London’s housing crisis has united left and right in solidarity. And as I explained yesterday, most sensible people agree that it’s principally a problem of restricted supply. But while the housing crisis steals the headlines, an adjacent crisis has so far slipped below the radar: the commercial property crisis.
Following the election on May 5, the new Mayor of London will need to address both crises to avoid entrepreneurs getting priced out of Britain’s capital. As Sara Turnbull – Co-Chair of the Open Workspace Providers Group and the CEO of Bootstrap Company – points out: “the most recent Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors UK Commercial Property Market Survey found that 81 per cent of contributors found commercial real estate in London to be overpriced”. Adding: “according to figures produced by Savills, serviced office providers at the top end of the West End market are achieving rental values of around £132.50 ($192.83) per square foot, pushing space out of the reach of new and growing companies in London”.
Anita Rivera, Head of Planning at Mishcon de Reya suggests the new Mayor – in conjunction with London Boroughs – could create innovation districts on brownfield sites in London: “By exercising his development order powers he could deregulate planning control in these identified areas, allocate funds to secure free use of broadband and secure preferential tax treatments to help encourage, support and facilitate entrepreneurs.” Rivera suggests these areas could be subject to certain constrictions. Perhaps focusing on small business, start-ups and the provision of affordable commercial space, or themed around specific industries or sectors.
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