Record number of towers to be built in London, over 90% residential
Over 500 tall building are in the pipeline to be built in London with a record 115 under construction at a time when there is a lot of argument about the city’s changing skyline.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan is known to support high buildings as long as they don’t dramatically change the skyline and has talked about the place they have in providing much needed homes.
The fifth annual London tall buildings survey from New London Architecture reveals that a record 510 towers are in the pipeline of which over 90%, some 458, are residential and have the potential to deliver 106,000 new homes.
Working with property planning and advice specialists GL Hearn, the study provides the only comprehensive analysis of all tall buildings, over 20 storeys, which are proposed, in planning or under construction in London.
Since the first report in 2014 some 122 tall buildings have been completed and a further 96 are expected to be complete over the next two years.
The report suggests that the growth of the Build to Rent sector is boosting the number of higher buildings. Some 30% of the proposed schemes in 2017 were Build to Rent compared with none in 2013.
However the number of applications for taller buildings is falling, down 10% from 2016 and down 35% compared with 2015 and the study says this could be due to a higher level of scrutiny from the Mayor and also the effect of Brexit and economic uncertainty.
The demands on construction have also played a role on the decline and the survey indicates that delivering towers has become more challenging with only 18 tall buildings completed in 2017, down 30%from 2016 when 26 were completed. There was also a 25% fall in the number of tall buildings coming out of the ground with work only starting on 40 in 2017.
The study also shows that almost a third of the entire pipeline is in Outer London, in zones 3, 4 and 5, particularly in Opportunity Areas and around transport connections, which are considered suitable locations for tall buildings in principal. This includes places like Croydon where the world’s tallest modular tower is coming forward.
Bromley and Waltham Forest have tall buildings in the pipeline for the first time. Only seven boroughs; Bexley, Enfield, Havering, Hillingdon, Merton, Kensington and Chelsea, and Richmond have no towers.
But New London Architecture expects this will change. It predicts that locations like Bexley Riverside, Meridian Water in Enfield, Hayes in Hillingdon, Kensal Rise in Kensington and Chelsea and Mordon in Merton are likely to see some tall buildings proposed in the future.
It points out that the Elizabeth Line, due to fully open from December 2019, will also act as a catalyst in the future bringing forward development along its route, especially in outer boroughs such as Ealing, Redbridge and Newham.
‘We continue to see a steady increase in the number of tall buildings coming forward and with London’s population continuing to increase and the demand for new homes only getting higher, our view remains that that well-designed tall buildings, in the right place, are part of the solution,’ said Peter Murray, chairman of New London Architecture.
‘Uncertainties and challenges to deliver these tall buildings remain, which is perhaps why we are seeing a slight slowdown in the in the number of applications, construction starts and completions. However our reports over the past five years show us in the right places, towers allow us to use the finite resource of land very efficiently,’ he added.
Stuart Baillie of GL Hearn, pointed out that while there is a notable slowdown in the volume of new tall buildings entering the pipeline compared to the high of 2016, the rate is actually increasing in the boroughs of Southwark, Newham, Hammersmith and Fulham and Croydon.
‘Inner London remains the focus for the majority of tall building but Waltham Forest and Bromley feature in the pipeline for the first time. It is clear from the report findings that tall buildings make a substantial contribution towards realising London’s housing targets and in those boroughs where there are multiple tall buildings in the pipeline, this is a significant contribution towards borough housing need,’ he said.