Argent Related together with Barnet Council has announced its vision for the new £5bn, 180-acre neighbourhood, Brent Cross Town.
The developer says Brent Cross Town will be a new “park town” for London and will establish a new standard for large-scale urban regeneration. The scheme will turn the area into an inclusive, accessible town centre that “will evolve to support the changing demands of modern life in a post-Covid world”. It also aims to contribute to London’s green economic recovery with sustainability, health & wellbeing and a powerful sense of neighbourliness at its core.
Previously known as Brent Cross South, the new development incorporates 50 acres of parks and playing fields which are central to the attraction for people to live, work and visit. Brent Cross Town will deliver 6,700 new homes for sale and for rent and will be a major new office destination. With 3m sq ft of office space, it will create a business ecosystem for 25,000 employees, offering purpose, flexibility and competitive advantage to like-minded organisations, from a broad spectrum of sectors, to come together in one amazing location.
Brent Cross Town will be a new hub in the capital for state-of-the-art sports and leisure facilities. Restaurants, retail including local amenities and services, leisure, culture and events will add to the vibrancy of the area. It will also meet the needs of students with student accommodation and the redevelopment of three local schools. The town centre will connect to King’s Cross in 12 minutes via the new Brent Cross West station, which will be completed by end of 2022.
Argent Related is making a number of pledges for Brent Cross Town – on sport and play, net zero, and on strengthening connections. Brent Cross Town is in an enviable location – 12 minutes to Central London, immediate access to the M1 and 5 major airports within one hour. Locally, new pedestrian and cycle routes will integrate Brent Cross Town with its surrounding communities.
With seismic societal shifts underway, as a people-led developer, Argent Related commissioned Copa, an insights agency, to conduct independent research with industry experts and 3,000 UK residents to help ensure it continually responds to its customer’s needs. The ‘Parks, Proximity and People: A Flourishing Future for Towns’ research identified four consumer and business trends:
The first trend is the desire for the 15-Minute Town. Based on the principle that the places you work, shop, play and learn should all be within 15-minutes from where you live, the 15-Minute Town is rapidly gaining traction in places as different as Paris and Bradford. A desire to live life more locally, engage more with our diverse communities and reduce travel, has been hugely accelerated by the pandemic, prior to which over 80% of UK residents were travelling more than 15 minutes for work, hobbies and socializing. Significantly longer in London.
A taste of hyperlocal life has given people the appetite for more, with close to 60% of people agreeing that lockdown has enhanced their love of their immediate area. Nearly 70% of people found the idea of a 15-Minute Town appealing with the top two reasons being to reduce their environmental impact and to support local businesses. The top five amenities people wanted in their 15-Minute Town are: a supermarket; transport connections; natural green space; parks and restaurants.
The second trend is the Desire to Flourish. Social inequalities magnified under the pandemic brought out people’s altruistic side. 60% of UK residents were worried about their own health, yet 80% were concerned for the society as a whole. 80% of respondents agreed that where you live is vital to your health and wellbeing and 72% think that new towns should be built with a view to helping their inhabitants to flourish.
Re-thinking Work and Place is the third trend. Although people’s experience of working from home has largely been positive, they have faced significant challenges and have missed the office for its social aspects: they have missed their colleagues. It is predicted that the new hybrid will be home, office and the third space, with the role of the office being primarily to drive collaboration, innovation and people development. While 71% of people want to see more homeworking in the future, 52% have missed going to the office and are looking forward to returning and 63% of people want to live closer to work.
The last trend is 360-degree Environmental Lives. 75% of people believe climate change is real (8% do not agree). As a result, people want and expect change in corporate behaviour. The research showed 70% of people want the companies and organisations that look after local amenities to support them in leading more environmentally friendly lives.
Nick Searl, Partner of Argent Related and Joint-Lead for Brent Cross Town, says, “After several years of careful thought and planning it’s a real privilege to set out our vision for Brent Cross Town, a park town that will support the future of London. We will demand the highest commitments to health and wellbeing, sustainability and ensuring flourishing and connected communities – which will be measured with our pioneering Flourishing Index. With so many aspects of our society undergoing change, we will strive to ensure that Brent Cross Town meets the evolving needs of people, business and the environment.”
Ken Wong, COO and Director of International Development, Related, said, “By combining our global development experience and local insights, Argent Related will set new standards of urban regeneration on this scale. We are establishing an ambition for a thriving new town centre that will both inspire and pioneer future ways of living and working and, importantly, one that will stand the test of time and the market’s cycles.”
Councillor Daniel Thomas, Leader of Barnet Council, said “In partnership with Argent Related we are creating a new town for Barnet. Connected by the new Brent Cross West Station and with an ambition to create 25,000 jobs, excellent schools, and world-class facilities, Brent Cross Town will ensure our new and existing communities thrive. The protection and enhancement of acres of existing green space provides the unique opportunity to create an area that has health, wellbeing and sustainability at the heart of its design. Brent Cross Town is the most ambitious development project the borough has ever seen, and it comes at a time where the coronavirus has changed the way we think, feel and what we want from the place we call home; we have a once in a lifetime opportunity to respond to changing needs and attitudes and build a place that is truly fit for the future.”
Early enabling infrastructure works for Brent Cross Town began in 2020. It is anticipated that the first phase of homes and offices will be occupied from 2024.