Discussion:
Manhattan-on-Thames, Nine Elms
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Recliner
2020-10-19 12:46:44 UTC
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With all the fuss being made, rightly, about the soon-to-depart 38TS on the Island Line, it occurred to me that SWR has
another Birmingham-built fleet due to retire soon, probably with no home to go to. Like the class 483s, these trains are
being retired for a second time, but their total life may only be a quarter as long. I think both classes were even
built in the same former MCCW factory, in Washwood Heath.

Yes, I'm talking about the unloved class 458 fleet. I'd not travelled in them before, so I felt I should give them a try
while they're still in service. I found that they're surprisingly comfortable — I wonder if Ian Walmsley managed to
sneak comfortable seats in when the 458s and 460s were being refurbished to become the 458/5s?

The other thing I was keen to catch up on was the rapidly-developing Manhattan-style canyon that's developing in Nine
Elms. A few decades ago, these were railway lands, full of tracks, loco sheds and turntables. Then they because
warehouses, the New Covent Garden Market a Royal Mail depot, courier firms and light industrial units. Now, they look
like they're Manhattan transplanted. Anyone who's not travelled into Waterloo in the last couple of years might be
amazed at what's erupting, with multiple blocks taller than the Walkie-Talkie. Soon, it won't be possible to see
Battersea Power station except from the river, so hemmed-in will it be.

I took some photos through a slightly grubby window of a moving class 458/5:
<https://www.flickr.com/photos/recliner/albums/72157716527707158>
b***@nuttyella.co.uk
2020-10-19 13:53:40 UTC
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On Mon, 19 Oct 2020 13:46:44 +0100
Post by Recliner
With all the fuss being made, rightly, about the soon-to-depart 38TS on the
Island Line, it occurred to me that SWR has
another Birmingham-built fleet due to retire soon, probably with no home to go
to. Like the class 483s, these trains are
being retired for a second time, but their total life may only be a quarter as
long. I think both classes were even
It strikes me a lot of money has being spent in buying new stock on the
railways when the old stock is perfectly servicable which would be fine if
money were growing on trees , but it wasn't even before covid. Binning
trains built in 2000 (virtually brand new if it was on LU) just seems an
absurd waste of resource.
Recliner
2020-10-19 13:59:19 UTC
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Post by b***@nuttyella.co.uk
On Mon, 19 Oct 2020 13:46:44 +0100
Post by Recliner
With all the fuss being made, rightly, about the soon-to-depart 38TS on the
Island Line, it occurred to me that SWR has
another Birmingham-built fleet due to retire soon, probably with no home to go
to. Like the class 483s, these trains are
being retired for a second time, but their total life may only be a quarter as
long. I think both classes were even
It strikes me a lot of money has being spent in buying new stock on the
railways when the old stock is perfectly servicable which would be fine if
money were growing on trees , but it wasn't even before covid. Binning
trains built in 2000 (virtually brand new if it was on LU) just seems an
absurd waste of resource.
What would be really strange is if the 458s really are scrapped when much older EMUs remain in service, such as the
313s.
b***@nuttyella.co.uk
2020-10-19 15:58:58 UTC
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Permalink
On Mon, 19 Oct 2020 14:59:19 +0100
Post by Recliner
Post by b***@nuttyella.co.uk
On Mon, 19 Oct 2020 13:46:44 +0100
Post by Recliner
With all the fuss being made, rightly, about the soon-to-depart 38TS on the
Island Line, it occurred to me that SWR has
another Birmingham-built fleet due to retire soon, probably with no home to
go
Post by b***@nuttyella.co.uk
Post by Recliner
to. Like the class 483s, these trains are
being retired for a second time, but their total life may only be a quarter
as
Post by b***@nuttyella.co.uk
Post by Recliner
long. I think both classes were even
It strikes me a lot of money has being spent in buying new stock on the
railways when the old stock is perfectly servicable which would be fine if
money were growing on trees , but it wasn't even before covid. Binning
trains built in 2000 (virtually brand new if it was on LU) just seems an
absurd waste of resource.
What would be really strange is if the 458s really are scrapped when much
older EMUs remain in service, such as the
313s.
And the 319s which have been given a new lease of life, though I suspect
the hydrogen train is a non starter. An entire carraige full of equipment and
still only reaching 50mph isn't going to cut it anywhere.
Bevan Price
2020-10-19 13:58:26 UTC
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Post by Recliner
With all the fuss being made, rightly, about the soon-to-depart 38TS on the Island Line, it occurred to me that SWR has
another Birmingham-built fleet due to retire soon, probably with no home to go to. Like the class 483s, these trains are
being retired for a second time, but their total life may only be a quarter as long. I think both classes were even
built in the same former MCCW factory, in Washwood Heath.
Yes, I'm talking about the unloved class 458 fleet. I'd not travelled in them before, so I felt I should give them a try
while they're still in service. I found that they're surprisingly comfortable — I wonder if Ian Walmsley managed to
sneak comfortable seats in when the 458s and 460s were being refurbished to become the 458/5s?
The other thing I was keen to catch up on was the rapidly-developing Manhattan-style canyon that's developing in Nine
Elms. A few decades ago, these were railway lands, full of tracks, loco sheds and turntables. Then they because
warehouses, the New Covent Garden Market a Royal Mail depot, courier firms and light industrial units. Now, they look
like they're Manhattan transplanted. Anyone who's not travelled into Waterloo in the last couple of years might be
amazed at what's erupting, with multiple blocks taller than the Walkie-Talkie. Soon, it won't be possible to see
Battersea Power station except from the river, so hemmed-in will it be.
<https://www.flickr.com/photos/recliner/albums/72157716527707158>
They are making a similar mess of the Manchester skyline, blighted by
enormous monstrosities, and leaving much of ground level in almost
permanent shadow.
Arthur Conan Doyle
2020-10-19 14:51:49 UTC
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Post by Recliner
<https://www.flickr.com/photos/recliner/albums/72157716527707158>
I would have guessed they were taken from your Delorian, given the 2021 date in
the album title. :)
Recliner
2020-10-19 15:01:02 UTC
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Post by Arthur Conan Doyle
Post by Recliner
<https://www.flickr.com/photos/recliner/albums/72157716527707158>
I would have guessed they were taken from your Delorian, given the 2021 date in
the album title. :)
Oops, thanks for the correction — I was obviously wishing 2020 to be over
as soon as possible!
Recliner
2020-10-19 15:01:03 UTC
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Post by Bevan Price
Post by Recliner
With all the fuss being made, rightly, about the soon-to-depart 38TS on
the Island Line, it occurred to me that SWR has
another Birmingham-built fleet due to retire soon, probably with no home
to go to. Like the class 483s, these trains are
being retired for a second time, but their total life may only be a
quarter as long. I think both classes were even
built in the same former MCCW factory, in Washwood Heath.
Yes, I'm talking about the unloved class 458 fleet. I'd not travelled in
them before, so I felt I should give them a try
while they're still in service. I found that they're surprisingly
comfortable — I wonder if Ian Walmsley managed to
sneak comfortable seats in when the 458s and 460s were being refurbished
to become the 458/5s?
The other thing I was keen to catch up on was the rapidly-developing
Manhattan-style canyon that's developing in Nine
Elms. A few decades ago, these were railway lands, full of tracks, loco
sheds and turntables. Then they because
warehouses, the New Covent Garden Market a Royal Mail depot, courier
firms and light industrial units. Now, they look
like they're Manhattan transplanted. Anyone who's not travelled into
Waterloo in the last couple of years might be
amazed at what's erupting, with multiple blocks taller than the
Walkie-Talkie. Soon, it won't be possible to see
Battersea Power station except from the river, so hemmed-in will it be.
<https://www.flickr.com/photos/recliner/albums/72157716527707158>
They are making a similar mess of the Manchester skyline, blighted by
enormous monstrosities, and leaving much of ground level in almost
permanent shadow.
I was using an ultra-wide angle lens, which makes things look further away
than they are. It hides just how close those expensive flats are to the
busy railway. The trains are not running quickly, but they still make some
noise.

The blocks are also close to each other, so many of the flats look straight
out on to the next block. That would be expected in cheap flats, but these
aren't.
Sam Wilson
2020-10-19 20:27:05 UTC
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Post by Recliner
I was using an ultra-wide angle lens, which makes things look further away
than they are. It hides just how close those expensive flats are to the
busy railway. The trains are not running quickly, but they still make some
noise.
The blocks are also close to each other, so many of the flats look straight
out on to the next block. That would be expected in cheap flats, but these
aren't.
If they’re being used as investments/money laundering opportunties that may
not matter, since many foreign-owned London flats are allegedly empty most
of the time anyway.

Sam
--
The entity formerly known as ***@ed.ac.uk
Spit the dummy to reply
Arthur Figgis
2020-10-19 20:40:14 UTC
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Post by Sam Wilson
not matter, since many foreign-owned London flats are allegedly empty most
of the time anyway.
I know it is one of those things that "everyone knows", but has anyone
ever looked into to the extent of this? Are there huge numbers of flats
which could lower general property prices/reduce commuting/house the
homeless/facilitate more immigration (delete accoording to taste), or it
it one of those things which someone once suggested and it just stuck?
--
Arthur Figgis Surrey, UK
Arthur Conan Doyle
2020-10-20 00:20:46 UTC
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Post by Arthur Figgis
I know it is one of those things that "everyone knows", but has anyone
ever looked into to the extent of this? Are there huge numbers of flats
which could lower general property prices/reduce commuting/house the
homeless/facilitate more immigration (delete accoording to taste), or it
it one of those things which someone once suggested and it just stuck?
And of course ignores the benefits of unoccupied flats - i.e. although they
still pay council tax on the full value of the property, they create zero
polution or congestion and make no demand on services. I supose this is somewhat
offset by the fact that they aren't spending any money in the area either.
Recliner
2020-10-20 00:53:06 UTC
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Post by Arthur Conan Doyle
Post by Arthur Figgis
I know it is one of those things that "everyone knows", but has anyone
ever looked into to the extent of this? Are there huge numbers of flats
which could lower general property prices/reduce commuting/house the
homeless/facilitate more immigration (delete accoording to taste), or it
it one of those things which someone once suggested and it just stuck?
And of course ignores the benefits of unoccupied flats - i.e. although they
still pay council tax on the full value of the property, they create zero
polution or congestion and make no demand on services. I supose this is somewhat
offset by the fact that they aren't spending any money in the area either.
If there's too many of them, they create very sterile areas, with few
shops, pubs, restaurants or other local amenities.

In fact, some of these foreign-oriented blocks are almost designed to do
that: they're attached to a luxury hotel, that provides all services. The
idea is that the foreign owners use them as holiday or guest homes,
occupied for a few weeks or months a year, with the occasional occupants
getting whatever they need from the host hotel.

They probably never use the marble kitchen, fancy washing machine, etc.
Just let the hotel know when they're arriving on a visit, and it organises
limo transport from the airport, stocks the fridge as required, makes
bookings in the hotel restaurants or gourmet room service, dry cleaning,
and anything else the concierge can organise. And, of course, at the end of
the visit, the hotel organises limo transport to the airport, and cleans up
the flat to perfection.

I think this is what what some rich parents of foreign students in Britain
do. They can visit London for school/college holidays, and indulge in some
shopping/shows/sporting events at the same time. And it's an essential
bolthole if their home country has a coup or just an aggressive
anti-corruption drive. In between, it's a fairly secure home for some of
their dodgy wealth.
Basil Jet
2020-10-20 06:50:20 UTC
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Post by Recliner
Post by Arthur Conan Doyle
Post by Arthur Figgis
I know it is one of those things that "everyone knows", but has anyone
ever looked into to the extent of this? Are there huge numbers of flats
which could lower general property prices/reduce commuting/house the
homeless/facilitate more immigration (delete accoording to taste), or it
it one of those things which someone once suggested and it just stuck?
And of course ignores the benefits of unoccupied flats - i.e. although they
still pay council tax on the full value of the property, they create zero
polution or congestion and make no demand on services. I supose this is somewhat
offset by the fact that they aren't spending any money in the area either.
If there's too many of them, they create very sterile areas, with few
shops, pubs, restaurants or other local amenities.
No more so than the fully-occupied two-storey buildings in the suburbs.
--
Basil Jet recently enjoyed listening to
The Monkees - 1969 - Instant Replay
Sam Wilson
2020-10-20 10:52:24 UTC
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Post by Arthur Figgis
Post by Sam Wilson
not matter, since many foreign-owned London flats are allegedly empty most
of the time anyway.
I know it is one of those things that "everyone knows", but has anyone
ever looked into to the extent of this? Are there huge numbers of flats
which could lower general property prices/reduce commuting/house the
homeless/facilitate more immigration (delete accoording to taste), or it
it one of those things which someone once suggested and it just stuck?
2017, so it may be out of date, and it’s the Guardian so some of our
residents here may discount it, and occupancy is mentioned in pasing,
though with a reference to an earlier report, but it does say: many London
properties are foreign owned; some of them are rarely occupied.

Sam
--
The entity formerly known as ***@ed.ac.uk
Spit the dummy to reply
Recliner
2020-10-20 11:13:16 UTC
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Post by Sam Wilson
Post by Arthur Figgis
Post by Sam Wilson
not matter, since many foreign-owned London flats are allegedly empty most
of the time anyway.
I know it is one of those things that "everyone knows", but has anyone
ever looked into to the extent of this? Are there huge numbers of flats
which could lower general property prices/reduce commuting/house the
homeless/facilitate more immigration (delete accoording to taste), or it
it one of those things which someone once suggested and it just stuck?
2017, so it may be out of date, and it’s the Guardian so some of our
residents here may discount it, and occupancy is mentioned in pasing,
though with a reference to an earlier report, but it does say: many London
properties are foreign owned; some of them are rarely occupied.
There certainly are many investment properties that are little used, but I
wonder what proportion of the flats in these new blocks along the Thames
come into that category? Is it as low as 20% or as high as 80%? I simply
don't know.

Many of the Nine Elms projects are Asian-funded, and they may plan to
market the properties first to people back home. Ironically, some of the
skyscrapers overlooking the SIS building will be Chinese-owned.
Arthur Figgis
2020-10-20 17:42:37 UTC
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Permalink
Post by Sam Wilson
Post by Arthur Figgis
Post by Sam Wilson
not matter, since many foreign-owned London flats are allegedly empty most
of the time anyway.
I know it is one of those things that "everyone knows", but has anyone
ever looked into to the extent of this? Are there huge numbers of flats
which could lower general property prices/reduce commuting/house the
homeless/facilitate more immigration (delete accoording to taste), or it
it one of those things which someone once suggested and it just stuck?
2017, so it may be out of date, and it’s the Guardian so some of our
residents here may discount it, and occupancy is mentioned in pasing,
though with a reference to an earlier report, but it does say: many London
properties are foreign owned; some of them are rarely occupied.
I would certainly be suspicious of a Guardian article if it didn't cite
verifiable sources for something like that; "many" and "some" offer a
lot of opportunities for creative handwaving.
--
Arthur Figgis Surrey, UK
Sam Wilson
2020-10-20 19:24:30 UTC
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Post by Arthur Figgis
Post by Sam Wilson
Post by Arthur Figgis
Post by Sam Wilson
not matter, since many foreign-owned London flats are allegedly empty most
of the time anyway.
I know it is one of those things that "everyone knows", but has anyone
ever looked into to the extent of this? Are there huge numbers of flats
which could lower general property prices/reduce commuting/house the
homeless/facilitate more immigration (delete accoording to taste), or it
it one of those things which someone once suggested and it just stuck?
2017, so it may be out of date, and it’s the Guardian so some of our
residents here may discount it, and occupancy is mentioned in pasing,
though with a reference to an earlier report, but it does say: many London
properties are foreign owned; some of them are rarely occupied.
I would certainly be suspicious of a Guardian article if it didn't cite
verifiable sources for something like that; "many" and "some" offer a
lot of opportunities for creative handwaving.
Sorry, missing link. You may or may not be able to follow up the
references given in the text.

<https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/jun/13/foreign-investors-snapping-up-london-homes-suitable-for-first-time-buyers>

Sam (the missing link)
--
The entity formerly known as ***@ed.ac.uk
Spit the dummy to reply
Theo
2020-10-20 22:21:14 UTC
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Post by Sam Wilson
Sorry, missing link. You may or may not be able to follow up the
references given in the text.
<https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/jun/13/foreign-investors-snapping-up-london-homes-suitable-for-first-time-buyers>
The report wasn't cited directly in the text, but a bit of googling key
terms and I think this is it:
https://www.london.gov.uk/moderngovmb/documents/s58641/08b2c%20University%20of%20York%20data%20report.pdf

Theo
Sam Wilson
2020-10-21 10:10:56 UTC
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Post by Theo
Post by Sam Wilson
Sorry, missing link. You may or may not be able to follow up the
references given in the text.
<https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/jun/13/foreign-investors-snapping-up-london-homes-suitable-for-first-time-buyers>
The report wasn't cited directly in the text, but a bit of googling key
https://www.london.gov.uk/moderngovmb/documents/s58641/08b2c%20University%20of%20York%20data%20report.pdf
Thank you.

“Conclusion
The estimates show that the propensity to leave homes empty
or under-used in some way is greater among properties of higher values, in
prime areas of London and among overseas investors. These sales represent a
smaller portion of London’s new build housing market, so in absolute terms
UK and overseas owners hold similar numbers of homes that are under-used or
under-occupied.”

Sam
--
The entity formerly known as ***@ed.ac.uk
Spit the dummy to reply
Anna Noyd-Dryver
2020-10-29 13:17:17 UTC
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Post by Arthur Figgis
Post by Sam Wilson
not matter, since many foreign-owned London flats are allegedly empty most
of the time anyway.
I know it is one of those things that "everyone knows", but has anyone
ever looked into to the extent of this? Are there huge numbers of flats
which could lower general property prices/reduce commuting/house the
homeless/facilitate more immigration (delete accoording to taste), or it
it one of those things which someone once suggested and it just stuck?
Someone should write to R4 "More or Less " and ask them :)


Anna Noyd-Dryver

Recliner
2020-10-19 21:00:01 UTC
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Post by Sam Wilson
Post by Recliner
I was using an ultra-wide angle lens, which makes things look further away
than they are. It hides just how close those expensive flats are to the
busy railway. The trains are not running quickly, but they still make some
noise.
The blocks are also close to each other, so many of the flats look straight
out on to the next block. That would be expected in cheap flats, but these
aren't.
If they’re being used as investments/money laundering opportunties that may
not matter, since many foreign-owned London flats are allegedly empty most
of the time anyway.
Could be, though the prices of the ones I saw when researching the block
names weren't stratospheric enough for them to be likely investment
properties. Ones with a river view might come into that category.

Of course, some could be pied-à-terres for affluent London workers who
might spend about half their time in them, and half in more agreeable
surroundings out of town. Their proximity to the US embassy and the large
planned Apple offices in the old power station may also be factors. I
wonder if the embassy might lease some for visiting staff on short term
assignments?

I did wonder if any of the blocks had an underground link to the fortified
embassy?
Basil Jet
2020-10-19 21:21:36 UTC
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Post by Recliner
I did wonder if any of the blocks had an underground link to the fortified
embassy?
Encouraging large numbers of staff to live in a single building outside
the compound seems like a security risk.
--
Basil Jet recently enjoyed listening to
Towa Tei - 1999 - Last Century Modern
Recliner
2020-10-19 21:30:28 UTC
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Post by Basil Jet
Post by Recliner
I did wonder if any of the blocks had an underground link to the fortified
embassy?
Encouraging large numbers of staff to live in a single building outside
the compound seems like a security risk.
I was thinking more of the embassy possibly owning or leasing a whole block
of flats, which might have enhanced security, plus US-style amenities. In
any case, I assume the whole vicinity will have high security, not just the
big cube inside its moat.
Arthur Conan Doyle
2020-10-20 00:31:54 UTC
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Post by Basil Jet
Encouraging large numbers of staff to live in a single building outside
the compound seems like a security risk.
Not exactly the same, but it depends on the country. I've seen expat/consulate
compounds in a number of countries, including China. One with detatched homes in
Beijing is overlooked by a Marriott. There's a company called DRC that has
several towers in one of the embassy districts with flats for rent to expats.

Arguably easier to provide security to a compound over individal residences.
Whether it's mandatory to live in them (either by the host country, or embassy
security), I could not say. A director in my company who moved her family to
Shanghai chose such a location for access to schools and western social
opportunities.
Marland
2020-10-19 14:28:30 UTC
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Post by Recliner
while they're still in service. I found that they're surprisingly
comfortable — I wonder if Ian Walmsley managed to
sneak comfortable seats in when the 458s and 460s were being refurbished
to become the 458/5s?
The other thing I was keen to catch up on was the rapidly-developing
Manhattan-style canyon that's developing in Nine
Elms. A few decades ago, these were railway lands, full of tracks, loco
sheds and turntables. Then they because
warehouses, the New Covent Garden Market a Royal Mail depot, courier
firms and light industrial units. Now, they look
like they're Manhattan transplanted. Anyone who's not travelled into
Waterloo in the last couple of years might be
amazed at what's erupting, with multiple blocks taller than the
Walkie-Talkie. Soon, it won't be possible to see
Battersea Power station except from the river, so hemmed-in will it be.
<https://www.flickr.com/photos/recliner/albums/72157716527707158>
One of the nice things about the entry to Waterloo was the view of the
River and the Palace of Westminster you once got and while for commuters it
was something they were used to for those from further afield it could add
to the atmosphere of a visit to the Capital.
As you say it has been eroded in recent times and it is now just a boring
view of glass and concrete apart from the odd glimpse along a couple of
streets that penetrate the Pilkington Wall.

Should make the inmates of the US Embassy feel at home though.

GH
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