30 October 2011

Jumping the gun

Mr Mustard's attention was brought by a tweet to an item on the BBC News website here where the bloggers' friend, The Right Honourable Eric Pickles MP is reported as follows :-

Owners of second homes in England could lose council tax discounts, under new plans to be announced by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles on Monday.

Councils would have the power to reduce or remove council tax relief on second homes and empty homes. Second homes currently receive up to 50% discount.

The money would be used to keep overall council tax bills down, he is to say.

an untypical second home : possibly not in Barnet
Now Mr Mustard is fortunate to have quite a memory and he thought he had seen that this mean spirited discount removal had already taken place in Barnet. After a little digging he found this report and in the window below, go to page 17 ( 117 ) and there is a projected £1,000,000 saving from removing the second home discount in 2011/12 ( don't worry that there is nothing in the next 2 columns for savings, there would be £1m more income in both years than in 2010/11 - the way these budgets work you only see the saving in the year it occurs and then the lower figure becomes the base budget )

Oct 10 Cabinet Report Financial Business Planning 2011 14
Just go back and look at the bottom of page 1 for a moment. What's that "A Beacon Council in 2002/3 for Improving Urban Green Spaces / Libraries as a Community Resource" ( what happened? the bulb in the beacon now low energy ? ) and then in 2002-04 for "Community Cohesion". Mr Mustard thinks that it might be time that these past glories were erased from the template. Why not put 2011's fantastic achievements on? ( perhaps because there aren't any?

Fast forward one year to the next 3 year budget plan, Item 5 at the meeting coming up on Thursday 3 November and in the box below

CAB_2011.11.03 Business Planning 2012 to 2015

If you navigate to page 19 you will find an adjustment of £1,000,000 to the Council Tax base in 2013/14 as between the Cabinet meeting of 13 December 2010 and that of 14 February 2011 someone at Barnet Council realised that the previous plan would have broken the law. If Mr Pickle's plans don't go ahead for any reason then the £1m saving will have to come from somewhere else. 

It evidently isn't easy being the S151 officer although £1,000 a day possibly cushions the blow a little.

Now Mr Mustard is going to have to write to Mr Pickles as the reasoning to keep overall council tax bills down automatically leads to unfairness.

This is what next Thursday's report says :-

6.3 Demographic change poses a particular challenge. Barnet is facing significant budget reductions at the same time as the population is increasing, particularly in the young and very old. Given that 55% of the council’s budget is spent on Adult Social Care and Children’s Services, this poses a particular challenge as these services are predominantly ‘demand led’.

So if 55% of the council budhget is spent on Adult Social Care and Children the other 45% is spent on highways, libraries, rubbish collection, recycling, planning, leisure, housing, overheads etc most of which a second home owner does not use.

If a council tax bill at 50% of normal is paid then the owner of an empty property is already more than paying their fair share of the cost of local services.

This is an analogous situation to the CPZ price rises where the costs of repairing roads fall unfairly on the 5-10% of residents who live within a CPZ.

It is possible that there will be sufficient outcry to case Mr Pickles to water down or abandon his proposals.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

28 October 2011

It's too late

Mr Mustard's moles are everywhere in Barnet Council. There was a witch hunt in Human Resources when I mentioned my mole there and even Smiley wouldn't have found him/her. Can the interim AD of HR be compared to such a shining intellect? - doesn't smile much apparently.
Anyway, where was I? After praising non-stick Nick yesterday I have been sent his weekly message by courier in a brown envelope ( Mr Mustard is so pleased that money isn't wasted on white envelopes ) and Mr Mustard always looks forward to these £1,000 masterpieces. Here we go:

When I became Chief Executive, I made a series of commitments to staff and Members. One of these was to ensure an ongoing corporate focus on safeguarding. This week’s budget demonstrates this with, in very tough financial circumstances, further funding to meet pressures in those areas that deal with the most vulnerable.

Next week also sees the launch of Safeguarding Month with a whole range of activities designed to ensure that everyone treats safeguarding as part of their role.

Whether it’s concern for the welfare of a child, ensuring elderly friends or relatives stay safe and warm during winter or reporting suspicions of domestic violence, safeguarding really is at the heart of the council’s values and everything we do.

Can I urge you to attend the launch on Tuesday 1 November and to fully engage with the sessions taking place during the rest of the month. The one-hour launch in the Oak Room at NLBP kicks off at 12noon and will include talks and a Q&A from, among others, Councillor Andrew Harper, Cabinet Member for Children, Education and Families, and Dr Laura Fabunmi and Dr Andrew Burnett from the NHS.

It may feel at this time that public service is often under attack from the popular media (blogs, is that?). I am of the very firm view that the best response is to focus on those things we do and must do well. Safeguarding is one of those issues. Get it wrong and the impact on individuals can be catastrophic and public confidence in the Council lost and difficult to recover. Get it right and we can improve lives for many.


If anyone has a copy of the commitments mentioned in the first line Mr Mustard would love to receive a copy so they can be armchair audited.
It would seem that this email has been received as an example of shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted as the message which came with it from a disgruntled council employee was

"It's all too late"

Mr Mustard doesn't need to add anything to that.
Have a lovely weekend.
Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

Future Shape 6 July 2009

Last month Mr Mustard promised to bring you the next instalment of Future Shape in order to help you understand the history behind OneBarnet.

The report seen by Cabinet on 6 July 2009 is available in full here on the council website and below in the box

6 July 09 Future Shape Complete

So this was the first report about the second phase ( commission; phase 1 was Consolidate ). Nick Walkley was already the Chief Executive and BT's Max Wide was putting his oar in; didn't he go off to help Suffolk which has just decided they don't want to outsource?

The whole of page 2 is simply marvellous. Read it twice and you still can't be sure what is planned.

Page 5 shows savings of between £8m and £16m, rather a worryingly wide variance don't you think?

Page 6 talks about Revenues & benefits - a department which the council want to shoehorn into their call centre which is one of their most stupid decisions. Council tax benefits are some of the most complex questions and simply cannot be properly handled in a call centre.

Also on this page a reference to problems for the pension fund due to workforce reductions. Council management seem to have forgotten this warning.

On to page 13. A new relationship with citizens. The person who types this report didn't understand how numbering works in their software. Mr Mustard advises turning off automatic anything in microsoft products. He directs your attention to para 2.2/3/1 ? In which citizens will have a much greater involvement in designing services and actively participating in improving their lives and contributing to a better Barnet. Mr Mustard does not remember being properly consulted about school crossing patrols, old people's wardens, CPZs or OneBarnet.

Page 24 includes the phrase about potential savings "The estimates are based on high level analysis and have not yet been validated at this stage" which is still the case today.

Paragraph 4.1.4 on page 25 could double up as the Friday joke.

Page 35 sets out 5 very good reasons why Customer Services should remain in-house. They are worth another read by management.

Pages 57 & 58 - risk upon risk but Barnet Council blindly plough on. Who is the driving force for OneBarnet - it's hard to say. When it all finally hits the buffers every councillor and every officer will deny it was them.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

Homage to Private Eye 50th Anniversary - Lookalike

Pam Wharfe & Pam Ayres

27 October 2011

Group Hug and now you're fired.

Here is one of Nick Walkley's messages to staff ( stick with me here )

It is a masterpiece of communication, tactful, empathetic and shows his human side; he really does care. He is a highly skilled modest executive worth every penny of the £200,000 that he is paid.  He completely understands budgeting, works all hours, is politically neutral, is good at blue sky thinking and is a role model for other council chief executives to aspire to. Every council should have a Nick Walkley.

Later today, the council will publish next week’s Cabinet papers, including the budget proposals for 2012/13 through to 2014/15. Cabinet will debate the proposals next Thursday (3 November) and their decision will be put out for consultation until early January. 

The papers propose savings in service costs of £13.6million in the coming financial year with Council Tax frozen for the fourth year running.

92 members of staff have been identified as ‘at risk’ of redundancies for the coming financial year. Last year, the final number of redundancies was around 40% of the ‘at risk’ posts.

Managers will be briefing those individuals who are at risk of losing their job during the day. 

This is always a difficult time for the wider organisation. The likelihood is that you all know at least one of the people who have been told their post is at risk. At times like this, we all need to be supportive to staff who, whatever fine words senior managers use, will be feeling “Why me?”. The larger financial challenges of the council and the economy as a whole will seem a long way off at this moment. 

As those of you who have attended the budget briefings will be aware this council is dong all it can to minimise redundancies, including holding vacant posts open. I hope we can reduce that 92 number and I hope many individuals can be redeployed. I obviously hope to work with the trade unions during the consultation to see how we can minimise redundancies. 

We have tried to identify our budget proposals as early as possible this year, to give individuals six months to plan their future and managers time to plan different models of working before we make any changes to services.

In the meantime, the work of the council goes on. The same Cabinet that will debate budget proposals will be discussing how we provide thousands of new primary school places and changes to council house tenancies.

All of the work that we do is important, and all of the people doing it are important. I hope you will all be supportive of those who will undoubtedly be feeling less valued today.


Now normal service will be resumed. It has occurred to the bloggers that if we keep pointing out how poor the management of Barnet is, then no other council will give any of the management a job and we will be stuck with the ones we don't want ( except that they provide plenty of good material ) so my complimentary paragraph at the top is for other council's to consume and believe even though Mr Mustard doesn't mean a word of it. Like those mis-quoted reviews outside of theatres non-stick will be able to cut and paste my praise into his CV. Imagine.

The decisions will go out for consultation but they aren't likely to change.

Managers will be giving the bad news to 92 people. How many will the Chief Executive bother to go and see and thank personally? Zero is Mr Mustard's guess.  Mr Mustard does have experience of being made redundant and he thinks that it would be better to have about 14 days notice of redundancy rather than 6 months of worry.

Doesn't it make you feel better that it's not personal, it's the economy which is at fault, not the fact that Barnet Council have been faffing  about with the OneBarnet project for years and have employed an army of consultants, temps, interims & contractors as well as setting off along the discredited road ( in Suffolk at least ) to privatisation.

So managers have yet to plan different ways of working so they don't yet know how many staff they will need but 92 of you are heading towards the scrapheap. Genius.

How many consultants will be going as a result of budget cuts and how many Assistant Directors are going? Probably none at all. Far too important.

So do hug your colleagues who are at risk and help them look for a better job either in the council or elsewhere. There is more to life than Barnet Council.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

Fundraising Event for Brain Tumour UK

One of Mr Mustard's musical neighbours has sent him the invitation below in the hope that he might know someone who wants to come along. So do please go along readers, it is a worthy cause and you will also have a fun evening.

If you can't attend & can afford it, why not send them £15 anyway? It is in a good cause.

Yours charitably

Mr Mustard

26 October 2011

Customer Support - From 7 to 4 -- then to 1 or to zero ?

With a long-term contract worth £750million up for grabs one can expect a bit of interest as there is money to be made. Barnet doesn't seem to be universally popular though as some potential suppliers have walked away.

Staff were sent this email:

"We’ve now finished our first round of dialogue meetings and the whole dialogue team is enthused about the energy and commitment that bidders have put into the process so far.  If Mr Mustard was heading the bidding team for a contract worth £750m he would be enthused beyond belief at the prospect of a £1m bonus for bringing in the work.

Round two begins next week and will focus on financial and commercial issues. No mention of what round one focused on.

The first round of due diligence meetings also finished this week. That will probably be due diligence by providers on Barnet and could be why some left as they don't like cans of worms?

At these meetings, bidders asked James Wills-Fleming ( anyone heard of him? ) detailed questions about how the corporate programmes function is structured and run. So that they could work out how much fat they could find to chop and how much scope there is to change your terms and conditions of service.

As mentioned previously, seven bidders were invited to participate in the dialogue process. We now have four bidders because three - Avarto UK, CSC Computer Sciences UK and IBM - withdrew prior to their first meeting. The three wise men left.

The four we met with this week are BT, Capita, HCL Axon consortium and Serco. Mr Mustard shuddered when he read 3 of these names. Hand control to faceless corporations. And the fourth, HCL Axon seem to focus on SAP which we have had enough of already.

While the withdrawal of any bidder is regrettable, it is common in competitive dialogue. Bidders search out the easiest and most profitable contracts with the best organised partners. Mr Mustard thinks that there are more efficient local authorities to work with.

Their decisions were strongly influenced by the amount of time, commitment and resource that companies have to commit to the competitive dialogue process, and other competing commercial opportunities. Barnet Council admit that outsourcers are looking to maximise profit - which is at the expense of residents & employees.

Each of the three companies gave the council positive feedback about the way we have run the process." The bidders were careful to be nice to us, whether they meant it or not, as we have a lot more contracts to put on the table which they might want a share of.

Mr Mustard had a quick look on the internet to find out how well these companies had been doing with their outsourcing. Nothing that he found would make him want to sign a contract with any of them.

Serco 1
Serco 2
Serco 3
Serco 4
Serco 5

BT 1
BT 2
BT 3

Capita 1
Capita 2
Capita 3
Capita 4

And of course you read Private Eye and find loads of articles about outsourcing going wrong in the Rotten Boroughs column.

There are no links to articles about HCL Axon because all that could be found were some references to their work on SAP with Tfl, Birmingham CC & York CC. Do they have the ability to run the proposed contract?

Yours frugally
Mr Mustard

Customer Services - Output specificaton

The New Support & Customer Services project is the grandly titled idea to contract out many of the first contacts with the council which will mean that they lose touch with why we are ringing. Mr Mustard thinks this is a completely stupid idea as you actually need to hear first hand what your customers think of you - even if you don't like the answer, and the message won't get lost.

There is the famous story of the British Army Commander who sent the message "Send reinforcements, we're going to advance." back to the Command Center, through a long chain of subordinates. When the message finally reached the Command Center, it had mutated to become -

"Send three and four-pence, we're going to a dance."

The reinforcements never arrived.

Here are the output specifications or some such tripe for customer services. You might want to skip straight to the end of this blog if you don't want to get bogged down in ludicrous detail; remember though that you are paying for this, probably handsomely to a consultant.

You might also like to think about going to the end of the blog and clicking the pdf/print button and printing this one out to make it easier to read.

click to enlarge; back to return

The above hogwash contains the line "substantially improved customer and resident experience of dealing with the council" at the same time as planning to outsource to some huge company. Will a Barnet resident have any experience of Barnet Council if they are put through to some call centre in Outer Mongolia or wherever it might happen to be? - no they won't. They will have an experience of the outsourcer. Will this save time or money? no, it won't. 

On page 6 it says "enable customers to resolve issues through a single point of contact within customer services" which is to totally misunderstand what residents ( customers, grr ) want. They want to ring someone who can fix their problem there and then whether it be housing benefit, adoption, council tax, litter, noise abatement, a parking fine, electoral role, a death etc etc and not speak to a call centre who won't know diddly squat.

Page 6 has another "design principle" which is "enable customers to only have to provide information once, which can be used to provide a range of related services" which worries Mr Mustard greatly that his data will be provided to every department and every contractor who deals with the council.

The final principle is to "provide a coherent brand, identity and ethos for customer services that builds a new relationship with the citizens of Barnet". People probably have enough relationship problems already without wanting one with their local council, or councillor; any takers for Cllr Coleman?; no, I thought not. Residents just want their bins emptied on time, no ethos; no brand, just a reasonable service, that is all.

4.2.3 - The partner will be responsible for all channels, except post ( Mr Mustard's emphasis ). So to defeat this stupid outsourcing we just have to go back to writing letters to the North London Business Park instead of phoning or emailing - and we keep the Royal Mail going at the same time.

Page 7 says that the provider will not deal with post fulfillment or scanning but customers' postal correspondence with other service providers should be visible to CSOI staff. Well that will depend won't it on what it is about. If it is about your care package then it shouldn't and if you mark your correspondence "Private & Confidential" then that shouldn't be scanned and available to anyone who can log into the computer. 

Page 7 envisages that "specialist teams handle more specialist enquiries grouped around customer type and episodes ( i.e. street based services, adults, businesses etc )". So if you ask anything even slightly difficult you will be passed on to a specialist team. Will you be kept holding on, yes if you can even get through. 

Ooh look even the specialists are planned not to cope "where enquiries cannot be dealt with, an automatic handover to the correct team" whoever that might be.

Looking at page 10 it is interesting to note that simple emails ( define?) will be answered by the outsourcer ( Mr Mustard wonders about his FOI requests which are simple ) but that the rest will be forwarded to services. Who is going to monitor that a reply is sent ? Will this 2 step dance make the council more efficient? No. 

Even the highest level complaints, the stage 3 complaints are going to be outsourced. The outsourcer won't have any idea how to reply. This is an idiotic idea.

On page 17 there is a key performance indicator (KPI). 75% of calls are to be answered within 20 seconds. That is so lax. 100% of calls should be answered within 5 rings would be a target worth aiming at. 

KPI - less than 10% abandoned calls. No, go for 0% abandoned calls.

KPI 85% of emails answered within 10 days - no, 99% of emails answered within 10 days would be a worthwhile target.

KPI 80% of Corporate Complaints responded to within SLA ( Service Level Agreement ) What is the point of having an SLA that is so pitifully feeble. Complaints nipped in the bud on day 1 stop you appearing in blogs. Jump to it. Richard Grice's name is on this specification - has he ever worked in industry? - he can't have. He is planning for failure. 

Page 22 - The average waiting time has been 1.57 minutes and so once privatised people can be instead kept waiting for an average of 10 minutes. A worse experience. Putting the customer last.

Page 25 - GovMetric. the council has procured GovMetric to deliver... The Partner shall provide this or a similar tool. Now the council spent good money on GovMetric in April 2011 ( DPR 1301 ) and yet it isn't going to be implemented until September 2011 and even then if the provider wants to use something else they can, which we have to pay for and throw in the bin the time & money invested in GovMetric.

Page 26 - Complex enquiries should be forwarded to Service Areas to investigate and respond to. Why does Mr Mustard get the feeling that the provider and the service areas are going to spend time arguing about what is complex and what isn't in order to avoid work or make money.

Page 27 - Customer Insight is underdeveloped and will be outsourced - goodbye Mr Markey? & his two assistants? This startling admission hasn't stopped Barnet Council from deciding to outsource pretty much everything at the same time as they don't know what customers want from the Council. Why does Mr Mustard think that any Insight produced by the provider in the future will somehow include that outsourcing is the best thing since sliced bread ( which is an abomination - use your local baker if you want to keep him ).

Page 29 - We will provide: A range of ways for you to access the service you need, in a way that is most convenient to you. Mr Mustard would like to pay for parking in case. What, he can't. Not convenient to the Council who come before you the citizen.

Page 34 - contains some shocking figures. 12% of all calls to the switchboard are abandoned. Why not simply put more people on the end of the telephone? Too simple for Barnet Council. They will need a £50,000 consultant's report to tell them what to do.
17% of all calls abandoned. Forget OneBarnet - just answer the phone and then satisfaction ratings will improve. It's so simple. Now that would be easy Council.

Finally I see from the appendix on page 36 that Engagement is going to take place on the new website, once it eventually plods up sometime in 2012, by dint of the following:

Discussions Forums ( don't put Cllr Gordon in charge of those as he prefers to subdue individuals rather than listen )
Facebook ( the page that Mrs Angry was barred from for 2 months perhaps - you can't engage if you can't access something )
Blogs - ooh competition - any blog issued by the council will simply be full of puff and any criticism will be moderated out of existence. The Famous Five Barnet Bloggers will be needed more than ever.

Sorry about the length of this posting - do print it out, it will make for easier reading.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

25 October 2011

Book club - A cry for help

Here is a tweet that Robert Rams tweeted from his councillor twitter account ( he has a separate one for himself )

Cllr Robert Rams

There are two sides to every discussion - here is a different view on the library debate.

Liberal whingers are wrong – we should shut our libraries

You can read the whole article on-line and I will give you a quick precis here ( vent your spleen in the comment box! ):-

60% of the population have not been into a library in years.
Only 20% go to the library at least once a month.
Middle-class liberals are trying to keep libraries open for the less fortunate, not for themselves.
Google has replaced the reference library.
We live in an information rich society.
Most homes have fast computers & whizzy mobile phones.
130,000 new books were published in 2009 in the UK ( i.e. a library cannot stock them all )
330m books were purchased in the UK ( book shops are disappearing faster than libraries )
Virtually every kid has a desk at home.
Libraries at secondary schools are uniformly good.
Libraries are needed less.

Mr Mustard does not agree with most of the article although it is true that he tends to buy his books rather than visit the library ( it is very impersonal with the computerised booking in and out system - Mr Mustard prefers to talk to people )

Now Mr Mustard couldn't understand what point Robert Rams was making, so he tweeted, as follows:

Which side are you on. Keeping libraries or closing them?

and back came the answer:

as i have done in Barnet, keeping them open where possible, building new ones, spending more on books and securing their future
So Cllr. Robert Rams tweets a link to an article that recommends closing libraries and then says he is in favour of keeping them open, building new ones and spending more on books and securing their future.
Let us take this a section at a time. 
Keeping them open where possible. Now Mr Mustard seems to recall that there is a library review document ( link here ) which Rams presented to some deadly boring council meeting and what did it say about keeping them open
Was he referring to Hampstead Garden Suburb library? It won't be down to the council if this building stays open but testament to the public service ethos of local residents i.e. in spite of Barnet Council not because of them.
Was he referring to Friern Barnet Library? This is also under threat of closure. 
No good news then at present in the keeping them open section. How about "building new ones".
A new library is planned for the Brent Cross redevelopment. As that is a 20 year plan it's a bit early to consider these other than fine words in a report. 
A new library in Grahame Park. The building of that area is also going to take years and the payments due from the developer were recently deferred so the wait for this will also be years. 
So no new libraries then at present.
Oh, Mr Mustard nearly forgot the Arts Depot. A building already fully fitted out and without the spare space free into which to put a library any larger than a telephone box. The Arts Depot simply can't fit a library into their building. A fortune was spent on consultants during the construction which proved this.
Let's not forget the Garden Suburb Institute who were supposedly going to offer a self service facility for Hampstead Garden Suburb's former library users. except that the Institute needs to concentrate on its core activities and hadn't been fully consulted so that doesn't seem to have gone anywhere. 
The new library shelf is bare then.
Spending more on books. Now this is a great one. The library strategy does foresee £10,000 extra spent on books but also envisages an overall cut of £1,105,000. Well of course the cuts will arrive but not necessarily the extra book spend as these are budget figures which can easily be changed along the way. 
What is £10,000 spread across 300,000 residents? it is 3p per resident. That is about a page of a book each.
There is nothing that ensures the future of libraries in the strategic review. A new review could change things at the drop of a hat.
So Cllr Rams leaves one confused. He probably needs this book:
and this one
as Mr Mustard thinks that Robert Ram's heart really isn't in closing libraries but he doesn't want to step out of the cabinet, he can only tweet his discomfort.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

24 October 2011

Outsourcing is not the solution - Suffolk's experience

Commonsense in action. How long before Barnet Council play catch up and pretend they were never in favour of outsourcing after all, and will it be outsourced consultants who tell them that ?


Will the councillors also like to put back into the pot the £10m spent on one Barnet which will unltimately be wasted?

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

Move along now - no hypocrisy to see here ! or nimbyism ?

Does Robert Rams annoy you? He doesn't annoy Mr Mustard, except when he speaks at council meetings, tweets or blogs!

There is a proposed development by Middlesex University of their Cat Hill Campus in the London Borough of Enfield. Here it is, it looks like a reasonable use of the space.

click to enlarge; back to return.
You can find all of the planning papers filed with Enfield Council here.
You can find the Campaign against Cat Hill here.

What does Robert Rams says about this development in neighbouring Enfield?
East Barnet Ward Councillor, Robert Rams, also commented, “This development will have a huge impact on our residents in East Barnet. These proposed tower blocks are not in keeping with our community and will put a huge strain on our services and roads.”

“The Campaign for Cat Hill Committee has done excellent work in opposing this development. Because of them there will be a large number of people turning up on the 1st November. Enfield Council must ensure that all our residents are able to get in and have their concerns heard.

So there we have it. People were unable to get into a public meeting and so Enfield Council decide to rearrange the meeting in a larger building on a later date. Contrast that with a full council meeting at Barnet in March 2011 where a heavy security presence ( MetPro - paid over a million without a contract ) refused access to many residents & the meeting went ahead. Not sure that from your glasshouse that you should be throwing any stones Mr Rams. You can read a report of that Barnet Council semi-public council meeting on the amusing yet serious Broken Barnet blog. Enfield Council may not be perfect but looked at from Barnet they seem to be a role model.

Now what could these next pictures be of? They are of a development which will lead to the largest S106 payment in the country. There is a quid pro quo for that. The ruination of Brent Cross.

20-22 floors, now that is high rise

There is a bus in the picture to give you a sense of scale. It is miniscule - a bus!

Now that is what Mr Mustard says about Brent Cross: "This development will have a huge impact on our residents in East Barnet. These proposed tower blocks are not in keeping with our community and will put a huge strain on our services and roads" Will Mr Rams say this whenever the subject of Brent Cross arises in the future?

This massive development will cause horrible traffic congestion and make Barnet a much less green borough. It just isn't necessary, Barnet has a large enough population - it doesn't need to be increased. There is a much better website about this subject available at The Brent Cross Coalition who want to see light rail use increased, amongst other sensible ideas. Please visit their website and read all about it - you will need an hour or two.

A two headed ram - they go round in pairs !
Yours frugally

Mr Mustard