Evolving London

The second GVA London lecture series

Around 160 clients, contacts and GVA staff attended our second 'Evolving London' event. There, they gathered to debate how more homes can be built to meet the demand caused by London’s ever-growing popularity.

Setting the scene for this event was GVA's Head of Planning, Development and Regeneration, Gerry Hughes who pointed out that London’s Mayor, Boris Johnson, was only building 50% of his 40,000 new homes per annum target. The speakers, Rick Blakeway, Deputy London Mayor for Housing, and Professor Christine Whitehead of the LSE, discussed why this is happening, what causes delays and prevents more homes from being delivered, and what can be done to address the problem.

Thoughts and highlights

While new developers are entering the market, Deputy Mayor Blakeway said that there were difficulties in getting these developers to deliver housing “across the range of price points”. Echoing the Mayor’s long-standing call for “fiscal autonomy”, Blakeway demanded more devolution, and also contrasted the Scottish Parliament’s recent creation of a new tax to replace stamp duty with the lack of control and retention of property taxes in London.

Professor Whitehead described how London’s population and popularity is continuing to grow while fewer families are moving away from the capital. All of which is “putting enormous pressure on London’s housing”. Criticising London’s housing policy as “unambitious” and current planning processes as both unwieldy and time-consuming, she also suggested there should be more development outside the GLA’s boundaries, and more high or super-density housing.

The third guest speaker of the day was James Clark, GLA’s housing policy manager, who said that newly designated housing zones should help ease the issue and also suggested that TfL had the power to unlock more development by extending transport links into new areas, such as at Barking Riverside in East London.

For more insight into this event, pleased watch Evolving London video.