No matter the outcome of Brexit, I firmly believe that London will remain and build on its status as a world class city. To reinforce this view there are multiple new and exciting projects underway and more in the planning stages. The projects highlighted below are just some that I think will alter the London skyline, change the way people move around the city and create new hubs of activity in previously unloved parts of the capital. The existence of these projects does not indicate a city lacking in appeal but rather a city that is meeting an increasing demand that isn’t expected to wane once the UK has left the EU. I hope you, like me, will enjoy imaging how London might look in 2025 and beyond as these exciting projects come to fruition.
London’s skyline, constantly changing, is due for two major new additions. First, due in 2021, One Lansdowne Road will tower above Croydon with two towers of 68 and 41 storeys and will contain 800 new homes, 35,000 sq m of office space, a cinema, restaurants and a shop.
Then by 2025 The Undershaft will become the UK’s second tallest building behind The Shard at 295m high. It will be The City’s tallest building with 90,000 sq m of office space and be raised 10.5m above ground to create a large public space underneath. At the top there will be a free public viewing platform.
TfL and National Rail seem to be constantly announcing small upgrades to their networks, but few are as anticipated as The Elizabeth Line or as transformative as HS2, however controversial it may be.
The Elizabeth Line is due to begin service next year in 2020 and brings with it significant benefits. Not only will it speed up travel in the major commercial and business districts and of course reduce travel time to and from Heathrow, but over 4.4 million sq ft of commercial office and retail space is expected along the route. Since the project was announced property values within 1km of a station are also expected to have increased by £10.6 billion.
As for transport to and from London, while the next phase is awaiting approval, HS2 will directly connect 8 of Britain’s 10 largest cities serving almost half the UK population and significantly reducing the travel time between London and the West Midlands/the North. While the project has garnered a huge amount of criticism due to its cost, I would say it is likely to be completed rather than scrapped. It will carry more than 2 million people a week and those in support of it feel strongly that the economic benefits it will bring to the UK economy will far outstrip the final cost of it.
While improved public transport should enable more people to travel into and around the capital there are also plans to further discourage private vehicles in London and keep up with the move towards electric vehicles. It’s expected that the number of electric cars in London will rise exponentially in the next few years and to meet the demand the Mayor, Sadiq Khan, wants to install 50,000 public charge points by 2025. With only 2,100 charge points in the capital today this represents an increase of over 2,300%. This will go some way towards the Mayor’s target for central London to be a zero-emission zone from 2025 and the entire of London to be a zero-emission zone by 2050. So perhaps not in five years, but in 20 we might see a much cleaner, less polluted London.
Pedestrians and cyclists too will enjoy the planned New Thames Bridge expected to begin construction in 2022. Connecting Nine Elms and Pimlico the feasibility study found the project would pay for itself twice over in terms of reduced journey times and other benefits. While there are already 33 bridges crossing the Thames this one will fill a gap in the longest stretch without a crossing point. It will also provide yet another incentive for living and working in the newly regenerated Nine Elms area of Battersea Power Station and Embassy Gardens.
Old Kent Road is currently undergoing major regeneration that will see 20,000 new homes, 10,000 new jobs, and a 40-storey tower. The area has been rather overlooked in terms of investment for many years but TfL are also planning an extension of the Bakerloo Line to three new stations in the area so we could see it become a new south London hub for shopping, living and working.
It won’t have escaped anyone’s notice that the Kings Cross area has undergone major development over the last few years and it will be topped off with the new Google headquarters currently under construction. There’s no current completion date but at 330m in length and 11 storeys high it will house 4,500 employees.
Another ambitious project, the development of the iconic Battersea Power Station and surrounding area is due for completion by 2025 having started around 15 years ago. Close to the newly completed Embassy Gardens I expect this area south of the river to grow increasingly popular, not least because Apple is due to move its London headquarters there and the Northern Line extension to the area is almost finished. The project has seen lots of international interest including from investors in the Gulf who are drawn to the investment potential and its proximity to Knightsbridge.
And finally, Wembley Park, due to open in 2024 is currently the largest single-site purpose built development in the UK. It will have 7,000 new homes, a 7-acre public park, a plaza, a school, a hospital, shops, restaurants and office spaces. The developer, Quintain, is making a big effort to not only bring new homes to the area but also to make it an attractive place to live and work.