The construction industry will play a crucial role in a massive project to re-engineer London during the next decade, according to the man charged with reshaping the capital’s suburbs.
Greater London Authority Outer London Commission chairman Will McKee said that five “super-hubs” would be built around existing suburban town centres, requiring billions of pounds worth of infrastructure projects and housing improvements.
The commission was due to convene this week for the second of six meetings aimed at shaping policy for Mayor Boris Johnson’s flagship document The London Plan. A key task is identifying the locations of the proposed super-hubs and making them lightning rods for development.
The locations of the hubs will be finalised within six weeks, according to Mr McKee. And a flood of private cash is expected once the zones were identified and made public, he added.
“The one thing the private sector would like to avoid is site assembly, so we will make sure we show exactly where the sites are coming from,” said the former chairman of the British Property Federation. “We are looking for quick wins for the industry, and we believe this will provide them.”
Mr McKee added that the recommendations would continue to create work for contractors deep into the next decade and beyond. They would be tailored around a series of upcoming public revenue streams, putting the projects in line for public funding, including a slice of the Network Rail budget from 2014 onwards and Transport for London’s 2017 budget, he said.
John Lewis Partnership head of construction, and Outer London Commission member, Nigel Keen added that the longevity of the recommendations, which are designed to remain policy until 2031, meant that contractors would benefit now.
“There will be a degree of certainty about planning priorities rather than a disparate group of plans,” he said.
Stratford in the East, Croydon in the South, Brent Cross in the North and Ealing and the areas around Heathrow in the West have all been earmarked as possible super-hubs. They can expect to become focal points for retro-fitting green technologies in homes and vast new infrastructure projects.
Mr McKee said: “We will also look at what the growth industries are, such as improving the green performance of housing stock, and make recommendations for improvement, which contractors will be key in making happen.”