One of the things about being a quasi-journalist is that I get all sorts of strange and diverting press releases coming across my screen each day. It can be a lot of fun. I was sent a rather entertaining thing this morning from an organisation called "Property Property Property" run by an outfit known as Juice PR.
They say they conduct a "monthly analysis of the most popular searched for borough". And in this morning's "study" they are claiming that Hackney has proven to be one of the most popular searched for boroughs among home seekers between 28 and 35 years.
I was invited to speak at the National Planning Forum at the Local Government Association yesterday on the theme "What next for planning?". Honestly! It was another of those "What would I know?" moments. I shouldn't really have accepted the invitation, but I do like the cerebral planning mob, and my ego got the better of me (flattery will get you anywhere, as you well know, Mike Hayes).
Farewell then, Olympians. Leave us then. Leave us in this mess.
What to say about planning reform today? Oh why bother? It's almost not worth commenting. Just let 'em all get on with it. It's all mad. And at this rate it's going to become even madder than last summer's exhausting and ill-informed furore over the NPPF. It's just a total free-for-all isn't it? Why didn't they listen? And as ever, with planning issues, it's an all-out competition to see who can be the most self-interested. Honestly. Makes you yearn for a benevolent dictator (and I am a democrat, honest guv).
I was pleased to hear our own EG regeneration commissioner Graham Chapman, Nottingham city council deputy leader (and cabinet member for regeneration) on the Radio 4 Today programme yesterday giving a spirited defence of the city centre, as the sixth most popular out-of-London shopping destination in the UK (CACI data). A furore has been started by the Local Data Company which published a report yesterday saying Nottingham city centre has a vacancy rate of more than 30%, which would give it the highest void rate in the country!
I must apologise for the radio silence these past few days. I haven't been on holiday or ill or anything. I am just, I guess like so many of our countrymen and women, so... well.... so very distracted by it all.
It isn't just the actual games (of which I have the most hazy
understanding) or the spectacle of the Olympics, although these are
compelling enough: the heroics of Ennis, Murray and Bolt, the surprise
results, Super Saturday, the medal tables, and so forth; it is also what
it has done for the national morale, the commentary on the Twitter feed
(these are the first "Twitter Olympics" I guess), the display of
national pride normally so alien to the British psyche; the nuances of
what it says about Britain and our culture.
Further to last Thursday's blog I was immensely saddened, but not surprised, to receive the following message to the UK Fashion Hub team at close of business on Friday evening:
"The UK Fashion Hub team is very sorry to have to tell you that today we withdrew from the bidding process. The decision was not an easy one to make, but in light of the stories in the press stating that iCity had won the bid, a week before the LLDC board was scheduled to meet to make that decision, as well as other issues over the process, we felt we were left with little choice.
It's been a busy couple of days in UKR circles, with a lot going on. We had a great outing at the first Place East London conference on Wednesday, which showed the immense opportunity that still exists in the patch, and set out some key challenges for the East London regeneration community (several hundred of the blighters) who had assembled for the event and marauding on to the wine reception after.