IDEAS ABOVE YOUR STA­TION

There are op­por­tu­ni­ties to use valu­able space above and around Lon­don’s 559 rail­way and Tube sta­tions for thou­sands of new homes, re­ports Emily Wright

Evening Standard - West End Final Extra - ES Homes and Property - - New Homes -

LO­CA­TION, lo­ca­tion, lo­ca­tion is all very well — but it’s noth­ing with­out in­fra­struc­ture, in­fra­struc­ture, in­fra­struc­ture. The value of the places in which we choose to live is in­trin­si­cally linked to how easy it is to get to and from our desired lo­ca­tion. For this rea­son, the case for build­ing new homes at or around Lon­don’s 559 rail­way and Tube sta­tions is pretty clear.

The cap­i­tal faces a short­age of land for de­vel­op­ment and in­creas­ing den­sity around some of its ma­jor trans­port hubs would seem a clever way to ad­dress this is­sue. Not least be­cause this new stock would be, by de­fault, un­der­pinned by a prime po­si­tion along some of the city’s busiest trans­port net­works.

The process has al­ready be­gun with new-build homes at Lon­don sta­tions un­der­go­ing ma­jor re­fur­bish­ment. At King’s Cross no fewer than four res­i­den­tial schemes have been suc­cess­fully de­signed to en­hance the re­de­vel­ope­ment of the sta­tion, in­clud­ing the im­pres­sive ar­chi­tec­tural in­te­gra­tion of his­toric gash­old­ers as new homes.

Prices at the strik­ing, canal­side 145apart­ment Gash­old­ers Lon­don scheme start at about £900,000 for a one-bed­room flat, ris­ing to £1 mil­lion for a one-bed­room pent­house over- look­ing Re­gent’s Canal. Also at King’s Cross, prices at The Plim­soll Build­ing, a 13- storey tower in Gra­nary Square that in­cludes a fit­ness suite, pri­vate din­ing fa­cil­i­ties and a rooftop win­ter gar­den, start at about £595,000 for a stu­dio but a two-bed­room flat will set you back £1.3 mil­lion.

In Vaux­hall, a one-bed­room flat at The Du­mont — a project be­ing de­liv­ered by the St James de­vel­op­ment arm of Berke­ley Homes — starts from £655,000. It is ex­pected that homes could be priced at a more af­ford­able level around sub­ur­ban sta­tions.

TOP-VALUE LON­DON LAND

So why has there been any re­sis­tance at all to build­ing at sta­tions? The sim­ple an­swer is be­cause the process can be rather prob­lem­atic. From high costs to com­pli­cated lo­gis­tics and public re­sis­tance to dis­rup­tion of sta­tion ser­vices, above- sta­tion de­vel­op­ment is not straight­for­ward. How­ever, a new report pub­lished this month by the Cen­tre for Lon­don think tank ar­gues that such chal­lenges should not stand in the way of un­lock­ing some of the cap­i­tal’s most valu­able land. The report — Ideas above your sta­tion: ex­plor­ing the po­ten­tial for de­vel­op­ment at Lon­don’s sta­tions — high­lights how the ac­tion of in­creas­ing den­sity around these hubs with new homes, of­fices and shops will not only al­low the cre­ation of new civic cen­tres with good ar­chi­tec­ture, but will also re­lease fi­nanc­ing to de­velop the sta­tions them­selves, to en­sure that Lon­don has “a world-class trans­port in­fra­struc­ture in the 21st cen­tury to re­main glob­ally com­pet­i­tive”.

So how could the cap­i­tal ben­e­fit from such tar­geted de­vel­op­ment around ex­ist­ing and fu­ture trans­port hubs? How can the chal­lenges be over­come — and just how re­al­is­tic is Cen­tre for Lon­don’s call for this new “Lon­don Plan”, un­der which higher min­i­mum den­sity stan­dards would ap­ply?

PLACE MAK­ING FOR TO­DAY

Lon­don’s rail­way sta­tions have changed very lit­tle since they were first built, mean­ing there is plenty of un­tapped po­ten­tial. Trans­port for Lon­don and Net­work Rail are among the largest landown­ers in the city. The for­mer es­ti­mates that the con­struc­tion of 10,000 homes can start on its land hold­ings by 2021, while the lat­ter plans to re­lease land with ca­pac­ity for around 5,000 homes in the cap­i­tal by 2020.

Richard Brown, re­search di­rec­tor for the Cen­tre for Lon­don, says the pro­posal is not about stick­ing a res­i­den­tial tower on top of a sta­tion here or a shop­ping cen­tre there. Rather, it’s about plan­ning some­thing with true value that can stitch the sta­tion into the ex­ist­ing ur­ban fab­ric: “This is get­ting an­other chance at place mak­ing.” He points to suc­cess­ful projects at Broadgate Circus at Liver­pool Street sta­tion

From £865,000: One Crown Place is a 33-storey tower with 246 one- to three­bed­room flats, plus of­fices and a hotel in a con­verted row of Ge­or­gian houses bor­der­ing Sun Street, Earl Street and Crown Place next to Liver­pool Steet sta­tion in the City (020...

Com­mu­nity with con­nec­tiv­ity: the area around King’s Cross sta­tion has been trans­formed with pop­u­lar open public spa­ces and new homes

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