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Brentford FC, together with its development partner Be (formerly Willmott Dixon Residential), are presenting amendments to the approved Brentford Community Stadium development to members of the London Borough of Hounslow (LBH) Planning Committee on 24 August before plans are submitted in early September for the Council to consider. These are the final changes which, subject to approval by LBH, will mean construction of the new stadium will start early in 2018 with the aim of completion by late 2019 or early 2020.

Since the original planning permission was granted in June 2014, significant changes have taken place both within the development marketplace and in relation to Premier League football and Premiership rugby union requirements. As a result, the Club and Be have undertaken a detailed review, to ensure the stadium is Premier League compliant upon completion; to enhance the urban and residential design; and to reduce the risks from the stadium construction process and its future operation.

The result is a stadium that is smaller in capacity (down from 20,000 seats to 17,250) and which will be sited three metres south of its original location. This will allow the incorporation of a road at the northern perimeter to improve access through the site and ease the construction constraints imposed by a site bounded on all sides by railway lines. In addition, Be are taking this opportunity to revise the residential development to create a better and more integrated sense of place, with increased permeability.  The stadium and the enabling residential development will remain within the planning envelope approved in 2014 and there is no increase in either the height or the overall number of homes within the residential development.

These amendments will not impact on the overall quality of the stadium. In fact, recent successful seasons in the Championship have only served to harden the resolve of the owner, Matthew Benham, and the management team of the Football Club to continue its pursuit of Premier League status. This is illustrated by the fact that a key amendment involves the inclusion of Premier League compliant Outside Broadcast facilities within the stadium itself, together with facilities to meet the latest Premier League requirements for lighting and media. Similarly, the new stadium will benefit from premium lounges with the capability of welcoming up to 3,000 guests.  There is also provision for some safe standing, when legislation allows for this.

The facilities for the Brentford FC Community Sports Trust will not now be within the stadium itself. Instead, it’s proposed that the Trust’s offices, Learning Zone and Hounslow’s Interim Education Centre will be housed in the ground and first floor of the Central Eastern residential block, immediately next to the stadium, giving them dedicated facilities which can be used 365 days a year, something that was not possible if they had been located in the stadium.

The proposed amendments to the residential development are focussed around the first phase and specifically about improving the experience for all those who will come to enjoy the site. A new square which knits the apartment buildings and the stadium together provides a proper main entrance to the stadium, whilst the addition of non-residential uses around the square will make it somewhere people will want to come on non-match days. The look of the buildings has been improved to make them much more in keeping with the existing architecture in the local area and the apartment buildings themselves have been re-planned to better suit market needs. Of the 910 homes consented for the scheme, 487 will be delivered in the first phase with residents able to both rent and buy.

Cliff Crown, Chairman of Brentford FC said: “I would like to thank the fans of Brentford FC for their support and patience during this last stage of detailed planning. I know that some fans may be concerned that the capacity of the stadium will be reduced but it is critical that this project is as financially robust and deliverable as possible. I am delighted that we are continuing to prepare for life in the Premier League with enhanced media, Outside Broadcast and lighting facilities to make the stadium fully compliant from day one, with provision for safe standing as soon as legislation allows.”

Conor Hayes, Chairman of Lionel Road Development Ltd and Corporate Adviser (appointed May 2016), added: “We are looking forward to submitting these planning amendments that are the final hurdle to us getting on site to start the stadium build itself. These proposals will help make the scheme as financially robust as possible, whilst still providing a high quality stadium and residential development that will help to regenerate this area, provide significant benefits to the local communities and deliver a Premier League ready stadium.”

Matthew Townend, Managing Director at Be Living Ltd said: “We have had a very productive six months, working closely with the club.  These proposed amendments will improve the fans’ experience as they approach and leave the stadium, enhance the amenity for future residents and, we believe, create a greater sense of place not just on match days, but all year round for everyone coming to the development.”

 

Germany’s carmakers are expected to agree a plan to cut harmful diesel emissions, at a summit with top politicians in Berlin.

The industry is under huge pressure to help curb air pollution, after the diesel emissions scandal, which exposed cheating to manipulate test readings.

The reputation of a key strategic industry is at stake. Car firms provide more than 800,000 jobs in Germany.

Firms including VW and Opel are likely to offer software updates for engines.

But agreement on a much more expensive fix – retrofitting diesel engines with new components – is unlikely, correspondents say.

The software updates, for about two million cars, will cost about €300m (£268m; $355m). The aim is to make older cars compliant with EU air quality standards, to cut the amount of toxic nitrogen oxide (NOx) they emit.

The pressure increased last week, when a court in Stuttgart upheld a proposal to ban older diesel cars from the city.

It is the home city of Mercedes and Porsche, and one of Germany’s pollution hotspots.

Air pollution now regularly exceeds legal limits in many German cities. It is a headache for the mighty automotive industry and for German politicians, ahead of a 24 September general election.

But Germany is unlikely to commit to ending production of combustion engine vehicles any time soon, our correspondent says.

Concern about air pollution in cities and the impact of CO2 emissions on the climate has put governments and manufacturers under pressure to clean up the industry.

France and the UK plan to ban sales of fossil-fuel vehicles from 2040.

But switching to a future of electric vehicles will be hugely expensive – not least because of the need for charging points everywhere.

British Airways has apologised for a “temporary” problem with its check-in systems at some UK airports.  Passengers at Heathrow, Gatwick and London City airports had to be checked in manually and faced long queues and delays.  BA said the fault was resolved at about 09:00 BST and its computerised system was now operating normally.  It comes after a power cut led to hundreds of flights being cancelled over the May bank holiday weekend.

A spokesman for BA said:

We are sorry for the temporary check-in problems which caused some delays for our customers first thing this morning.

This issue is now resolved and our staff are working flat out to help customers get away on their holidays.

The problems in May resulted in an IT failure and the cancellation of more than 670 flights from Heathrow and Gatwick. BA later said it was caused by an engineer who disconnected a power supply.  Meanwhile, passengers flying from EU airports have been warned they may face long queues over new security checks brought in after recent terror attacks.

Regulators should not “water down” the rules to allow the world’s largest oil company to list in London, the Institute of Directors (IoD) has said.

It follows reports Saudi Aramco plans to list 5% of its shares in London or on another Western stock exchange.

UK rules state more than 25% of shares should be listed to stop a single shareholder having too much dominance.

But proposals by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) put forward in January could allow for exceptions.

The regulator proposed waiving a number of requirements for sovereign-owned companies.

These include the need to provide independent shareholders with their own separate vote on the appointment of independent directors, which can potentially delay the process by up to 90 days.

Steve Martin, director general of the IOD, questioned whether the FCA’s plans were being made for “short term gain”.

According to reports, Saudi Aramco could be valued at $2tn (£1.5tn) when it lists – a huge price tag that would also generate hundreds of millions of dollars in fees for investment bankers, lawyers and other professional firms involved in stock market flotations.

Mr Martin said:

The UK has the highest standard of corporate governance and shareholders know that when they invest in a company, certain protections will be in place, especially to protect minority shareholders.

We would not want to see those rules removed without good reason.

It’s in the interest of companies like Saudi Aramco to adhere to our requirements because it demonstrates their commitment to good corporate governance.

In January, the FCA said it wanted to create a new category of share listing, aimed at state-controlled companies such as Aramco.

This summer it said these firms “tend to be different from private sector individuals or entities in both their motivations and their nature”.

In June, pension fund Royal London Asset Management also criticised the proposals, saying an Aramco listing should not go ahead if it weakened protections.

Ashley Hamilton Claxton, corporate governance manager at Royal London, said at the time:

It would be highly inappropriate for us to be bending listing rules and bending benchmark rules to accommodate this one large company.

Tesco is launching a same-day delivery service across the UK to compete with online retail giant Amazon. The UK’s biggest supermarket chain already allows customers in London and the South East to order groceries for same-day delivery. Now it says it will extend the service across most of the rest of the UK by the end of August. Customers who order online by 1pm will be able to receive their groceries sometime after 7pm on the same day. Shoppers in London and the South East will be able to access the same-day service seven days a week. Elsewhere it will be available from Monday to Saturday.

The firm says the extended service will give it the “biggest reach of any retailer in the UK, stretching from the Shetland Islands in Scotland to Cornwall in south-west England”. It says it will cover more than 99% of UK households, as opposed to 99% of the UK. Tesco recently extended its same-day click and collect service to 300 UK locations. Last month it also launched Tesco Now, a one-hour delivery service for central London customers. Amazon – in conjunction with Morrisons – allows some of its prime customers to receive a food delivery within one hour of ordering it.

At the moment Amazon’s service is only available in parts of London and Hertfordshire, but it too is planning on rolling out the service nationwide. Amazon is also buying Whole Foods in a $13.7bn (£10.7bn) deal that marks its biggest push into traditional retailing yet. Tesco and other major grocers, such as Sainsbury’s, have faced stiff price competition from the likes of Aldi and Lidl, and have been looking for ways to freshen up their shopping offer.

A sharp rise in personal loans could pose a danger to the UK economy, a Bank of England official has warned. Outstanding car loans, credit card balance transfers and personal loans have increased by 10% over the past year, the Bank’s financial stability director Alex Brazier said. In contrast household incomes have risen by just 1.5%, he said. “Household debt – like most things that are good in moderation – can be dangerous in excess”, Mr Brazier said.

Mr Brazier, in a speech to the University of Liverpool’s Institute for Risk and Uncertainty, added that this increase in debt was “dangerous to borrowers, lenders and, most importantly from our perspective, everyone else in the economy”. He warned that High Street banks were at risk of entering “a spiral of complacency” about mounting consumer debt levels. “Lending standards can go from responsible to reckless very quickly. “The sorry fact is that as lenders think the risks they face are falling, the risks they – and the wider economy face – are actually growing,” Mr Brazier added. Mr Brazier hinted that the Bank of England could force banks to take further safeguards against the risk of bad debts if it was deemed necessary.

Just last month, the Bank of England told banks to beef up their finances against the risk of bad loans. They were told to set aside £11.4bn in the next 18 months in case future economic shocks meant some borrowers could not keep up their repayments. Mr Brazier said by September the Bank will have assessed whether the rapid growth in consumer lending “has created any small gap in the line”. “If it has, we’ll plug it,” said Mr Brazier.
In June, Bank of England governor Mark Carney said lenders appeared to have forgotten some of the lessons of the financial crisis. Despite these concerns, Mr Carney stressed that the UK financial system was far stronger than at the time of the great banking crash in 2008-09.

UK retail sales rose by more than expected in June, rebounding from May’s decline, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The quantity of goods bought rose by 0.6% in June from May, which was stronger growth than economists had been expecting.
The rise was driven by strong sales of household goods, clothing and shoes. That compensated for falling sales at supermarkets and other sellers of food and drinks. “A particularly warm June seems to have prompted strong sales in clothing, which has compensated for a decline in food and fuel sales this month,” ONS statistician Kate Davies said.

Retail sales rose by 1.5% in the three months to the end of June, which wipes out the 1.4% slide in sales over the first three months of the year. Economists prefer to look at figures over three months, which smooth out volatile moves from month to month. “We shouldn’t get too carried away by these figures. After all, the retail sales figures are very volatile on a month-by-month basis. And the heatwave in June provided a boost to clothing sales that may not be sustained,” said Paul Hollingsworth, UK economist at Capital Economics.

Other economists argue the figures should have been even stronger. “Last month was the fifth warmest June since 1910, and food and clothing sales usually surge when the temperature is unusually high in the summer,” said Samuel Tombs, chief UK economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics. “The increase in retail sales in June was relatively modest, given the temporary support to demand from the unusually warm weather.” Economists are keeping a close eye on spending by UK shoppers as it has been supporting the overall economy. But with inflation now running ahead of wage growth, there have been concerns of a slowdown in spending. “The outlook of falling real wages and tightening credit conditions suggest that retail sales will struggle to retain Q2′s vigour in the second half of this year,” Mr Tombs said.

Next week, figures will be released on second quarter growth in the UK. Growth could “perk-up” from the first quarter figure of 0.2% according to Chris Williamson from IHS Markit. However, Mr Tombs from Capital Economics doubts there will be much improvement, given other weak economic data.

Profits at US bank Morgan Stanley increased 11% year-on-year in the second quarter, with gains across its business. The firm also weathered a decline in bond trading better than rivals, reporting a 4% revenue fall in that business. Profits were $1.8bn in the quarter, on revenues of more than $9.5bn. Revenues increased 7% year-on-year. Shares climbed 2.7% in morning trade.

Chief executive James Gorman said the earnings showed “the resilience of our franchise in a subdued trading environment”. The firm’s investment management unit, the smallest segment of the business, showed the strongest gains, with a 14% year-on-year rise in revenue. While Morgan Stanley has grown on an annual basis, its revenues dipped 2% from the previous quarter. Morgan Stanley said client optimism had dimmed since the start of the year, but it expected US policy changes, including interest rate increases and financial deregulation, to help boost future growth.

Bond trading revenues at Goldman Sachs slid 40% in the second quarter, echoing similar declines at other US banks. Revenue from trading fixed income, commodities and currencies was $1.16bn as the US increased interest rates and cut back on bond buying. Total net revenues for the first half rose 12% to $15.91bn. Separately, profits at rival Bank of America were boosted by tighter US interest rate policy.

Goldman posted profits of $1.83bn for the quarter, down from the $2.2bn reported in the first three months of 2017 and only slightly higher than the $1.82bn it reported for the same quarter last year. Chief executive Lloyd Blankfein said the “mixed operating environment” continued into the second quarter. “Against that backdrop, we produced revenue growth and improved profitability for the first half of 2017, reflecting both the diversity and strength of our global businesses.” Goldman said it ranked first in worldwide mergers and acquisitions for the year-to-date and was also number one for issuing company shares. It got a critical boost from private equity investments. But Goldman’s commodities business had its worst quarter, continuing a slide that has previously alarmed investors. “This is something that all of us are evaluating and making changes and working on,” said Martin Chavez, the chief financial officer. “We know we need to do better.”

Shares in Goldman fell 2.3% in New York to $223.84. Goldman, one of Wall Street’s most most famous financial institutions, escaped from the financial crisis relatively unscathed. But its growth has been more limited in recent quarters, due partly to difficulties in its fixed income, currency and commodities unit. Mr Chavez said demand from active investors had traditionally driven that business, but those companies have pulled back amid relatively low market fluctuation.

Active management firms are also under pressure as investors switch funds away from expensive stock-pickers to passive funds that track indexes such as the S&P 500. Mr Chavez also said Goldman’s own performance in commodities – a business many of its rivals have shifted away from in recent years – has been weak. “We didn’t navigate the market as well as we aspire to or as well as we have in the past,” he said.

At Bank of America, net profit for the second quarter was $4.9bn, 11% higher than for the same period a year ago. Much of the increase in profit was due to a rise in net interest income following a rise in US interest rates. The firm said growth in mobile banking – which has lower costs – has also helped its bottom line. Bank of America chief executive Brian Moynihan said: “Against modest economic growth of 2%, we had one of the strongest quarters in our history.”

Brentford Football Club has entered a partnership with Curtis Sport to be the Official Programme Supplier for the next three seasons. The experienced print and sports specialist will have responsibility for the sales and distribution of Brentford FC’s matchday programme, which will be redesigned for the new season. There will also be a new Programme Editor this season with Sam Marshall, newly appointed to the Club’s Communications team, taking on the role.

Curtis Sport produces matchday programmes for sporting organisations across the country. They work with football clubs including West Bromwich Albion, Aberdeen and Millwall and well as Rugby League, Rugby Union and speedway teams. The West Midlands based firm will be designing and printing the programme as well as taking responsibility for matchday and online sales. The Club will maintain control of the editorial content.