5 September 2019
Setting the record straight on Cundy Street
Grosvenor Britain & Ireland CEO Craig McWilliam addresses comments about its proposals for a new inclusive redevelopment in Cundy Street, central London.
Concerns expressed about our proposals to redevelop the Cundy Street Quarter in Belgravia highlight that while we might all agree there are not enough homes in central London – and certainly not enough affordable homes – there are differing views on the solution.
Increasing diversity in London – not reducing it
We’ve been accused by some of wanting to pursue social cleansing with these proposals. This highly charged and inappropriate language is against everything the business I lead stands for, and it distracts from a simpler truth.
We want to increase, not reduce, the area’s diversity. So, in our planning application, we will offer to double the number of affordable homes on the site.
We have a proud track-record spanning almost 150-years for creating and supporting affordable housing in central London and know that communities are stronger when they are inclusive. So, we want to grow the number of low-cost homes on our London estate over and above the 700 households we support across Mayfair and Belgravia today.
Westminster City Council has a large number of households waiting for affordable accommodation. Around 7,000 sit on its housing waiting list where it can take up to 10 years to be assigned a two-bed flat. Only by building more homes can we help more people.
Our approach to residents and right to return
We know our development plans affect people living on the site today and we understand their concerns.
From the outset we put in place measures to ensure they had several years’ notice to help them plan carefully for their future and ensure no one has to face the prospect of being homeless.
Over the next four years, the council will support and rehouse all its Walden House tenants in the borough. It has also offered them a right to return and will allocate the new affordable homes we build to any council tenant who wishes to return to the site.
Having been transparent with our private renting tenants in the Cundy Street flats about the potential for redevelopment since 2012, each has been offered comprehensive assistance tailored to their circumstances.
Openness and transparency
In the meantime, we are looking to design a new neighbourhood that meets the varied needs of Belgravia and its communities both today and in the future. Alongside an inclusive mix of new homes, we are proposing better green and public spaces, new community facilities and amenities lacking elsewhere locally.
To achieve our aim, we’ve committed to earlier, deeper and more transparent engagement than ever before, to open up what is often viewed as an opaque and hard-to-understand planning process.
In the last six months, we’ve had face to face conversations with over 500 locals. Our online polls, designed to reach a broad range of residents, workers and stakeholders, have attracted over 1,500 responses so far. All these points of view will inform our design, and we’ll share more detail on those at our next public consultation.
We see the chance for a sensitive but comprehensive redevelopment that will double the number of affordable homes on site today, delivering on our promise to increase opportunity and diversity in this part of London. And we see the chance to achieve the best outcome for all by seeking the views of the many who live, work or visit this special part of central London, not just the few.
Grosvenor Britain & Ireland
You can find out more detail about the project, our approach and the consultations at www.cundystreetquarter.com.
Our team can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org.