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Placemaking - can London’s new estates learn lessons from its older ‘great estates’?

Housing London: Meeting the Need - A Boodle Hatfield and Kleinwort Benson Property Conference - 14 February 2013

Law firm Boodle Hatfield has today (14 February) called for new legislation to enable the new and emerging residential property estates across London to build and maintain better places to live and work.

The call was made at the Housing London: Meeting the need conference, hosted by Kleinwort Benson and Boodle Hatfield and attended by 200 property industry leaders from across London.

The conference heard that the demand for housing in London is at its highest since the 1930s, is unaffordable and is not being delivered in the numbers needed. Delegates were told that new models for delivering and funding homes to purchase and rent are needed if London is to provide homes for its workforce and remain the economic powerhouse of the UK and the world.

Housing London: Meeting the need heard from speakers including Sir Edward Lister, Chief of Staff and Deputy Mayor of London, Leonhard Fischer, CEO of Kleinwort Benson Group, Tony Pidgley, Chairman of The Berkeley Group, Stafford Lancaster, Investment Director at Delancy and David Montague, CEO of L&Q and Andrew Wilmot-Smith, Partner at Boodle Hatfield.

Andrew Wilmot-Smith said: "Placemaking is a label adopted on most of the sizable London developments - it is, however, about more than delivering just homes; it is about putting in place the structures that protect long term amenity and value."

"Developers, investors, landowners and local authorities are looking to the traditional 'great estates' - for example Grosvenor and Howard de Walden - and realising that their estate projects are successful because they are more than just chunks of real estate. They are communities with a clear brand and lifestyle identity."

Unlike, however, London's great estates that are perhaps unique in that they are owned and controlled by one family or organisation, London's newest estates have more complex and fragmented ownership structures and tenures.

Andrew said: "It is harder for the owners and managers of London's new estates to exert the same level of control within the current legal framework. There are many legal devices, but they are cumbersome to put in place and operate. It is time to simplify the process by which developers can put in place covenants to preserve the character of estates for the future. I suggest a new approach - the estate charter.

"An estate charter would offer a single way of imposing and transmitting obligations and would be enforceable by and for the benefit of the estate. Developers wishing to use such a device would need to create a recognised governing entity and demonstrate a long-term commitment to the estate it has created.

"Such a system could provide developers, occupiers and investors with much greater certainty that the ethos of the area, and hence its long term value, could be perpetuated."

The Housing London: Meeting the Need speakers were:

Steven Norris, Chairman of Soho Estates and former Minster for Transport
Sir Edward Lister, Chief of Staff and Deputy Mayor of London
Jim Ward, Director, and Katy Warrick, Associate Director, Residential Research, Savills
Leonhard Fischer, CEO, Kleinwort Benson Group
Tony Pidgley, Chairman, The Berkeley Group
Stafford Lancaster, Investment Director, Delancy
David Montague, CEO, L&Q
Andrew Wilmot-Smith, Partner, Boodle Hatfield
Allister Heath, Editor, City A.M.

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