Several different strategies are being employed to increase the number of new homes being created in London. One that is dividing some opinion is to develop on land owned by transport operators. In particular over-station developments are proving to elicit strong responses on both sides.
For many the idea of developing above stations is wise. After-all these are the locations where people want to live so they have easy access to the transport links. The projects can create new housing, commercial developments, and also help to connect communities that may be separated due to the infrastructure.
In many countries above station developments are very common. Hong Kong is a destination where you can see just how well these projects can do. MTR Corporation has a very successful and profitable approach. They focus on self sustainability and deliver big benefits for the government and passengers on the railway network.
One of the problems with adopting this model across London is that many of the stations in the capital are protected. For example more than 70 have listed status because of their architecture or history. On top of this another 50 are situated in conservation areas where developments are limited. Even those stations specifically designed for development can see opposition due to designs and other factors.
A good example of the current argument is Southwark Station. Plans are in place to build above it, creating a 30 storey tower with 300 homes and new commercial spaces. The project has a lot of backing but the opposition claim the heritage of the station should be preserved and that the tall tower would be out of scale with the area.
This is not the only planned above station development that has been opposed. Projects at South Kensington and Clapham Junction also split opinion. With the Government pushing for developments and demand for space and housing continuing to rise, it is likely that more plans in this vein will be created.
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