Belgrave host breakfast with Cllr Hayward
On November 24th Belgrave hosted a breakfast briefing at The Guildhall. Cllr Christopher Hayward gave a speech exploring planning and growth in The City of London after Brexit. Below is a summary of his key messages.
On Brexit and the changing business landscape.
Whilst it is too early to predict what the exact impact of Brexit will be, the vote to leave will inevitably impact on the way that business is conducted. Uncertainty rarely bodes well for investors, developers and occupiers. Yet as the financial hub of the UK it is essential that The City is alive to these events. There will inevitably be some relocation to Europe and the loss of some jobs - yet there is a growing consensus that this will only be at the margins and will not challenge Londons role as a world leader in finance and business.
It is important to note that there is a change in the type of businesses that operate in The City. Companies such as Bloomberg, Sky Scanner and Deliveroo mark a shift from its traditional business landscape. This should be seen as a positive and should be promoted as the vote to leave will not impact these type of businesses as it will the financial institutions.
Growth in The City is strong
Despite the vote to leave The City is still "open for business" and remains more attractive than many of its European counterparts with a attractive tax system. There have been no let up in planning applications since the vote - in fact there are currently around 9 million sqft of schemes under construction in The City with almost half of them pre-let. There are still significant opportunities for tall buildings in eastern cluster of The City to be created by world class architects. An application for worlds tallest building ‘the shaft’ going in to committee next week (week beginning 28th November) and the amended 22 Bishopgate scheme is also significant. The two applications combined will deliver 3.5 million sqft of office and retail space.
There is also a push to refurbish buildings - two particularly significant schemes that are about to emerge is the new Four Seasons and the Lutyans Midlands Bank headquarters which are opening up to public as a hotel. Furthermore there are indications that many schemes with planning permission will come forward - it is welcome news that British land are going to bring forward 100 Liverpool street which will provide more retail and better access around one of the key cross rail station
So whilst The City is in a strong position moving forward it cannot become complacent. To remain an attractive place to do business post-Brexit it is vital that future applications are built in a timely fashion once they receive consent.
Key considerations moving forward
- The public realm
The impact of cross rail on The City should not be underestimated in terms of the movement of people and productivity. In order to sustain this level of growth The City must work on improving its public realm. The City is already putting measures in place some of these are as follows;
- A major new square is being created Aldgate
- Looking at pedestrian movement at Bank Junction - an experimental scheme is set to go ahead which will see the junction closed to motorists but not busses. The long-term vision for this area is for it to become a pedestrianised 'piazza'
- The City is considering the use of consolidation centres in order to help to ease traffic congestion
- Office Space
Whilst The City already delivers 9 million sqm of office stock for it's 400,000 workers that figure is projected to grow to 500,000 by 2030, meaning that there is pressure to provide further office space.
It is important that The City of London is a cultural attraction as well as.a business one. There has already been progress made to this end, such as;
- A commitment on all tall buildings to provide inclusive public access to the top levels of the building via sky gardens and viewing galleries
- Ensuring that many of The City's 600 listed buildings are fit for purpose through refurbishment to provide office space
Moving forward developing culture in The City must be further prioritised.
Growth and development looks positive. There are certainly challenges to The City post-Brexit but despite this, there are opportunities for those who are prepared to think creatively and take a long term view of The City's growth.