LREF daily review – day two

Friday 15 June 2018

© Bar Productions

LREF’s second and final day this year – and last appearance in Berkeley Square before its move to the HAC in 2019 – began with a look at ‘good growth’ and whether it was more than just a buzzword (or words). Following are some of the quotes and highlights from some of the other debates.

Keynote – is good growth more than just a buzzword?

Jules Pipe CBE, Deputy Mayor for Planning, Regeneration and Skills
• ‘For too long we have had growth at any cost’
• The days of 80% of market level are over as regards anything remotely near affordable
• ‘We’re heading in a very bad direction if we’re just squeezing more and more people out of London that we rely on’
• We are at a turning point, however, with a gratifying engagement on the draft London Plan and the agenda set out with 50 mayoral design advisers. ‘There is a growing recognition that we can’t carry on in the way we have’
• In response to a question from Alex Ely of Mae on the Grahame Park scheme in Colindale, refused permission by the mayor: ‘the simple reason was that there was an enormous loss of social rented floorspace’. ‘We need to get better at really good engagement with residents right from the beginning’

Katy Warrick, Director Residential Research, Savills
• Good placemaking has three essential components – buzz, being locally relevant and authenticity
• Key examples include King’s Cross, TV Centre and Batteresea Power Station, City Island and Good Luck Hope
• But placemaking needs to keep progressing. New trends include digital placemaking through apps etc and interactive publicrealm
• Google and Facebook are now ceating places, and they will potentially come to London too. ‘Are you ready for this level of disruption.’

Richard Upton, Deputy Chief Executive, U+I
• The development industry at the moment currently scores around 4 or 5 out of 10
• ‘The mayor’s vision is great but developers must deliver good growth or they risk losing their licence to operate’
• ‘We need to work so much harder with the communities where we work. The best approach is building trust’
• ‘Appreciating heritage is absolutely key to good growth. We destroy history at our peril’
• ‘What’s essential for authenticity is inclusivity’

Killian Hurley, Chief Executive, Mount Anvil
• Collaboration and trust are currently dirty words in our industry
• ‘I think we’re failing badly on good growth. The rising tide needs to lift all boats, not just the Gucci and Prada yachts. There’s too much greed in our industry, guys’
• ‘Unless we engage with local communities we will end up doing things to them or for them. We need to be doing things with them’
• A key indicator of successful schemes is the view of those in affordable accommodation, not the million pound flats, and whether or not a community has been created
Simon Brooks, Structured Property Finances, Investec
• ‘What we’re seeing is large pools of international capital that are able to take a 30-40 year view’, but ‘not everything needs to be a Battersea of a King’s Cross to take forward communities’

Housing policy

Killian Hurley, Chief Executive, Mount Anvil
• Perhaps the GLA should have more call-in powers. ‘This is for the good of London, let’s get on with the shaggin’ thing’

James Murray, Deputy Mayor for Housing and Residential Development
• ‘London does have to get more dense’, so has to do it in a way which is primarily safe but, beyond that, questions are raised about design
• The concentration on small sites to meet London’s housing targets will mean working hard at ‘bringing Londoners with us’
• The GLA is preparing housing design supplementary guidance which will focus on: what is meant by optimising housing density on each site, with a view to giving local authorities more information; a design code for small sites; and typologies – what high density typologies look like in different parts of the city. Murray wants the typologies elements to be ‘really visual’ in the document
• ‘Central to it will be how do we gain consent from Londoners for what we’re doing?’

Joe Berridge, Partner, Urban Strategies
• Toronto is growing at about twice the rate of London, with many of the intensification and densification issues that the UK capital is having to deal with
• The city has had 730 tall buildings since 2013 approved or in the planning process
• ‘Think about housing through the eyes of a child’

Cyndi Rottenberg Walker, Partner, Urban Strategies
• ‘It’s been three years since I’ve been in London, and “wow”’

Richard Blakeway, Chair, BexleyCo Ltd
• You can only achieve density if you have got good transport
• The challenge for Bexley is that while it has good transport connections in to central London it can be improved to unlock what is an ‘astonishing amount of development potential’
• Bexley has a regeneration argument but also a transport case, especially if it can be linked with high speed rail in Ebbsfleet
• ‘One of the things we’re trying to do is demonstrate what good growth looks like’
• The borough has commissioned RIBA to run a competition for a site opposite Abbey Wood Crossrail:
• ‘If there was one idea to import which would be revolutionary it would be to have something akin to zoning’

Jane Custance, Director - Strategic Planning & Development, LB Waltham Forest
• ‘We have moved away from the big box thinking of the ‘80s’
• Waltham Forest is to prepare a characterisation study to set where taller buildings will be built in the borough
• ‘I think Waltham Forest is rising up to the challenge that the London Plan is giving us’


Matthew McMillan, Development Director, Boxpark
• Why were we interested in taking space at Wembley? Why not?
• ‘With Wembley we were just staggered with the scale’
• ‘We have proved we can bring urban life from the centre and transplant it somewhere’
• ‘What we’re interested in is what retailers want’
• ‘Our best advertising is word of mouth’

James Saunders, Chief Operating Officer, Quintain
• We had a wonderful legacy but fundamentally a very tired estate
• The masterplan for the area is now in its fifth iteration but always had mixed use at its heart
• Opening the outlet centre at Wembley Park was a ‘tipping point’
• ‘We’re sitting in the middle of wonderful ecosystem now, that;s moving at pace. It needs to be a good place, oterwise no-one will want to visit’
• We have always heavily invested in public realm

David Glover, Interim Development Management Manager, LB Brent
• It’s a huge change from 10 years ago
• We need affordable homes for people – we’re constantly looking at how we deliver that
• We’re looking at a really significant increase in the number of homes needed

Mark Davy, Founder, Futurecity
• Brent is the most diverse borough
• ‘What’s exciting about the Quintain approach is when we did this work how amazingly open they were to being challenged’
• ‘Business gets culture – it’s changed from being a philanthropic add-on to an economic necessity’
• Architects hold the key to these big developments, but it’s whether they can let go, share, and collaborate’
• ‘For one moment it unifies people under a common purpose’ - Mark Davy on his excitement of Brent’s award of the London Borough of Culture. ‘It’s not going to be difficult to make this borough sing’


London/Singapore – major development projects

Andrew Fassam, Senior Director (Strategic Projects), Urban Redevelopment Authority – Singapore
• ‘Our approach to planning and urban development is very much borne out of necessity’
• One of the key challenges we face in developing greenfield (essentially ‘bluefield’ was how to guide overall form and massing and help create a sense of place
• ‘The emphasis is very much on the collective rather than the individual buildings’

Katie Kopec, Principal Advisor - Regeneration and Development, London and Partners
• ‘I think by comparison to other parts of the world you’d say London is slow, but equally I would say thet the regulation and planning process is what makes it transparent, and what makes investors come here’
• ‘It would be lovely to do things quicker, but would we have the quality we have at the end?’
• ‘Sometimes you need to get on and do things. I’m not going to mention the Heathrow extension’

Alexandra Reitman, Principal Project Manager - Old Oak Masterplan, Old Oak & Park Royal Development Corporation
• ‘HS2 and Crossrail are a massive push for us’

Town Centre Regeneration
In association with GL Hearn

Debbie Jackson, Assistant Director of Regeneration, GLA
• ‘The press like us to believe that town centres are dead. They are not. They are evolving’ - GLA’s Debbie Jackson’
• Brixton is an exemplary town centre regeneration project. ‘It is still in flight and troubled – lots of heated debates – but what I like about Brixton is you still very much see the community that defines it’

Graeme Tulley, Planning, Development and Regeneration Director, GL Hearn
• There are 240 town centres in London, and by the end of the London Plan period, 2041, over half will have far too much comparison retail in them

By David Taylor, Editor, NLQ

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LREF daily review - day one


This year's LREF kicked off this morning with a series of talks and roundtables around the main exhibition. The following is a selection of some of the main takeaways and quotes from some of the sessions.