Jamie Kerr considers the challenges of public-private sector partnerships regarding development in and around stations…
Developing stations and their surrounds can create significant benefits for commuters and local communities by delivering new homes, providing new jobs, accommodating growth and acting as a catalyst for the wider regeneration of the area.
250,000 new homes a year are needed to accommodate the UK’s growing population and therefore the intelligent and effective use of land has never been more important. As guardians of public land, LCR has a role to play in the government’s drive for homes, jobs and economic growth.
Finding sites is not the problem but having ready access to them as well as the specialist skills and expertise to achieve a return on investment can be.
Unlocking complex sites with public sector ownership
One of the biggest barriers to public sector-led development is a lack of available funds, with local authorities and other public landowners facing unprecedented pressures on their finances. One of the challenges facing private developers when taking on a publically owned site is the complexity that comes with it. The public sector can help unlock these sites, often with operational constraints by de-risking them and creating opportunities for private sector participation – to secure additional investment, for example through joint venture partnerships.
LCR has done this successfully in Stratford, home of the London 2012 Olympics. As well as delivering Stratford International as part of HS1, we have been working to transform 120 acres of predominantly derelict land around the station into a new metropolitan centre. Our £2.4 billion joint venture with Lendlease, known as the International Quarter London (IQL), is the final phase of the original Stratford City Masterplan which will deliver circa 4 million sq ft of Grade A office space and over 330 new homes on 22 acres of land, located between Westfield and the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. By 2019, IQL will be home to Transport for London, the Financial Conduct Authority, British Council and Cancer Research’s headquarters, making it London’s new home for modern business.
To create desirable places to live, work and visit; a comprehensive approach to regeneration is required known as ‘place-making’. To really maximise value, developers should focus on medium-long term projects, taking them through each stage of the planning process from strategy to implementation. LCR often leads on scheme development, land pooling, land assembly, development partner selection and early stage implementation such as remediation and enabling necessary infrastructure. A piecemeal approach rarely delivers the same results and can throw up more challenges along the way.
The concept of place-making can be truly visualised through the critically acclaimed 67-acre King’s Cross regeneration, delivered by the King’s Cross Central Limited Partnership, of which LCR was an integral part up until we sold our 36.5 per cent share in 2016. LCR’s stewardship of King’s Cross oversaw the delivery of High Speed 1 (HS1) comprising St Pancras International, a vibrant new office quarter, homes, community facilities, schools, a world-renowned university and a host of shops, bars and cultural venues.
Once complete, King’s Cross will benefit from 2,000 homes, circa 3.4m sq ft of high quality office space and 500,000 sq ft of retail and leisure space. 40 per cent of the development will be public space, accessible to the estimated 45,000 people who will live, work study or visit there.
Integrated station development
Station-led regeneration can accommodate increasing travel demand but it can also create opportunities between the station interface and wider development activity in the surrounding area, which in turn can support the growth of towns and cities. A holistic approach, however, is necessary to achieve this.
At Waterloo, LCR, DfT and Network Rail are restoring the Waterloo International Terminal – former Eurostar UK terminus – into a new retail destination to provide modern retail facilities for commuters and the South Bank and Lambeth communities. Spread across three floors, including a new mezzanine level, 135,000 sq ft of space will be provided for an ambitious mix of independent, high street and food stores. In tandem, we are converting the Leake Street Arches beneath Waterloo Station into 25,000 sq ft of space, predominantly for cafes, bars and restaurants. The developments will complement the wider regeneration of the South Bank area and are set to create over 700 new jobs, as well as hundreds more throughout the construction period.
Public-private sector partnerships
As mentioned earlier, public-private sector partnerships can add value and open up new opportunities for development in and around stations. It is vital to bring private partners on board early and in the right way to ensure collaborative behaviour is in place from the outset. The public side of the partnership also needs to have the right skill set and the right proposition to maximise the value of public assets.
As part of the HS2 Growth Partnership, a collaboration between LCR and HS2 to support regeneration around HS2 stations, LCR is working in partnership with local authorities to produce investable masterplans and facilitating discussions with private developers regarding delivery vehicles and partnership models to ensure the maximum number of jobs and homes can be delivered up and down the route.
Private developers are already involved in a number of projects around proposed HS2 stations, such as at Manchester. Next to the planned HS2 terminal for Manchester Piccadilly, the Mayfield Partnership comprising LCR, Manchester City Council and Transport for Greater Manchester, is working with regeneration specialist U+I to deliver the long-term regeneration of the 24-acre Mayfield site. The development will create an iconic, £850 million mixed-use community over the next 10 years, including commercial, residential and leisure facilities.
At Euston, HS2 is procuring a private sector development partner to develop and refine the detailed plans for the proposed HS2 station. The contract will be awarded early next year and the comprehensive approach has the potential to deliver up to 22 hectares of development space as well as improving accessibility and creating new and green spaces across the wider Euston site.
While challenges remain, it is vital that the public and private sectors demonstrate a collaborative spirit in order to work together successfully to deliver the new homes and jobs that the UK so desperately needs. By combining commercial and development experience and available land, we can drive forward more world class regeneration projects – creating destinations where people want to live, work and visit.
Jamie Kerr was seconded to LCR from HS2 to run the HS2 Growth Partnership. He is also responsible for forging new relationships with local authorities to unlock key regeneration sites