Don’t discourage keen investors

Elizabeth Fournier
THERE’S no doubt that foreign buyers are on the hunt for property in London. Yesterday’s three deals alone – Wanda’s Nine Elms investment, Derwent’s sale of its Grosvenor Place stake to Hong Kong hotel giant Peninsula and UBS completing the sale of its Broadgate site to Malaysian investors – are worth a total of almost £900m, much of it a welcome boost for UK developers who are pouring the proceeds back into local projects. The global rush to invest and build in London – particularly from Asia and the Middle East – is a fantastic boost for the capital. Wanda’s new apartment block will bring 267 new flats (and 51 affordable homes) to the city, while Peninsula will make brilliant use of its prime Belgravia site to redevelop the current 1960s office block into a much-needed luxury hotel for business travellers and tourists.

All this planned construction is great, but there’s one bump in the road that’s stopping this investment boom from really taking off – planning permission.

An application to build the UK’s tallest residential tower in Canary Wharf was deferred earlier this week by Tower Hamlets council, concerned over the height of the building. There’s plenty of prime space up for grabs in London. Let’s not put off developers – foreign or domestic – by making life unnecessarily difficult.