Capital West London led a West London delegation to EXPO REAL, the leading European property investment conference and trade show aiming to showcase the opportunities in the sub-region to the international investors there.
The session “Capital West London: Opportunity Sites and the West London Orbital” featured Luke Ward, Head of Growth, Employment and Skills, West London Alliance; Ian Liddell, Managing Director UK Planning and Advisory, WSP; Neil Brigden, Director for FDI, London & Partners; and Katharine Glass, Director, Capital West London; and was chaired by Alex Irwin-Hunt, Global Investment Reporter, fDi Magazine.
The panel discussed West London, placed as it is between Heathrow and the City of London, and boasting the second largest economy in the UK (£73bn). The sub-region is home to over 120,000 businesses including a vast array of major global brands. But, West London is set to become still more attractive with the delivery of several new key infrastructure routes, including Crossrail, HS2, the Heathrow Southern Rail Extension, Thameslink extensions and the West London Orbital. These schemes will unlock significant investment and development opportunities.
As well as generally promoting the West London subregion: highlighting its strengths, showcasing regeneration schemes in progress, and raising awareness of opportunities for potential investors, developers, partners and stakeholders. The session aimed to raise the profile of the West London Orbital rail scheme in particular and the opportunities it will bring for investment and development.
Luke Ward kicked off by talking about West London – the best connected place in the world – and its burgeoning £73bn economy. Neil Brigden then outlined the continuing attractiveness of London to international investors. West London has, of course, a number of significant and attractive opportunities like Old Oak, the Golden Mile, Brent Cross South and the UK’s largest One Public Estate programme.
On the West London Orbital, Luke talked about the 500 sites, 23000 new jobs, and over 20,000 homes that could result from the investment in the line. “These are real, investable propositions”, he said. “We want to have conversations to see how we can work together in a spirit of partnership to bring forward what you could describe as a series of new towns and villages around West London.”
Ian Liddell talked about his experience in the sub-region, he has worked on a number of major projects, and is currently involved in the station design for Old Oak. Ian praised the West London Alliance for the way it has got the local authorities together, and presenting a coherent, unified vision that the private sector can help deliver.
Neil Brigden described the West London Orbital as a “super exciting opportunity” that he was looking forward to taking out to market, while Ian Liddell described it as “really deliverable”. It’s a project which requires no new track, so in infrastructure terms, it’s exceptional value.
Alex Irwin-Hunt was interested to ask which key sectors were positioned for growth in West London. Neil Brigden said: “We’re seeing investment coming inbeing drawn by the market’s historical and current strengths, so that’s tech, creative industries, business services, and of course life sciences – the presence of Imperial College is a huge draw, and a real strength we can market internationally.”
Sustainability is woven in to the opportunities too. Luke Ward talked about how the West London Orbital could leverage the battery technology development going on in London to help power the trains – it’s a 12 mile line, so this is a practical target. And on Smart Cities, there was some discussion about the money recently secured from the GLA strategic infrastructure pot for digital connectivity improvements across the sub-region.
Ian Liddell talked about a report they are co-producing with London First to illustrate the strength of the build-to-rent market in West London. In the report will be comment on Wembley Park, where developer Quintain made a switch from building for market sale, to build-to-rent, and this has transformed the project’s momentum. Build-to-rent is strong in the sub-region, and there are a number of interesting opportunities to bring developments forward.
To learn more about the West London Orbital, and other opportunities in the sub-region, attend the Capital West London Growth Summit on October 29, 2019.