London is big, but is it big enough to absorb 30,000 new homes built in the next 2 years?
Actually the answer is Yes, there are thirty thousand new homes being built in Colindale in north London, and pretty fine they look too. Every big developer is putting up their block of flats, or rather luxury apartments, gathered round communal gardens, each home with a verandah, and a fitted kitchen. In 2004 then-mayor Ken Livingston’s team identified this area as a growth area, prime for new homes, and the London Plan led to the Brent and Barnet Area Action Plans, which saw by 2010, the start of a big-scale rebuilding programme.
Redrow are building Colindale Gardens on the site of the old Hendon Police College.
Colindale is an area that has seen many attempts at development in the past century, and most of it not much wack, as we’ll see on our walk, but the new plan looks as if it has staying power, through the combined effect of investment in infrastructure and shops, competition between developers, which is increasing standards, and the big-picture, blood-stirring London Plan from the Mayor’s office.
While house building has fallen across London as a whole, in northwest London new builds grew by 12%, according to Land Registry transactions, a growth rate exceeded only by Stratford and the east (see our Stratford walk).
All this building work means that our walk is a point in time, a snapshot of the birth of a new community and a new identity. Come this way again in a year or two, and it will be much more settled, much more centred. Right now the place is new and unclad and fast changing. It looks continental, not really English; the density of housing is high, but so is the amenity.
Here’s an article from the Guardian on how these developments get their initial funding.
We passed through the “Roe Green Village Conservation Area”, built at end of WW1 for the workers of the local Aircraft Manufacturing Company: www.roegreenvillage.org.uk/history
The walk moves through densely packed Colindale onto the empty space of Fryent Park, an old remnant of Middlesex, whose field lines and hedgerows are intact, where the population density on a March afternoon can drop to 1 person per square mile, as low as the Cairngorms, and you’re looking at how it was 700 years ago.
Wembley – another area experiencing remarkable change through building.
Article on Europe’s tallest modular tower, for student accommodation.
The route: https://binged.it/2mlhC9A
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