29 June: Cabinet Resources Committee - Grahame Park Project

Link to Barnet Council web site
"This report seeks approval for the deferment of historic costs owed to the Council from the Council’s developer partner for the regeneration of the Grahame Park Estate ‘Choices for Grahame Park (CfGP) Limited’, until 1st July 2012, in response to revised funding criteria imposed by the scheme’s principal funder.

"Deferring the payments would allow CfGP to fund these costs from receipts, rather than borrowing the money from their funder and CfGP’s parent company, Genesis Housing Association.

"The Grahame Park regeneration scheme has reached a critical point. Whilst the economy remains fragile, there are key risks associated with regeneration viability. By not enabling flexibility, and approving deferral of historic costs owed to the Council, continued project delivery is at risk.

"Deferring payment of the historic costs owed to the Council would allow CfGP to fund these costs from receipts, rather than borrowing the money from their funder and CfGP’s parent company, Genesis Housing Association. Under the deferment proposal, the Council will be repaid its costs on 1st July 2012, when all the new homes for sale currently under construction have been sold.

"The sales income is critical to the successful delivery of the project, one of the most critical factors in the viability of the project. Sales and marketing of the homes for sale is being delivered by Countryside Properties. Sales are currently progressing at a rate of five per month.

"In 2009, the Council and CfGP jointly appointed a Sales Valuer, who will certify to the Council that sales revenue, for each dwelling sold, represents proper value in the market conditions prevailing at the time of sale. However, CfGP has confirmed to the Council that payment will be made on 1st July 2012, irrespective of sales performance on Phase 1a."


bdonline: "Jestico & Whiles' estate revamp gets green light"

Link to bdonline.co.uk

"A team led by Jestico & Whiles has received planning permission for the next phase of the redevelopment of the Grahame Park estate in the borough of Barnet, north London.

"The London-based practice is working with Peter Barber Architects, Studio 54 Architecture and landscape architect Novell Tullett on revamping the 1970s estate, following the team’s success in an RIBA design competition in 2008."


Dept. for Transport: Road Safety Strategy, and 'Easier 20mph Zones"

Link to PDF file

"The 'Strategic Framework for Road Safety' sets out our approach to continuing to reduce killed and seriously injured casualties on Britain's roads.

"Our focus is on increasing the range of educational options for the drivers who make genuine mistakes and can be helped to improve while improving enforcement against the most dangerous and deliberate offenders. Additionally, at the local level, we will be increasing the road safety information that is available to local citizens."

Link to press release
Ministers cut traffic signs red tape for local councils 

"Measures to reduce time-consuming and costly bureaucracy for councils wanting to use 20 mph schemes have been announced by Regional and Local Transport Minister Norman Baker.

"The changes - the first to be announced as part of the 'Traffic Signs Policy Review' - will mean that councils can use signs painted on roads as an alternative to expensive upright signs, cutting street clutter, as well as costs.

"In addition, the Government will reduce the need for councils to use speed humps in 20 mph zones, and make it cheaper and easier for councils to put in place variable speed limits outside schools, when local residents want these schemes."


BBC: "Air quality row may hit Olympic Games" (and the rest of us)

Link to BBC web site

"The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has admitted many cities will not meet EU targets on air quality before 2020, while meeting London's targets could be as late as 2025.

"Existing levels are thought to cause about 3,000 people [in London] to die prematurely each year. Alan Andrews, an air pollution specialist with the environmental law organisation ClientEarth, said:
"We knew meeting the original 2015 target was going to be difficult, but I thought they'd give it a go - but they seem to have thrown their hands up and said 'it's too difficult'."