UKPF’s London West correspondent Mike Lightfoot reports from our latest Richmond Social, headlined by one of the industry’s most experienced developers, Roger Madelin. He was joined by Cllr Gareth Roberts, leader of the Liberal Democrats in the borough, to present to an audience of property professionals at the March 19 event.

Roger Madelin, joint head of Canada Waters (British Land) and Gareth Roberts, leader of the Richmond Liberal Democrats, presented to an audience of West London property professionals at the riverside pub White Cross in Richmond upon Thames.

Matthew Battle, UK Property Forums managing director, introduced Gareth as, “ the happiest council leader in the country, according to Rightmove.”

Gareth spoke much about the change that has taken place in Richmond which was once small c conservative and a difficult place to do business. Now it is ready for change and embracing what its residents are looking for.

Gareth finished by saying; “They have paid a lot to live in Richmond and expect a return on their investment.”

Roger started by showing images of Lviv in the Ukraine, a glorious city added to by  the Hapsburgs during the reign of the Austro- Hungarian Empire, now in rubble due to the ongoing war. There are many beautiful places like this across Europe sustainable, well connected with strong communities and built before the advent of planning restrictions and the motor car. These are the first 15-minute cities.

He asked the audience to close their eyes and imagine a place they would like to be. It is probably similar to a well-built European town and almost certainly didn’t include a road or cars.

Mr Madelin described his work in Birmingham at. Brindley Place and how it broke the mould with mixed use urban regeneration. He went on to describe how he had approached the extensive regeneration of Kings Cross and how he was aided by former London Mayor Ken Livingstone.

Mr Madelin finished off his talk, with fewer slides than normal, by focusing on his work with British Land and Canada Water. He described much of the development in the 50-acre in detail highlighting the importance of working with stakeholders such as the wildlife trust, helping accommodate swans and other wildlife.

The spaces between the buildings are important, more generous than Kings Cross, connected to the park and the river.

When asked by a female visitor what it would be like Roger said; “You’re walking through the boardwalk, the wetlands and up to the roof or docks. In this landscape you can sit and watch the sunset over Tower Bridge. Sounds very romantic she said.”

The development will have lots of flexibility in the plan with over 4,000 sq ft of office space, up to 4,000 residential homes, lots of retail space, a new health centre and health club. The Printworks although not listed will be refurbished and remain one of the top music venues in the world.

He finished up by predicting that the money is available for developments to be kickstarted and that if the interest rates drop then there will be a surge in activity just like the roaring twenties.

Who said romance was dead?

The evening was kindly sponsored by Field Fisher LLP.

Pictures of Lviv, Kings Cross and Canada Water supplied by UNSPLASH (Nico Benedickt, Sam Regan, Andrei Ianovskii)

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