Grosvenor Britain & Ireland (‘Grosvenor’) today published a 20 year vision to transform its London estate and tackle the pressures facing the capital.
With London's rapid growth, Grosvenor wants its estate in Mayfair and Belgravia to work harder for its communities and all Londoners by adapting - with better streets, greener spaces and more active and enterprising places that appeal to the many, not just to the few.
It called for new partnerships between public and private sectors, and with those who live and work on the estate, to bring about this change.
Underlining its early commitment to this vision, Grosvenor announced two plans to improve this part of the West End:
Over the next year Grosvenor will invest in one of London's largest 'single estate' upgrades in broadband, wi-fi and mobile connections, in partnership with Openreach, Ventura Next, WiFi SPARK and the planning authorities.
Residents, visitors and businesses will benefit from new superfast and ultrafast broadband connections, in many places where none exists now, across almost three quarters of the estate this year; a free, public Wi-Fi service to be piloted this year with the potential to cover half a square mile in the next 3 years; and new 4G mobile connections to deliver a step change improvement in coverage. This part of London will move from being in the 5% worst performing in the country for digital connections, to being in the top 5%.
Grosvenor will be given back responsibility for managing Grosvenor Square from Royal Parks, in partnership with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.
Grosvenor will invest in the square alongside surrounding businesses. Later this year it will open a public call for ideas to make this green space - larger than Trafalgar Square - 'a great garden square for Londoners' fit for the 21st century.
Craig McWilliam, Chief Executive, Grosvenor Britain & Ireland, said: “For centuries this great London estate has adapted to changes in the city around it. The big challenges facing London today require that the estate responds. We want Mayfair and Belgravia to be more flexible, more open and more appealing to all. They need to work harder for London if they're to flourish.
“We can plan for the long-term with this 20 year vision for our London estate, but there is little here we can deliver alone. So this is our call for the partners we need to secure these great districts at the heart of a successful, growing city.”
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “Grosvenor’s London estate is in the heart of our city and includes some of the most historic and popular areas. The estate’s plans demonstrate how developers can provide high-quality public space in a rapidly growing city. I welcome the steps being taken to upgrade the estate and ensure it is fit for future generations of Londoners and visitors.”
Cllr Nickie Aiken, Leader of Westminster City Council, said: “The unique mix of global reach, national significance and local character defines the City of Westminster as a very special place. We welcome Grosvenor’s vision to support these distinctive neighbourhoods. If they continue to flourish in the heart of the capital, they will help ensure Westminster remains successful, confident and inclusive, where residents, businesses and partners all feel they have a shared stake in its future.”
Clive Selley, Chief Executive, Openreach, said: “The delivery of this exciting project involves vision, collaboration and commitment from stakeholders who share a common objective to realise Grosvenor’s aspiration to be a digital champion. Our next generation broadband network will provide a future-proof foundation to support Grosvenor’s economic, social and cultural aims.
“Thousands of homes and businesses in the area will have access to our superfast FTTC and ultrafast FTTP networks - which is the largest of its kind in the UK, and part of our continuing drive to make faster internet access as widely available as possible.”
For more information about Grosvenor’s London estate 20 year vision see:
The 20 year vision
Grosvenor’s London estate 20 year vision is based on Mayfair & Belgravia delivering seven bold, ambitious outcomes:
1. Active neighbourhoods that appeal to all users and to all possibilities for buildings and public spaces.
2. Integrated districts that are open to the rest of London, attractive to anyone who wants to visit, explore, eat, drink, shop and relax.
3. Communities connected by the best cultural events and working spaces as well by leisure, education and community retail, all having access to the best digital connections.
4. Better streets with less traffic, better access for cyclists and pedestrians and world class public realm.
5. The best green, open spaces in central London, rich in biodiversity, with cleaner air and an environment that encourages people to linger and enjoy the outdoors.
6. Thriving, enterprising businesses, both young and old, and to create interesting, useful and busy retail streets.
7. An architecturally beautiful estate, building on our exceptional cultural legacy with the development of new, adaptable buildings of world-class design.
For more information contact:
020 7312 6479
Notes to Editors
• The full vision can be found - here
• Its evidence base can be found - here
• The vision’s website features interviews with:
Dan Cruickshank, architectural historian and television presenter - here
Mike Taylor, Senior Partner at pioneering practice Hopkins Architects - here
Mike Brown MVO, Transport Commissioner, Transport for London - here
• And a photo essay by award-winning photographer Arnhel de Serra - here
The digital upgrade plan
In partnership with Openreach, Ventura Next, WiFi SPARK and the planning authorities, Grosvenor hopes to invest around £2 million over the next five years to improve the digital offer of this part of the capital.
Grosvenor’s digital upgrade plan and ambitions are based on delivering:
• Superfast fibre broadband (up to 78MB/s through fibre to the cabinet), and Ultrafast fibre broadband (up to 1GB/s through fibre to the premises) to over 70% of its London estate - more than 2,000 properties. This will be delivered in conjunction with the expected completion this year of Openreach’s Superfast rollout to 40% of Grosvenor’s London estate.
• Further Ultrafast broadband (1 GB/s) in the next five years to the majority of Grosvenor’s residential rental properties, offering customers world-class digital connectivity from day one.
• Free public Wi-Fi across key streets on the London estate in the next 5 years, on the basis of 3 successful pilots this year at Motcomb Street, Eccleston Yards and Brown Hart Gardens.
• Five new 4G masts installed in the next 3 years to improve coverage for all operators and eliminate 4G blackspots.
Government decided in 2016 to create a new charitable body to take over the management of the Royal Parks from the Royal Parks Agency (RPA). Legislation was passed in October last year to effect that change.
Of the £36.6m annual cost of managing the parks, about 65 per cent is self-generated through events, sponsorship, donations, catering, grants, lottery funding, licences, rental income from lodges, filming and photography. The rest of RPA’s income (35 per cent) comes from a government grant (from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport - DCMS). The new body will not benefit from that grant, and it is envisaged that it will have more latitude in its management approach.
As part of this change, the Government has agreed to pass responsibility for managing Grosvenor Square to the Grosvenor Estate (Grosvenor), which is the freeholder. The square’s management has been government’s responsibility (starting with the Ministry of Works) since 1946. The Contracting Out Order passed by parliament in October 2016 allows DCMS to contract the management of the square to a body other than RPA, which in turn will cut RPA’s costs. Grosvenor will be tasked with funding and managing the Square, subject to it remaining a free and well maintained public asset. Access and opening times will remain as they are now.
Grosvenor Britain & Ireland
Grosvenor Britain & Ireland creates and manages high-quality neighbourhoods across the UK and Ireland. The company’s diverse property development, management and investment portfolio includes Grosvenor’s London estate, comprising 300 acres of Mayfair and Belgravia, in which it has a £1bn planned investment programme. Other developments include elsewhere in London and Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh and Southampton. As at 31 December 2015, Grosvenor Britain & Ireland had £5.7bn of assets under management.
Grosvenor Britain & Ireland is part of Grosvenor Group, a privately owned property group active in some of the world’s most dynamic cities. www.grosvenor.com @Grosvenor_GBI