Square Mile embraces hybrid working and tourism as post pandemic planning applications soar 30 per cent
The Square Mile experienced a 30 per cent spike in planning applications during the pandemic, as investor confidence return to the City of London.
The Museum of London, and new HQs for the City’s police and law firm Hogan Lovells were among the 56 applications submitted between 2020 and 2022, it has been revealed.
The figure is a significant increase on 42 between 2017-19, with almost half being last year alone, as the Square Mile continued its bounce back from the pandemic.
Of these applications to the City, which generates more than £75bn in tax revenue a year and is worth 12 per cent of UK GDP, 30 were made in 2022.
Applications for planning needed to fulfil certain criteria, including sustainability, whether buildings are adaptable and reusable, and if the provide informal workspace to encourage flexibility.
In a sign of continued confidence in the Square Mile, the Corporation granted planning consent for almost 370,000 square metres of office space, as hundreds of workers returned to their desks. It also gave the green light to 13,690 square metres of retail space and nearly 50,000 metres dedicated to community, education and cultural spaces.
“Throughout the pandemic we were confident that the City’s 1,000-year history as a business location was secure, and this is borne out by the planning figures we have released for the first time today”, the City of London Corporation, policy chairman, Chris Hayward said.
“Global businesses continue to want a significant presence in the Square Mile, and United Kingdom-based and global developers and investors are flocking to provide a new type of highly sustainable, modern office space for these companies.”
This comes as many businesses have altered their working week, with Fridays increasingly becoming a working from home day.
Hayward however was insistent that “the City of London is here to stay not just as a five day a week location, but as a seven-day a week destination.
“In 2023, with COVID now fully behind us, we are seeing a consistent rise in footfall and visitors to the City throughout the week.”
According to the Corporation, the City contributes a fifth all financial services jobs in the UK, generating £1.1bn in business rates.
Of the 30 major developments given consent or resolved to grant last two years, key applications were the Museum of London, Salisbury Square – Law Courts and City of London Police HQ.
It also included 120 Fleet Street, 115-123 Houndsditch, Thavies Inn, a new HQ for law firm Hogan Lovells at 14-21 Holborn Viaduct and towers at 50 Fenchurch Street, 55 Gracechurch Street and 70 Gracechurch Street.