Brent Cross is an area of north London, in the London Borough of Barnet. It is located near the A41 Brent Cross Flyover over the A406 North Circular Road. Brent Cross is best known for its shopping centre and the proposed Brent Cross Cricklewood development.
Brent Cross is in the London Borough of Barnet and contains the Brent Cross Shopping Centre. The area takes its name from an old crossroads near the River Brent and is not in the London Borough of Brent (that local authority lies to the west of the nearby A5 Edgware Road). It has no specific boundaries but in general only premises west of the Brent Cross Flyover, east of the M1 motorway and close to the North Circular are described as being in Brent Cross. The River Brent passes through it, flowing from east to west in a man-made channel.
|West Hendon, Staples Corner||Golders Green|
|Dollis Hill||Cricklewood||Childs Hill|
"Brent Cross" was originally the name of a crossroads in the vicinity of the current Brent Cross Flyover. By 1944, the term was being used to describe addresses north of the A406 North Circular Road and west of the A41 Hendon Way and after the eponymous shopping centre was built it was also used to describe business addresses south of the North Circular.
Previously the area had been known as Renters Farm, a name dating from 1309, and it remained largely farmland until the nineteenth century. In the late nineteenth century a sewage works was built there and Hendon Greyhound Stadium stood there from 1935 to 1972. In 1976 the Brent Cross Shopping Centre was opened, the first stand-alone shopping centre to be built in the United Kingdom.
In the 1920s and 1930s, two major roads through the area were constructed, the east-west A406 North Circular Road and the north-south A41 Hendon Way. In 1923 the Northern line (Edgware branch) was extended on a short viaduct over the River Brent.
In 1964/65 the Brent Cross Flyover was built to carry the Hendon Way over the North Circular. During its construction on Saturday 20 June 1964 a fatal accident occurred while erecting a large crane at the site. The crane jib buckled and collapsed onto a coach travelling east on the North Circular Road killing seven passengers on board. A question was raised in parliament about the accident on 22 June.
In the 1970s, the North Circular Road was upgraded with a huge east-west flyover rising from Brent Cross above both the A5 road and the railway line.The M1 motorway was extended south to meet the North Circular Road slip roads below this flyover.
Inside shopping centre
|Owner||Hammerson and Standard Life|
|Total retail floor area||74,320 m2 on opening|
|No. of floors||2 (3 in Fenwick, John Lewis & M&S)|
When Brent Cross Shopping Centre opened in 1976 it was the third shopping centre of its type in the UK after the Bullring in Birmingham (1964) and the Haymarket Shopping Centre in Leicester (1973). It was initially constructed in a dumbbell shape running east-west parallel to the North Circular Road, with the two largest stores (John Lewis and Fenwicks) at the ends. It was expanded and renovated beginning in 1995, with additional shops and restaurants on an arm running north from the middle. A multi-storey car park replaced the remainder of the open parking area to the north.
Although it is smaller than more recent shopping centres such as the MetroCentre, Bluewater, Lakeside, Westfield London and St. David's Cardiff, it has one of the largest incomes per unit area of retail space in the UK.
Brent Cross currently offers 8,000 free car-parking spaces, but according to the planning application submitted in March 2008 (see below) will eventually introduce parking charges.
On 6 November 2012, six people on three motorbikes entered the shopping centre and smashed in the windows at jewellers Fraser Hart. An estimated £2m worth of jewellery was stolen.
Brent Cross Cricklewood development
Brent Cross Cricklewood is a planned new town centre development in Cricklewood. The development is planned to cost around £4.5 billion to construct and will include 7,500 homes, 4,000,000 sq ft (370,000 m2) of offices, four parks, transport improvements and a 592,000 sq ft (55,000 m2) extension of Brent Cross Shopping Centre. The developers of the scheme are Hammerson and Standard Life. Construction is planned to start in 2014 and to take around 20 years to complete.
The London Underground stations nearest to the shopping centre are Brent Cross and Hendon Central, both on the Northern line. According to the council, both "feel very remote and lack adequate pedestrian links and signage", and the 10 to 15-minute walks are through "a hostile pedestrian environment.".
The bus station adjacent to the shopping centre is served by 13 bus routes. It is open 24 hours and when the shopping centre is closed a cash machine, some phone boxes and drinks and confectionery machines remain accessible.
Proposed Transport Improvements
Transport schemes have been proposed involving Brent Cross, as part of, or concurrent to, the Brent Cross Cricklewood development. These include
- measures promoted by the Brent Cross Cricklewood developers but the subjects of objections to their planning application, including
- the West London Orbital underground railway, promoted by the West London Business group
- the FastBus limited-stop bus service (to reach Brent Cross in a second phase), promoted by - the Park Royal Partnership business group, London Borough of Brent and London Borough of Ealing
- the North and West London Light railway, promoted by the London Group of the Campaign for Better Transport (UK), to link Brent Cross, Wembley, Ealing Broadway, West Hampstead, Colindale and Finchley Central.
- "London Gazette listing of uses of Brent Cross". The London Gazette. TSO on behalf of Her Majesty’s Stationery Office. Retrieved 2009-11-09.
- "London Gazette issue 36543". The London Gazette. 2 June 1944. Retrieved 2009-11-09.
- "Hendon NW4 Brent Cross". Barnet Council. Retrieved 2009-11-09.
- Museum of London - Shopping Centres
- London Transport Museum View of shopping centre, 1977
- Armed robbers on motorbikes raid Brent Cross jeweller BBC News. 6 November 2012 Retrieved 6 November 2012
- "Full consent for £4.5bn Cricklewood scheme". Property Week. 29 October 2010. Retrieved 12 November 2010.
- "Green light for the £4.5bn rebuilding of Brent Cross". London Evening Standard. 29 October 2010. Retrieved 12 November 2010.
- London Borough of Barnet Development framework, chapter 3, page 13
- London Borough of Barnet Development framework, chapter 3, page 12
- Brent Cross Cricklewood Partners. "Brent Cross Cricklewood: 05 Transport Improvements". Retrieved 2009-10-25.
- Barnet Council. "Report ref C/17559/08". Retrieved 2009-10-25.
- Barnet Council. "Report of the Head of Planning and Development, re Brent Cross Cricklewood Regeneration Area, with Addendum". Retrieved 2009-10-25.
- Campaign for Better Transport (UK) Press release on 'Brent Cross railway'
- London Campaign for Better Transport North and West London light railway (NWLLR) / Brent Cross Railway (BCR) plan
- Brent Cross Cricklewood developers' website
- Area Regeneration plan
- Brent Cross shopping centre
- Further information on Brent Cross Shopping Centre