New London Architecture has launched its findings and recommendations from its WRK/LDN Insight study on work in London. The NLA has called on central government, the Mayor of London and other stakeholders in the capital to act to maintain the capital’s position as a preeminent commercial centre.
As the digital economy continues to expand, new suppliers of workspace are rapidly emerging – from co-working providers to ‘fab labs’, makerspaces, incubators and innovation centres. The insight study concludes that the affordable business space that currently supports these industries is at risk and that London needs new innovative mixed-use models of city planning to support these changes.
Following the UK’s recent decision to leave the European Union, London’s ability to attract
and retain the best global talent has become even more important. As a result, the
availability, affordability and quality of workplaces in the capital is critical. Space for
commercial and industrial uses are under threat as the demand for housing pushes up land
prices, and planning policies currently favour conversion of offices to residential use.
The report concludes London needs a stronger city-wide strategy and leadership
to protect existing commercial and industrial sites, whilst ensuring the sufficient creation of
new workspaces to meet demand.
The report calls upon government, the Mayor of London and public bodies to encourage flexible and adaptable building stock to accommodate varying and changing requirements, and to create a series of super-connected mixed-use hubs around public transport links to
invigorate London’s towns.
It also suggests expanding exemptions to permitted development rights to protect London’s designated industrial and commercial land and spaces, and reviewing London’s use classes to enable a broader mix of uses to co-locate, including making and manufacture alongside residential and commercial uses.
Areas of focus for the study range from protecting London’s industrial land and uses to integrating workspaces with transport infrastructure, as well as exploring how new types of buildings that integrate living, working, making, manufacturing and/or leisure, replicating large-scale mixed use schemes that are increasingly popular in global cities.
Peter Murray, Chairman of New London Architecture, commented: “The ways we work, and the places in which we work, have evolved dramatically over the last decade. This landmark report highlights how the provision and protection of London’s workplaces must evolve to meet the changing demands of contemporary business. As the Mayor considers the contents of his next London Plan, he must ensure that London becomes smarter as a City in its supply of data, in its digital capacity and its ability to adapt with buildings flexible enough to absorb radical new ways of working.”
Alan Holland, Business Unit Director for Greater London at SEGRO, commented: “We
support the NLA’s call for a more joined up approach to London’s future provision of
industrial and logistic space. The WRK/ LDN study resonates with SEGRO’s own independent research, principally in relation to the need to protect London’s supply of light industrial and urban logistics space. Since 2001, 1,305 ha of industrial land has been released to nonindustrial use and this rate of loss is accelerating. Continuing low vacancy rates, together with structural changes in consumer behaviours has led to occupiers seeking to modernise their supply chains, particularly in the area of last mile delivery, and we expect this trend to continue.”
The exhibition, WRK / LDN, is open at NLA in The Building Centre in Bloomsbury tomorrow, until mid-December.