Several large-scale, re-development schemes in London have been held up due to indecision on the part of the various interested parties and stakeholders who are deterred by the changing socio-political and economic landscapes predicted this winter.
Differing factions often disagree over the way forward with large scale developments. Political will and financial pressures, however, usually result in an agreed outcome, one way or another.
Perhaps the largest present-day example of this is the redevelopment of Earl’s Court. The site is surrounded by three tube stations and an overland station, and comprises land in the ownership of Capital and Counties, the Kwok family, Transport for London (which means the Mayor of London has ultimate control) and council estates in the local authority’s (LA) ownership.
The local authorities have already entered into land sale agreements, but retain significant planning influence. Planning permissions have already been granted, however, pressure is on for these to be altered. Some 7,500 homes are due to be built, yet only around 11% of them have been earmarked for ‘affordable housing’. The new Mayor, Sadiq Khan, believes that 50% is more appropriate. The residents of the LA estates, in the main, do not want their homes knocked down and replaced. Talks have indicated that up to 10,000 homes could be built on the site, including in-filling rather than reconstruction of existing LA estates.
The existing planning permissions granted in 2013 were agreed under Tory Mayor, Boris Johnson, two conservative Local Authorities, and at a time when demand for London flats was booming. Now there is a Labour Mayor, one Labour controlled Local Authority (Hammersmith and Fulham) and the market for apartments in London has cooled considerably. Add to that the uncertainty felt in London, to a greater extent than elsewhere, post Brexit and it is understandable why the capital markets company, Capco’s share price has dropped by a third since the start of 2016.
The old Earl’s Court Exhibition centre is currently in the process of being demolished. As yet, however, it is suspected that no one – including the developers – knows what will be constructed on, what is currently, one of the most significant development sites in London.