We're ready to build new homes for London… with an open debate about the choices and trade-offs of development


I wanted to share the announcement we made today in submitting amended proposals to the Mayor for 1,500 new rental homes in Bermondsey. It can be found here.

 

I've talked publicly about the poor-quality, binary debate about housing. I've pointed to our research showing only 2% of the public trust private developers, and only 7% trust local authorities, to act in their best interests when it comes to large-scale development. And I've argued the public and private sector will need to change to grow the quality of the conversation and rebuild trust.

 

As a business we accept we have been part of the problem, but we want, with others, to create solutions. Earlier this year we made some commitments to change, starting in the coming months.

 

And throughout, we want to be clear and upfront. Our first planning application for new homes in Bermondsey was not good enough. We acted in good faith but it failed to meet the council's expectations.

 

The Mayor 'called in' our proposals, and we are stepping up to his challenge to offer more homes, and more affordable homes.

 

Of course there is no single solution to the housing shortage and the complexity makes simple, assertions attractive. So bold public sector leadership is needed with a clear vision for growth, an honest discussion of the choices and trade-offs inherent in it, and the private sector investment at scale needed to secure our cities' success.

 

Our amended proposals are designed for more affordable homes – c.342 discounted homes and c.140 homes at social rent – but they come with competing choices.

 

New homes, and new affordable homes, would be delivered by creating taller buildings, with one to seven storeys added on some buildings, either at the heart of the site or by the railway line.

 

Public trust in developers and the planning system depends on public and private sector leaders explaining these choices and trade-offs – for example, how to judge the benefits of affordable homes for many, with taller buildings that won’t be welcomed by some.

 

So we are openly explaining our amended proposals, and the way in which they meet the Mayor’s 35% affordable housing policy, delivering c.482 affordable homes. We have a long-term commitment to Bermondsey and to London and want to see that commitment through with new homes in a fantastic, mixed new neighbourhood open to all.

 

Craig McWilliam

Chief Executive Officer

Grosvenor Britain & Ireland

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