It is simply wrong to assume that the City of London Corp is seeking to tilt the balance away from Square Mile’s core business role by converting offices to housing as part of our recovery plans (City / Housing: Cluster Breaker, Lex, April 28).
The city’s success is built on the benefits of the metropolitan area, and offices remain at the center of our recovery plan. In our city plan project, we committed to expanding high-quality office space by at least 2 million square meters between 2016 and 2036. In the first two months of 2021, our Planning and Transport Committee agreed to bids equivalent to nearly 80 percent of the total office space – or 190,297 square feet – approved for the entire past year.
The city already has 9.3 million square meters of office space, with another 760,000 square meters under construction, up from 7,850 residential units as of March 31, 2020.
It cannot be denied that the Covid-19 pandemic is changing the way we work and accelerating some trends that were already evident in urban centers. Greater flexibility and different working models are likely to become more prevalent, which is why we are encouraging the creation of even greener, more flexible and adaptable buildings.
We are unshakable in our confidence that the city’s office market will be sustainable. This confidence is reinforced by strong demand from developers and investors. Senior executives in companies told us that they remain committed to the City as the premier place where employees come together to innovate, collaborate, learn and communicate.
We will continue to protect existing office space from any other use, including residential construction, where the loss of office space will harm the city’s core business function.
The city has always adapted to changing business needs throughout its history and will do so again to remain the world’s leading hub for businesses, workers, visitors and residents.
Head of Policy Division, City of London Corporation
Department of Planning and Transport
City of London Corporation
London EC2, UK