My apologies for the rather impersonal emails in last month’s mail out; this was down to a small bout of incompetence here at Lfw Towers.
London is experiencing a major building boom, dominated by residential property, though in the last six months there has also been an 18% increase in office construction – mainly in the West End and City.
I am showing slightly less photos than normal this month, both because I am not sure everybody shares my love of gawping at building sites, and also I have taken photos from
– Albert Embankment
– Canary Wharf
– Greenwich Peninsular
– Nine Elms
– South Bank
and that’s quite enough traipsing about for one month.
Some of the areas – notably Nine Elms and Greenwich Peninsular are set to produce very large amounts of residential. Greenwich Peninsular is now the largest housing development in the UK – with a planned 15,000 residences. It will take up to ten years to complete.
Unfortunately, all too much of the residential developments taking place in London are not set to be for ‘ordinary’ Londoners. The asking prices of the developing skyscraper I have taken on the South Bank at One Blackfriars start at £2.3M, and there are far too many of the residential developments that are like this – way out of the bracket of even quite high earning people. Such places can only be bought by very rich (often overseas) buyers and present a danger that large areas of central London will become “no-go” areas for all but very rich people. There is also another danger that too many of such expensive properties are being built for what the (downturning) markets of countries like China can buy and they will end up empty ghost buildings.
The Government needs to consider the housing situation – the Housing Crisis as many commentators describe it – much more seriously than they do and some sort of national body should surely be set up to ‘police’ the market in a way that is similar to those bodies that monitor and police the financial markets. The market on its own will not solve the housing crisis in which, as a recent House of Commons Library Report has found, couples in London need a joint income of £100k and a £96K deposit to buy one of the Government’s proposed new starter homes. The recent Autumn Statement has placed much emphasis on Housing – but it is yet too soon to be able to understand if the Statement will make a major contribution to the issue.
Going back to my photographs, those that are residential (the majority of my photos) are built with reinforced concrete frames, whereas those for office are steel frameworks. In the City there are quite a number of schemes that were stalled by the recession but which are now once more fully underway – so the City is about to undergo some further major changes over the next three years or so. With both the residential developments and those that are offices, London is changing quite significantly into a high rise city. Some – like me – like that – some do not – but I think it is now both set to happen and inevitable.
On a different matter: When talking to people about my blog and photos, I often get given suggestions for areas of London to visit and photograph. Thank you for these – do keep the suggestions coming.