Over the past year the number of towers erected in London has increased by over 50 per cent. It is thought by some that a large influx of tall housing developments across the city could threaten its architectural heritage. Developers are rushing to build towers across the area as they are a great way to gain return on investment, but what impact might it have on architecture?
Researchers have been working to answer this question and have taken a look at the towers built in 2014, as well as planned proposals. It was found that towers over twenty storeys have increased by 11 per cent – higher than last year’s record breaking high – and that four out of five of these will be used for residential purposes. Peter Rees, who is the City of London’s planning officer and also a University College London professor, has stated that flats in these towers will be used by many foreign investors as ‘safety deposit boxes’.
While demand for housing and properties in London still remains relatively high, especially when compared to other areas of the UK, figures show that demand has slightly fallen in the past few months. Despite this, the figures have shown that fourteen years’ worth of homes are currently being constructed. As a result of this, there are worries that the over-commoditisation of properties will create ‘ghost communities’.
The conservation group English Heritage have criticised the London high-rise building craze. Last year, the organisation stated that developers were far too complacent in building tall buildings without thinking about the impact it may have on the city’s skyline and architecture. There is a worry that this, in turn, could affect the tourism market too. To help cater the increasing population, Deputy London mayor Sir Edward Lister has said we need tall buildings that are well designed and sensibly managed.
8.6 million people currently live in London, and in fifteen years the population of the city is predicted to reach over 10m. Currently the mayor’s office is working with councils to determine the best locations for these high rise buildings to prevent over clustering areas. This, paired with various schemes to maintain the architectural integrity of the city, will hopefully help keep demand and the property market at a high, opening up many opportunities for property investment in Hounslow and throughout the whole of London.