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Only half of Londoners now open to more homes being built despite housing shortage - London First

01 February 2019

Business group calls for action to unlock £8.6bn needed to meet capital’s homebuilding target

The proportion of Londoners open to new homes being built in their local area has fallen in the last year, according to a new YouGov poll1 conducted for business campaigning group, London First, to mark the London Planning Awards.

The poll of more than 1000 Londoners, conducted by YouGov, shows that only half would welcome more homes being built in their area, down from 57 per cent last year. However, housing clearly remains a priority, with two thirds (66 per cent) saying the Government is not spending enough time on addressing the issue and three-quarters (74%) saying there is a housing shortage in the capital.

The poll’s findings underline the importance for innovation in new planning and development schemes in London, in order to change perceptions toward building new homes.

The news comes after Agar Grove Estate – a Camden based-housing development – scooped the Mayor’s award for best new development at the London Planning Awards 2019 ceremony, which took place at the National Gallery (31 January 2018).

London First CEO, Jasmine Whitbread, said: “The falling number of people ready to welcome new homes in their area is a concern, particularly given we know that housing remains a priority for Londoners.

“Our research shows an additional £8.6bn of investment must be unlocked if we’re to meet the London Plan target of building 66,000 new homes a year. As well as getting the funding in place, we also need to persuade Londoners that new housing will benefit the places they live in.

“The London Planning Awards exists in order to celebrate standout development schemes that make a positive impact on their surroundings and to local communities. Agar Grove Estate is a deserved winner because it acts as a vision for what the future of inner-city regeneration looks like, and is a first-class example of how sustainable, community-led housing projects can further enrich our city”.

Agar Grove Estate is Camden Council’s largest community project which, when fully completed, will provide 500 new homes for existing and new residents. Camden Courtyards – which provides 164 new homes with 50 per cent affordable housing – won the award for the best new place to live in the capital.

The new housing developments, both within the London Borough of Camden, received three out of the eight awards on offer, with Agar Grove Estate also recognised for sustainability and environmental planning.

Deputy Mayor for Planning, Regeneration and Skills, Jules Pipe, said: “The Agar Grove Estate is a great example of how estate regeneration should be done: helping existing residents play an active role in shaping the future of their neighbourhood and ensuring the development works both for them and for future residents.

“This poll shows the importance of all corners of London getting involved and helping to tackle the capital’s housing crisis and underlines the Mayor’s view that central Government must give London greater freedom and resources to build more of the homes the city so urgently needs.”
Craig McWilliam, CEO, Grosvenor Britain & Ireland, said: “These results highlight a bigger issue at play – that people do not trust in the planning process – and see little personal benefit in greater numbers of homes in their area.

“The housing shortage is not ‘someone else’s’ problem. If we don’t tackle it together then London’s success and ability to attract and retain talent will be threatened. Both local leaders and developers must do more to create places with communities that people want to, and are proud to, live in.”

The London Planning Awards, now in its 16th year, celebrates standout planning and development projects from the last 12 months. It is organised by London First, London’s leading business group, in partnership with the Mayor of London, London Councils, the Planning Officers Society London, and the Royal Town Planning Institute.

This year’s shortlist showcased a diverse range of entries, from large-scale living and working spaces, through to small and innovative infill projects, including London Wall Place, the South London Gallery Fire Station, and Westbourne Park Baptist Church.

The award for best new workspace went to No 1 New Oxford Street, the stunning new Art Deco development that straddles Covent Garden and Bloomsbury, providing over 95,000 square feet of office accommodation. Television Centre, the renovated former BBC media headquarters which provides a combination of homes, and office and retail space, was awarded the gong for best mixed-use scheme.

A full list of winners can be seen below. Commenting on their success:

Cllr Darren Rodwell, London Councils’ Executive Member for Housing & Planning, said: “London faces a worsening homelessness crisis. With 55,000 London households living in temporary accommodation, it’s essential that we build more homes.

“But it’s also crucial that development is high quality, environmentally sustainable, and wins the support of the local community. This is why we’re proud to be part of the London Planning Awards – celebrating the outstanding development projects that are so important to meeting London’s housing needs.”

John Walker, Secretary of the Planning Officers Society London, said:
“This year saw the strongest set of entries since the London Planning Awards started. It was difficult for the judges to compile a shortlist for each category given the quality of submissions and the winners can take great pride in knowing they have beaten off tremendous competition”.
RTPI President Ian Tant MRTPI said: “Many congratulations to the planners involved in all these projects who are helping to create such exciting places to live, work, explore and connect with nature across the capital. From Camden to Tolworth and from the West End to Walthamstow, these innovative projects demonstrate how London’s planners are using their passion and skills to do exactly what planners should be doing – creatively solving the capital’s important spatial issues for the benefit of society, our communities, the economy and the environment.”

The winners of the 2019 London Planning Awards are:

Best New Place to Live – sponsored by Anthology

1. Winner – Camden Courtyards
2. Highly Commended – Kidbrooke Village

Best New Workspace – sponsored by Battersea Power Station Development Company

1. Winner – No 1 New Oxford Street
2. Highly Commended – Republic (Docklands)

Best Mixed-Use Scheme – sponsored by Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP

1. Winner – Television Centre

The Heritage & Culture Award – sponsored by Hogan Lovells

1. Winner – Walthamstow Wetlands
2. Highly Commended – South London Gallery Fire Station

The Mayor’s Award for Sustainable and Environmental Planning – sponsored by Terence O’Rourke

1. Winner – Agar Grove Estate
2. Highly Commended – White Collar Factory

The Award for Community Engagement in the Planning Process – sponsored by Landsec

1. Winner – SHEDx – Growing Ideas in Tolworth
2. Highly Commended – Norwood Co-operative Local Investment Plan

Borough-led Projects Award – sponsored by Mount Anvil

1. Winner – Colville Estate Regeneration

The Mayor’s Award for Good Growth

1. Winner – Agar Grove Estate