The London Stand at MIPIM UK Day 2

Thursday 19 October 2017

The NLA is running a full series of events at this year’s MIPIM UK in London’s Olympia. Here are the highlights from day two.

  • City Hall to adopt more ‘muscular’ interventionist approach over land
  • New London Plan - time for ‘genuinely affordable’ housing
  • Suburbs urged to play their part
  • Government, GLA and TfL investigating DRAM (Development Rights Auction Model) for transport projects
  • London’s ‘gravity’ shifts further east

City Hall will be adopting a more ‘muscular’ and interventionist approach to the land market, according to deputy mayor for housing James Murray, and is prepared to use CPOs more widely where necessary to get housing numbers up, But it must work to end a situation where the public see affordable housing products as anything but. Quintain is spending £1m a day on construction of housing at Wembley, said Fareen Lalani, where it is ‘in it for the long run, having built 3,000 units and readying 4,500 more. Waltham Forest, meanwhile, is creating its own stand-alone company to build housing, said Cllr Khevyn Limbajee, to capitalise on the ‘Awesomestowe’ effect. 

The new London Plan is set for publication next month, and will include new Opportunity Areas, support for ‘precision manufacturing’ – formerly Modern Methods of Construction – and a stated desire to build 66,000 homes per year within the M25. It will also, said Jules Pipe, stipulate 35% affordable, rising to 50% in the early 2020s, but he is also keen to see more intensification, particularly of industrial sheds, which could go to two to three decks to free up land elsewhere. Cities are changing quite profoundly, though, said Yolande Barnes, and many across the globe are searching for ‘neighbourhood’. For its part, London could provide 1.3 million homes by intensifying the suburbs, she said, without the need to touch the Green Belt. 

Indeed, it is time for the suburbs and the polycentric city, said Transport for London’s Stuart Robinson, especially since the Green Belt was a ‘no-go’. Having done some work with Jan Gehl, Robinson suggested that placemaking was another important factor.  London’s Towns, moreover, need to adopt an agile, flexible, collaborative and long-term approach to create sustainable communities, said Arup’s Joanna Rowelle, as Argent is adopting in Brent Cross, taking on some of the principles it applied at King’s Cross, albeit with far fewer constraints. Ruairidh Jackson said he hoped that Brent Cross would feel similarly ‘owned’ by the local public. London’s Towns had to achieve the right mix, avoid becoming dormitories and build on local elements as Sutton has with its London Cancer Hub, said Amanda Charrington. One obstacle, though, was in planning, and local objections to transport and other schemes. For too long now, said Robinson, people have wanted progress, but not change.

The GLA, TfL, and Government are investigating whether DRAM – Development Rights Auction Model – is a way in which London, and perhaps the rest of the country, can pay for infrastructure projects. Crossrail 2’s Michele Dix said the line, which is about housing and development as much as it is about transport, is having to pay upfront before it can begin – perhaps there were those along its length that stand to benefit which also remained untapped, such as residential landlords. But such schemes need to consider design and employ designers at their outset, said Sadie Morgan, and properly plan so that projects do not have to be redone. Schemes should also adequately explain the benefits to communities and get them on board early, said Kingston’s Charlie Adan, removing the ‘disconnect’ between growth and benefits to locals.

More people now live to the east of Tower Bridge than to the west. And some 110,000 jobs have been created since 2012, said LLDC’s Rosanna Lawes, with the east set to be home to a new culture and education district as part of a ‘staggering pace of change’ – including a new home for hip hop. The development of Silvertown is part of this picture, with 3000 residential units and 5million sqft of commercial space, including Millennium Mills, where interest is strong. This proves a new interest in ‘character space’, said Silvertown Partnership’s Simon Webster. Finally, said Farrells’ Laura Mazzeo, the region’s leaders, such as Barking’s Darren Rodwell, were driving forward development whilst ensuring that the public was brought along too.

By David Taylor, Editor, New London Quarterly

For details on the day two programme on the London Stand at MIPIM UK click here

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