’s lack of benefits claimants as a selling point.

"An 'infographic', put together by estate agent marketing site, included the fact that less than three per cent of the ward’s working-age residents received jobseeker’s allowance, alongside statistics highlighting the proximity to central London and average earnings.

"However, following the image’s release online on Tuesday, chairman of Barnet Citizens’ Advice Bureau Tim Clark attacked the advertising campaign for playing on people’s prejudices about benefits claimants."

Tuesday 11 February 2014

“Borehamwood is full” ... "There is no future of building in Borehamwood, the future has to be green belt sites.”

Link to Borehamwood & Elstree Times

" 'Borehamwood is full' was the overwhelming message as more than a hundred people gathered to make sure their views on development in the town were heard.

"Elstree and Borehamwood Town Council last night held a public meeting at The Ark Theatre in Thrift Farm Lane to answer questions about the recent draft of the Elstree Way Corridor Area Action Plan.

"Councillor Pat Strack, who chaired the meeting with Councillor Graham Franklin, made it clear the council had no control over development but could pass on the views of the townspeople to those who did."

Sunday 9 February 2014

The Guardian: "'Affordable housing' does not mean what you think it means"
Link to web site

"In the good old days, councils and housing associations built social rented housing – often called council housing. It was a simple idea in which rents were based on a formula that combined local wages and local property values so that, for much of southern England, rents would be set at around 50% of local market rents – even lower in very expensive areas. Social housing rents allowed people to work without being dependent upon housing benefit.

"No more. Now, councils and housing associations have been told to replace social rented housing with a new product called, confusingly, affordable housing.

"In a move worthy of George Orwell's Ministry of Truth, affordable rent will be higher than before, set at up to 80% of the local market rent. Across whole swathes of southern England affordable rented properties will simply not be affordable to people on low incomes."

Tuesday 28 January 2014

Barnet Society: "Green belt 'critical to the health' of Barnet"

Link to web site

"Barnet has probably more to thank the politicians and planners of the 1930s and 1940s for than any other town in north London. With protected Green Belt land on three sides, the High Barnet of today is blessed with some unrivalled countryside on our door-step.

"Therefore, in the light of two reviews into the future of London’s open spaces, the Barnet Society is determined to remain at the forefront of the campaign to preserve the Green Belt.

"We trust our submission to the reviews being undertaken by the London Assembly and an All-Party Parliamentary Group on the Green Belt could not be any clearer:
"We believe the Green Belt to be critical to health and well-being, a defining part of the character of both Chipping Barnet and London, and likely to be even more appreciated as London grows."

Saturday 11 January 2014

Barnet Times: "Building work to start on 2,000 homes development by Countryside Properties and Annington Developments in Mill Hill"

Link to web site

"Countryside Properties and Annington Developments are holding a ground-breaking ceremony, to mark the start of the first phase of the project at the former Inglis Barracks.

"A total of 2,174 homes, as well as a new primary school and community facilities, are due to be built in 11 phases at the Drew Avenue site, off Bittacy Hill."

Wednesday 16 October 2013

The Independent: "How much more expensive is it to live in a London 'village'?"

Link to web site

"Research from Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward and Zoopla suggests that there is a massive premium on properties in or near to a ‘village’ in London. Looking at 24 village areas across London, the data shows that on average there is a £200,000 premium – so that while they estimate the average value of a property in London at £456,802, a home in a 'village' is just over £690,000.

"Admitting that it's hard to pin down an exact definition of a village, KFH says their typical attributes are green spaces, independent shops, weekend farmers markets and thriving high streets, plus good schools, which together form close-knit communities."

Tuesday 1 October 2013

The Independent: "Economic Focus: Does anyone think Help to Buy is a good idea?"

Link to web site

"A host of independent economists have criticised the Coalition’s decision to push ahead with a controversial mortgage guarantee scheme.

"George Osborne confirmed on Monday that the Help to Buy subsidies, which will offer state insurance for 15 per cent of the value of new mortgages, will be put into operation next week. The scheme was originally not scheduled to be introduced until January. 'We are the party of home ownership and we’re going to let the country know it,' said the Chancellor.

"But writing here in The Independent today, figures affiliated to institutions ranging from the Trades Union Congress to the Institute of Economic Affairs call on the Chancellor to reverse course."

Tuesday 18 June 2013

Barnet Times: "Barnet Council approves plans for multi-million pound Dollis Valley Estate regeneration in High Barnet"

Link to web site

"A major regeneration of a 1960s housing estate has been given planning approval, paving the way for the first phase of development.

"The Dollis Valley Estate in High Barnet will be demolished under the plans, submitted by developer Countryside Properties and commissioned by Barnet Council."

Tuesday 28 May 2013

"Houses 'better than green fields': Minister's explosive claim as he unveils new plans to concrete the countryside"

Link to Daily Mail

"Building houses will create more ‘human happiness’ than preserving fields, the Planning Minister has claimed.

"Nick Boles says the Government is determined to speed up the rate of house building, despite opposition from countryside groups.

And he said communities who refused to support the initiative risked losing their hospitals and high street shops as their populations shrank."

Thursday 2 May 2013

The Guardian: "Prince Charles is not a dabbler – he's deeply committed. But he's naive"

Link to web site

"Revelations about the Duchy of Cornwall's accounts revive the debate over the scale of Prince Charles's involvement in fields other than waving, opening things, collecting art and accumulating rent.

He's often accused of exceeding the prerogatives of a constitutional monarch, most recently in successfully lobbying a fellow royal, the Emir of Qatar, to drop Richard Rogers as architect for a housing scheme in Chelsea. But, even if we accept the argument that he is only intervening in aesthetics and ethics, not politics, what do his interventions really mean?

Saturday 13 April 2013

Barnet Times: "Reporter Chris Hewett takes on training session with Saracens' conditioning coach at Allianz Park"

Link to web site

"Times Series chief reporter Chris Hewett travelled to Saracens' new stadium on Friday for a training session with the club's strength and conditioning coach.

"The result was a serious appreciation for the dedication of top-level athletes...

"When England rugby player Chris Ashton tells you, 'don’t worry, you’ll be fine', you like to think he’s speaking the truth."

Friday 22 March 2013

Daily Telegraph: "Planning minister’s war on the countryside"

"Property developers have been privately promised that planning laws will be liberalised again within weeks, to allow them to begin a house-building boom backed by this week’s Budget.

Link to web site
"Nick Boles, the planning minister, attended a meeting with some of the country’s biggest property developers hours after George Osborne’s speech on Wednesday, in which he told them he was prepared for an acrimonious battle with countryside campaigners.

"The Telegraph has obtained a recording of the meeting, in which Mr Boles discloses that he is poised to axe the planning permission requirement for many developments. He indicates that the main purpose of a £15.5 billion government package to support homebuyers is to create a building boom."

Wednesday 6 March 2013

"Countryside at war as planning system collapses"

Link to Daily Telegraph

"Simon Jenkins, the Chairman of the National Trust, said every day another community is coming forward to complain of a new wind farm or housing development in a beautiful area.

"He said the last year is the worst he has ever known for threats to the countryside, with a number of key heritage sites in danger from not only wind farms but fracking, high speed rail and even nuclear disposal. He warned:
"Local Britain will be a warfare area. Everywhere you go people are fighting random developments. This can only be tackled by proper planning."

Tuesday 19 February 2013

Daily Telegraph: "Right to light under threat in planning law shake-up"

Link to web site
"In a new assault on planning rules, the Law Commission began a consultation, which is backed by ministers, which could lead to the centuries-old entitlement to daylight being ditched to stop home owners holding up building projects.

Currently, households can object to developments, including neighbours’ extensions or new houses, if they threaten the amount of natural light that enters a home.

Removing the protection could leave almost three million households powerless to prevent large developments near their homes, reducing their value and appeal, campaigners warned.

Wednesday 13 February 2013

Mill Hill Residents Association: "It was a dark and stormy night..."

"Join us if you care about protecting Mill Hill and wish to have your voice heard on the following matters:-
  • Traffic problems such as congestion, air quality, parking and risk of accidents. In particular you are disappointed by the new-style phone parking system in Mill Hill Broadway
  • The impact and direction of future planning developments in Mill Hill
  • Ensuring we have adequate public transport in the area.
"Furthermore, MHRA will act as a network for you to link with your neighbours for further information about other local matters such as security, and we will schedule MHRA events with selected speakers. MHRA is here to strengthen existing community relations."

Link to MHRA web site

"A wet and windy evening in Mill Hill, and the committee of the newly reformed Mill Hill Resident’s Association were unsure about just how many people would turn up at their inaugural open meeting at St Pauls’ School on the Ridgeway on Tuesday 29 January.

"Leaflets had been distributed and Chairman Richard Logue spent two hours on Saturday speaking to people at Waitrose supermarket, trying to garner support for the meeting, yet still the committee was slightly unprepared and very pleasantly overwhelmed by the numbers who showed up in force to hear about the Association’s plans and to air their own views and issues.

"The Mill Hill Resident’s Association was first established in 1909 and served the community in an effort to help the area retain much of the charm and heritage that still exists today. Longstanding Chairlady Joan Ellis recently retired from her very active role as head of the association, and has taken on the role of President, handing the baton of chairmanship to Hammers Lane resident Richard Logue.

"The Association has identified certain key areas for concern, including specific issues such as the unpopular pay by phone parking system, the chaotic Mill Hill Circus road works, parking problems on Saracens match days, the future of Mill Hill Fire Station and the redevelopment of Inglis Barracks, together with general issues such as crime and anti-social behaviour and public transport. There were presented to an attentive audience which squeezed in to the school hall, where there was standing room only.

"Councillors John Hart and Suri Khatri were both in attendance, as were residents representing all areas of Mill Hill. During an open-floor session, residents expressed their concerns for the erosion of our greenbelt, for the lack of public transport to Barnet Hospital and the lack of disabled access at Mill Hill Broadway Station, not to mention the difficulty getting up two flights of stairs for the elderly and those with heavy suitcases. Other issues included concern over the ongoing uncertainty at Belmont Farm, ......

"One lady suggested that the Association might also like to focus on the positive aspect of uniting the community and creating a network where we can help each other and try to be more community-spirited. This was met with much approval by the committee, and the room in general.

"Commenting on the extraordinary success of the meeting, Chairman Richard Logue said:
“I think it is very significant that 250 people care sufficiently enough about Mill Hill to come out on such a dreadful night, to attend this meeting and contribute to what was a very positive event. I am absolutely delighted with how the meeting went, and the committee and I very much look forward to following up on the suggestions and actions we have taken away from it.”

"At the end of the evening, the committee received over 50 household membership applications. Annual membership has been set at £10 per household or £5 per household for over 65s.

"The Association welcomes the views and concerns of residents and anyone with issues they would like explored by the Association should address them by email to: or visit the website at"

Monday 11 February 2013

"Ferdinand Mount: Why we owe it to our children to build, build, build"

Link to Evening Standard

"Building houses is one of the things that the British used to be quite good at, like roasting beef and writing poetry. Before the war, we regularly built 300,000 houses a year, mainly private developments. In the Fifties and Sixties, again we built more than 300,000 houses a year, this time nearly half of them council houses. 

"But in the past few years we have struggled to pass the 100,000 mark. As a result, we have brought upon ourselves a dire housing shortage.

"The signs are unmistakable, certainly in London and the South-East. Private rents go on rising and so do house prices. If the price of food had risen at the same rate as housing over the past 30 years, a supermarket chicken would now cost £47 and a jar of instant coffee £20.

"Shelter reported last month that private rents in London rose by an average of £750 a year in 2012."

Tuesday 29 January 2013

Barnet Times: "Saracens fan Louise Warr gives her first impressions of Allianz Park after test event against Cardiff Blues on Sunday"

Link to web site

"The day was described as 'like seeing children on Christmas morning' by Sarries CEO Edward Griffiths, and I can think of no better way of describing the atmosphere that surrounded Allianz Park on Sunday. [Don't be too gushing, though]

"It may still look like a building site in places, but it was home, something Saracens had craved for so long.

"As cliché as it may be, there really was a feeling that there was 'something special' about the place."

Saturday 19 January 2013

Daily Telegraph: "Mortgages cheapest since height of crisis"

Link to web site

"Reduced borrowing rates and lower house prices have combined to leave the average household with more of their after-tax income than at any time since 2002.

"Mortgage payments absorbed 28pc of a new borrower’s disposable income in the final quarter of last year, according to analysis out today from Halifax, which is part of Britain’s biggest lender Lloyds Banking Group. At its peak in the third quarter of 2007, the proportion was 48pc.

"... However, the cheap deals remain out of reach for many would-be homeowners due to the banks’ larger deposit requirements."