HARROW FLATS: New apartment block given go-ahead despite locals’ objections

Pinner – VIJAY SHAH via ADAM SHAW and Harrow Times

Local authorities in the north-west Greater London borough of Harrow have given assent to a new development of flats despite local residents of a busy road objecting to the project and vetoing it three times, the Harrow Times newspaper reported today.

The Northcote development, in the Pinner area’s Rickmansworth Road, will consist of eight brand-new flats in addition to an existing estate of 24 homes now at the site. The eight apartments will be housed in a single two-storey complex, and the plans were approved by Harrow’s council, the Times reports.


Pinner locals however have rallied against the proposed development, saying that there will be a loss of green spaces, as well expressing serious concerns about access issues for vehicles and the presence of extra council-issued refuse bin facilities that could attract vermin and create foul-smelling communal areas.

Harrow Council’s planning committee however rejected the residents’ objections for the third time in a row, saying that the area and Harrow in general needed more housing as its population continues to rise, a theme common to many outer London areas. Four of the council’s members spoke out against the Northcote development, but failed to sway the vote on the planning application, according to the Harrow Times. A total of 44 rejections of the proposal were counted by the council, with anti-development councillors appealing to the local government to take them into consideration.

One local resident who objected against the new flats, Majd Kilani, told the Times: “We don’t have the time and resources to keep battling these development attempts, which have caused significant stress.

‘It has taken away time and energy that would otherwise be dedicated to our families and the community.”


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“Harrow Council approves Pinner’s Northcote development” – Adam Shaw, Harrow Times/Newsquest (London & Essex) Ltd/Gannett (26 January 2019) https://www.harrowtimes.co.uk/news/17386271.harrow-council-approves-pinners-northcote-development/?ref=rss?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=sendible&utm_campaign=RSS


NEW STRATFORD HOUSING PROJECT: Not so much in the way of ‘affordable’

London – VIJAY SHAH via ALEX SHAW and Newham Recorder

As the city of London struggles to house its growing population amidst a housing crisis and soaring rents and house prices, a new housing project underway in the district of Stratford has come in for criticism after it was revealed that only twenty-five per cent of the available stock will be marketed as affordable, the local community newspaper Newham Recorder reported.

The Legacy Wharf complex, being designed by Bellway Homes, is being promoted as an ideal site for first-time buyers to move into an up-and-coming part of east London, only a few minutes from the centre of the city. But only around 50 of the 196 flats (apartments) planned for the site will be classed as affordable, meaning that people on average city wages (around GBP £28,000/USD $38,788) will be able to successfully purchase them.


Legacy Wharf, which is expected to be ready this spring, claims to offer a variety of apartments for different budgets, especially for first-time buyers, young professionals and families. The development, located in Stratford’s Cooks Road will also have an on-site gym, children’s play facilities and even a concierge service, but the starting price for a one-bedroom flat there will start at GBP £365,000 (USD $505,631). The Bellway development will consist of a selection of one-, two- and three-bedroom living units, with some properties being available to buy via the UK government’s Help to Buy scheme, which aims to help first-time homeowners get their foot on the housing ladder.

Bellway did not comment on the limited amount of affordable housing offered at Legacy Wharf, which is being built in one of the poorest areas of London, where rapid gentrification have caused even low-grade ex-local housing authority homes to cost several hundred thousand of pounds. However Emma Denton, the firm’s sales director designate told the Newham Recorder “Homebuyers will have a great opportunity to invest in this revamped area of Stratford at Legacy Wharf,”

Many parts of east London have changed rapidly in recent years as new apartment blocks and villages have sprung up catering to young professionals and working families with jobs in central London, alongside foreign investors looking for the next property portfolio golden egg, but developers in the city have been criticised for not providing enough flats affordable to the vast majority of Londoners, particularly those on benefits or average incomes.


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“Quarter of flats in Stratford development ‘affordable’” – Alex Shaw, Newham Recorder/Archant (8 March 2018) http://www.newhamrecorder.co.uk/news/quarter-of-flats-in-stratford-development-affordable-1-5426504


“File:Granville New Homes, London.jpg” – Tim Crocker and Levitt Bernstein Archive, Wikimedia Commons (19 August 2009) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Granville_New_Homes,_London.jpg

PARAMOUNT RESORT: New theme park to launch 2020 in south-east England

Sunny Atwal (contributor)

Vijay Shah (reporter)

London Town is about to get that bit more exciting as a new entertainment park and tourist attraction gets ready to attract film buffs and day trippers to an area brimming with both film history and cultures that draw in film makers from all over the world.

While not exactly in London itself, but on the Swanscombe peninsula in north Kent, about forty or less minutes from the centre of London by train and less by road, the London Paramount is a ‘world-class’ entertainment resort that will be opened by famous Hollywood studios Paramount Pictures very likely in another five years’ time, and will be an ambitious project and a first for the Hollywood studio in the UK.

The resort is being bankrolled by investment firm London Resort Company Holdings (LRCH), who are in the final stages of consultations with the public on the project. LRCH have created a website outlining their plans for the theme park project, along with downloadable materials on the new park and how it will benefit tourism and local communities.

Paramount Pictures in Hollywood, CA
Paramount Pictures in Hollywood, CA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

London Paramount will feature an exciting variety of themed rides and attractions for everyone, especially youngsters, families and groups, as well as crazier rides for the adventurous thrill seekers looking for that next adrenaline fix. In the centre of the resort will be the Entertainment City, which will play host to a selection of indoor, covered and open-air experiences as well as a variety of cafes, bars and restaurants. From time to time, the  City will also be a venue for live shows and music concerts that will set south-east England ablaze. There will also be a special ‘Paramount and Friends’ carnival taking place every day that will see Paramount characters such as Betty Boop, Shrek, Kung Fu Panda and the stars of Madagascar parade and meet-and-greet fans alongside many spectacular shows featuring some of the Paramount studio‘s most iconic characters.

For the more sedate and relaxed, London Paramount will also host West End-quality theatrical and general productions as well as showing of films and other programmes from Paramount, the BBC and Aardman studios, home of the much-loved plasticine comic duo, Wallace and Gromit. There will also be live comedy acts invited to perform at Paramount’s first ever resort on these shores.

The resort plans to opens its doors in 2020, with new rides and attractions appearing shortly afterwards. Highlights include the Port Plaza, paying homage to Kent’s maritime heritage; the Myths and Legends castle, based on the castle that appears on the film studios logo, designed after its founding in 1911 and the oldest Hollywood logo in existence; the Paramount Port Bay, featuring canals and pleasure barges, and the excitingly jaw-dropping Adventure Isle. Other attractions include a 1,500 seat West End theatre, Europe’s largest indoor water park and specially-created wildlife habitats to promote conservation of the animals and plants that call the river Thames’ banks home.

It is expected to attract up to 40,000 visitors per day with a range of hotels and restaurants being planned close by to cater for them.

The London Paramount project is projected to bring a massive financial boost to the Ebbsfleet and greater north Kent region, with the park and associated creative hubs and shopping centres bringing in 27,000 jobs and revitalising the area and local communities as well as having knock-on effects commercially and creatively for the rest of Kent and London.

For more information visit:


“WELCOME TO LONDON PARAMOUNT” – Paramount London Entertainment Resort, PPS Group http://www.londonparamount.info/
“RIDES AND ATTRACTIONS” – Paramount London Entertainment Resort, PPS Group http://www.londonparamount.info/the-project/rides-and-attractions/
“Paramount Pictures” – Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paramount_Pictures
“BENEFITS” – Paramount London Entertainment Resort, PPS Group http://www.londonparamount.info/benefits/
“THE PROJECT” – Paramount London Entertainment Resort, PPS Group http://www.londonparamount.info/the-project/
“File:ParamountPictures01.jpg” – Gary Minnaert, Wikimedia Commons (21 January 2007) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:ParamountPictures01.jpg

ALIEN: New concept art revealed by Neill Blomkamp

After the relative success of the Alien prequel Prometheus of 2012, in which we saw the unholy birth of the prehensile-tongued extra-terrestrial killer that helped spawn the original sci-fi franchise featuring actor Sigourney Weaver in the main role of Ellen Ripley, there is a possibility that another film is on the way, although a news site claims that the project may not be made at all and the rumours are just that. Alien fans do however have a glimmer of hope for a maybe-or-maybe-not return to some fresh stomach-splitting action as a director and artist has recently publicised his own homage to the series.

What is certain is the appearance yesterday of some concept art drawn by Vancouver-based South African director Neill Blomkamp, who sat in the boss’s chair for the fellow alien films District 9 and Elysium. He posted the artwork on his Instagram account, according to alternative news site i09, and also tweeted that he had not prepared the artwork for the studio, but simply something he did in his spare time.

One collage of images published by i09 depicts Sigourney Weaver in a face-only pose wearing a mask that appears to have been influenced by the deathly black contoured features of the Alien. Two other images show Weaver sideways on, and the unmistakeable crest of the killer in black is plain to see. Another Instagram image released by Blomkamp shows the Alien in all its horrifying glory, poised to kill, saliva dripping from its ungodly mouth. On one of the alien images, which the director described as a “p***ed off Xenomorph Queen“, he wrote “Was working on this. Don’t think I am anymore. Love it though. #alien #xenomorph.”

Blomkamp then followed the Queen with a volley of more of his inspired artwork, commenting “Woulda rocked. Was a mental stroll into the world Ridley Scott created.” According to i09’s Meredith Woerner, Blomkamp’s conception is said to have taken place in Weyland-Yutani headquarters where one of the characters, Corp. Dwayne Hicks resurfaces after having being killed in Aliens 3, but in a less than healthy state. Ridley Scott also is described as donning a ‘Space Jockey helmet’ in another picture. Reporter Woerner states that the artwork was seemingly a personal pitch for a new Alien film by Neill Blomkamp, and not an order from a movie studio. However, Blomkamp is reported as telling one follower on his Instagram account “Fox never said no.” – referring to the major studio, 20th Century Fox, which was responsible for the distribution of the original Alien flicks. He also told another follower that 20th Century Fox were not aware of his new film concept. Fox had decided to turn the Alien franchise back to its roots in releasing Prometheus three years ago, and are reported as unlikely to take up Blomkamp’s idea any time soon.

Other paintings Blomkamp released include a derelict spaceship which had been turned into a warehouse and the outside of what appears to be a very large building or space station, perhaps on the colonised Alien planet LV-426, and scenes from inside various locations in Weyland Corp.

All images/artwork copyright of Neill Blomkamp.

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“Neill Blomkamp’s Secret Alien Movie Looks So Good We’re Furious” – Meredith Woerner, i09 (2 January 2015) http://io9.com/neill-blomkamps-secret-alien-movie-looks-so-good-were-f-1677082116
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