• Gross, I'm not a huge fan of Liverpool Street, but at no point have I thought "I wish this was a 19 story building instead".

    Also, how are people still putting up buildings? I was under the impression demand for office space has subsided since WFH has become more popular.

  • As I said, I suspect it's Crossrail-related. If one were to analyse where planning applications are going in, there would probably be a notable concentration of them near Crossrail stations. As I'm sure I've said somewhere before, Crossrail, a policy which goes back decades, was always intended as a development accelerator for Central London (greater footfall increases land values), which made sense when London's population was still in decline and there was a lot of dereliction. When it eventually received funding and was built, it was much too late for it to make any sense. It will now only cause further over-concentration.

    Working from home is never going to be a very major factor. The pandemic was a brief blip. Exceptional situations like it cause temporary anomalities, but they are soon swallowed up again in whatever wider trends are going on. One is that property is still being invested in far too much, and probably will be for the foreseeable future, probably because modern computing has damaged or destroyed so many industries, which consequently attract less investment.

    Also, while this application may look spectacularly bad, it may not even be what developers really want to build there, and may only be intended to prepare the groundwork for even more excessive crap.

    It was a huge mistake to 'relax/destroy historic planning restrictions in Central London. It has massively contributed to the increasing social injustice that is visible everywhere, not just in London.

    You have to remember that property is patient. I remember well when much of Canary Wharf/South Quay, etc. was vacant for years. It seemed like a total failure. Then, in the late 90s, all of a sudden development after development went up, partly fuelled by the rebuilding after the IRA bomb. Things can stay empty for a long time, as running costs of unused buildings don't tend to be that high, e.g. council tax for them is risibly small, before they come back into rental use. Hence, developers with deep enough pockets can build almost irrespective of current demand, and wait for years until the market has 'caught up'.

  • That’s a great point about property being patient, I’ll definitely be passing that quote off as my own. Why do you think the relaxed planning has contributed to the inequality? Increased concentration of financial services in Central London?

  • Jago Hazard has some fun thoughts on it with a bit of history: https://youtu.be/8ejK-SBSRnk

  • Turns out oxford street not getting pedestrianised after all. According to London news tonight.

  • Details bit thin on the ground, and still subject to change.

    Still not convinced on the general vibe and direction of the plan, considering its aseveral years and 120million pound project.

  • That’s a great point about property being patient, I’ll definitely be passing that quote off as my own. Why do you think the relaxed planning has contributed to the inequality? Increased concentration of financial services in Central London?

    Sorry, didn't see this. Over-concentration of economic activity--London sucks the country dry, anyway (while the gap between rich and poor Londoners continues to widen, too, of course), but this has got much worse in the last twenty-plus years. Wealth essentially tries to dominate as much space as possible from as little land as possible, e.g. from very few sites à la A*****, and, of course to maximise development volume to increase rent income. If politics does not counter-steer, e.g. by taxation, this automatically leads to more inequality.

  • Oxford Street not getting 'pedestrianised' is a good thing. For starters, you wouldn't have been able to cycle along it any more, but high streets generally are often along the most important, most historically significant alignments, and if you pedestrianise them, you make too many journeys too indirect--see by-passes, ring roads, etc., up and down the country. Obviously, Oxford Street's a special case, but the principle still applies.

    What Oxford Street needs isn't really a project, but decent annualised budgets and a dedicated team working on TLC. The Tottenham Court Road end is totally knackered and needs a proper rebuilding job now that Crossrail's just about done, the scrappy schemes at and around Oxford Circus that I think they installed during the pandemic need sorting out, and lots of little jobs like that. A bit more green would also be good, of course. If you maintain an asset continuously, it'll remain an asset.

    Traffic management does need a major review in the whole area, but that shouldn't cause gigantic infrastructure costs, and at any rate Oxford Street is only a small part of that. (I rather suspect they won't tackle most of the one-way nonsense there, but we'll see.)

  • Anyway, that's not really land use planning. This is--another terrible City application with a very poor attempt at archaeo-washing:


  • Oxford Street not getting 'pedestrianised' is a good thing. For starters, you wouldn't have been able to cycle along it any more

    I think I have said this before but that is one of the dumbest arguments against opening the area for pedestrians.
    At least the car lobby has an inherent logic, we like cars so we want more space for cars.
    Your is just the madman argument, I can't get a bike lane so let's choke the area in traffic.

  • It's not a 'dumb' argument, of course, it's a statement of fact. Were Oxford Street to be 'pedestrianised', it would become impossible to cycle along there, causing constant detours for cycling. Pedestrian traffic will remain the dominant form of traffic in Oxford Street whatever happens, especially with added Crossrail footfall.

  • Oxford Street not getting 'pedestrianised' is a good thing.

    You are using it as an argument to support the status quo as if that is in any way a pleasant situation
    for walking or cycling.

  • If any bit of Oxford st is pedestrinised won't food delivery riders just hammer through in their usual not give a fuck fashion?

    Not a for or against arguement, just that's whats gonna happen.

  • A good solution for that is probably to remove the foot paths on both sides to add 2 more lanes for traffic, that way everybody can just get the stuff they want delivered from the shops and there would be no need to actually walk in the area thus also speeding up traffic flow. Win win.

  • Not quite sure what the solution for Oxford street is, but the status quo is not good for anyone. I hate cycling down it for a start.

    As a shopping destination it's falling well behind westfields and needs to be more attractive for locals and tourist, traffic and pollution in the mix is not ideal.
    But traffic management is vital for the area. A seriously complex situation, in the end it'll be some sort compromise some how.

  • This article is a pretty good summary of the bizarre situation, probably not what the author intended.
    Currently the street is full of buses and taxis, at peak times those travel at less than 3mph
    therefore not really serving any purpose for short distance travel along the street, he suggests they serve travellers who just cross town, maybe, but he also mentions that they are
    mostly empty. So there is public transport that doesn't work currently but somehow the street can only be pedestrianized if this non functioning situation is solved or at least replicated on neighbouring streets.
    This creates a situation were you can't improve one aspect unless you solve an impossible riddle of how to get and endless stream of empty busses through a narrow section of town.
    Or let's just go with Oliver and say fuck it, if I can't ride my velocipede down the street nobody
    should enjoy it, let's fill it all with American Candy, Crossrail is witchcraft anyway.


  • Post a reply
    • Bold
    • Italics
    • Link
    • Image
    • List
    • Quote
    • code
    • Preview

Town planning in London, planning proposals and applications, and planning decisions

Posted by Avatar for Oliver Schick @Oliver Schick