As the countdown to May 7’s general election intensifies, London’s place in the overall UK picture – in terms of its finance, devolution, and capacity to pay for what it needs, based on what it raises – will come into sharp relief. But it is also clear that, with the city passing its highest ever population this past quarter, housing and the extent to which the city’s infrastructure can cope will also be key.
In this issue of NLQ we quiz leading built environment thinkers on whether now is the time to reassess the Green Belt and its potential to help cope with some of these challenges. Against a disturbing backdrop of a loss of offices and jobs that has arisen due to the government’s permitted development rights changes, we talk to the City’s planning chiefs Annie Hampson and Gwyn Richards about the Square Mile’s emerging role in the capital and, perhaps, an end to the ‘icon’ building.
Our building review of 5 Broadgate, the Make-designed scheme for British Land and tenant UBS, suggests that there is still, however, a place for those major clients seeking to make an impact with massive City floorplates, whilst still within a viable mixed-use environment. A think tank this quarter delves into the issue permitted development rights and the impact on office space even further; but perhaps using more of London’s rooftops is one answer to restore some of the balance for offices. So suggests Sheppard Robson’s Dan Burr, as he sketches a novel ‘stealth’ office extension in the project preview. Our New Londoner this issue, Savills’ Yolande Barnes, gives her take on research and London’s place in the national and world picture, while opinions in this NLQ range from how we can attend to our housing crisis to the sustainable transformations of existing buildings, to delivering the best possible, new, Old Oak Common.
The succession of governments is one thing; succession within architectural practices quite another, and this is an issue which has plagued many a firm over the decades. Farrells, though, has taken the plunge, moving from being a limited company to an LLP in this, its 50th year. We take a look at the firm and how it has stayed at the top of its game in the feature of the same name. Finally, along with briefing notes covering areas like Midtown and issues such as devolution, placemaking, culture and town centres, there is a look at how modelmaking and the London Stand has shaped MIPIM – the networking and conference-fest on the French Riviera – over the years. Unlike general elections, however, the New London Model – which is now being rebuilt to celebrate NLA’s 10th anniversary year – will at least be an accurate reflection of London’s present and future.
Enjoy the issue.