Tony Laws of Clearview Homes used a meeting with Richard Blakeway, Deputy Mayor of London at MIPIM to press home the arguments for a more positive follow up of the Mayor’s promises to help smaller developers and house builders.
In 2014 when Boris opened the London Pavilion at MIPIM, he was there to lobby key investors and developers to help him double house building and to fund major regeneration projects around the capital.
However, as Tony observed at this year’s MIPIM, at what was probably the most significant panel event, “Delivering Homes for London” the main topic was still the vast shortfall in new homes for London. Deputy Mayor, Richard Blakeway and other panellists highlighted the targeted need of 42,000-49,000 home per year, depending on which survey you read.
This almost seemed irrelevant, with current building estimated at just 20,000 new homes annually, and London’s population set to grow by about a further 1,000,000 over the next decade.
One of the most controversial suggestions by the deputy Mayor was the need for smaller developers and house builders, many having vanished during the recession, to contribute again to London’s growth. An additional need was the adoption of cutting edge construction techniques that enabled shorter construction times.
In the Q&A session, Tony Laws of Clearview Homes engaged with Mr Blakeway and the rest of the panel over the lack of practical encouragement for the smaller house builder to break back in to the London region.
The Deputy Mayor responded with “the current easing of section 106 contributions” as a positive move in the right direction. However, Tony Laws was at pains to point out that not only was this already highly controversial and a political “hot potato” it would become a lever for vendors to demand higher land prices. He went on to stress his feelings about the need to overhaul “the stultifying effect of a planning system which is unwieldy at the least, often inconsistent, if not whimsical”.
He said: “This is where real help was needed especially with planning expenditure for a 100 unit development running to in excess of £200,000”.
Clearview Homes also pointed out that they are one of the UK’s leading exponents of cellular block Thin Mortar Technology, to which they have contributed with their own R & D, resulting in a 12.5% reduction in superstructure construction schedules.
Having ridden out the recession with a decade of unbroken presence at MIPIM, Hillingdon based Clearview Homes say they have been the only “small” developer to actively participate on a regular basis.
Clearview Homes are currently building homes on the canal at “West Drayton Waterside,” Greenford and Kensal Rise.