Director William Poole was recently invited to contribute to New London Quarterly’s Viewpoint feature, presenting his thoughts in response to “Where are we going to build the 100,000 homes a year London needs?”.
“The answer is not just in major regeneration zones, but at a more granular level throughout the city. The Mayor’s latest plan enables greater density across the spectrum, and places responsibility on planning officers to reject sites that are not optimised – from height clusters on transport hubs to upwards extension of small buildings.
Opportunities are abundant on sites previously intended for other uses, such as failing high street retail and industrial-led land. These well-connected but underdeveloped parts of our city are ready for mixed use occupiers to breathe new life into them. This ‘new London mix’ is a strong formula, bringing other benefits in enlivening the public realm at different times of day, and promoting a sustainable way of life that relies less on commuting. In turn this improves air quality, making high streets and town centres more welcoming places to live.
Fringe sectors of co-living and building guardians are growing alongside an exploding PRS market. All offer affordable living in good locations; increasingly popular with Gen Z who have lower expectations of property ownership or even a long-term fixed address.
We should welcome these trends over rampant PD conversion of tired buildings to flats, which can derail good quality, higher density redevelopment, resulting in a long-lasting detrimental impact on the quality of our urban environment.”