Lendlease’s European managing director has insisted the firm will learn lessons from its rebuild of Heygate Estate, as it gears up to deliver schemes including the £3.5bn Silvertown Quays and £4bn Euston HS2 regeneration.
In an interview with CN sister title Architects’ Journal, Jonathan Emery said Lendlease would learn from criticism of the group’s demolition and rebuild of London’s Heygate Estate.
Mr Emery dismissed suggestions Lendlease could be seen as a faceless beast, adding: “That is everything we don’t want to be. We aspire to be the complete antithesis of that faceless monster.”
Lendlease was confirmed as development partner on the HS2 Euston project in February, beating Argent and Canary Wharf to the job in an appointment that signalled a major statement of intent from the firm.
It has also taken on the Silvertown Quays scheme and is competing with Morgan Sindall to be the development partner on the £4bn Thamesmead Waterfront Peabody mixed-use project in south London.
However, the firm has come under scrutiny for its community work on the estate regeneration at Heygate Park (now Elephant Park), while its proposed £2bn Haringey Development Vehicle is mired in political uncertainty.
Mr Emery said: “[Estate regeneration] is scrutinised heavily and for the right reasons. It is always difficult for people to be moved out of their homes. Genuinely it is a very traumatic notion.
“But more and better housing in London is desperately needed and actually doing it requires a degree of disruption. Everyone works together to try to minimise that and agree on the parameters of that.”
He added: “The industry needs to ask itself the right questions about whether we are doing enough and how we do more. Every time we do one [estate regeneration], we all learn.”
The MD pointed out that the role of engaging with the community at Elephant Park rested with the local authority.
He said: “Lendlease’s role was to build the new Elephant and Castle in accordance and within the agreed parameters, which we’ve done. Yet the lines blur between the developers and local authorities [when it comes to] engaging with communities.”
Speaking about the Euston development, he said the scheme would need to “knit into the communities [around it]”.