Bringing the academic edge to private sector development
19 November 2018
Wembley Park offers a prime example of regeneration as a work-in-progress. Since 2002, Quintain has transformed much of the 85-acre site surrounding to Wembley Stadium into a thriving mixed-use development.
Quintain’s masterplan has evolved since the company obtained initial planning consent in 2004, most significantly turning away from housing for sale to a build-to-rent model.
But there is still a long way to go before Wembley Park is complete. Planning decisions will be even more profound during the final stages of what will end up as a 25-year development programme. For instance, dramatic changes expected in transportation are destined to have a major impact on any large-scale project.
The Masters in Cities programme
It was against this changing backdrop in urban trends that Quintain began a joint research project with the London School of Economics in 2017. The research involved LSE exploring a number of issues facing Quintain, such as: how can a development of some 7,500 dwellings by 2027 accommodate emerging mobility trends such as a decline in car ownership?
Such a collaboration between private sector developer and academic institution was unusual but afforded Quintain a fresh perspective of its Wembley Park development after a momentous period of activity. The formerly London-listed company had been taken private by Lone Star in 2015 before accelerating development at Wembley Park with additional funding. Equally important, Quintain has established Tipi, its award-winning residential management platform for its extensive build-to-rent portfolio.
The exercise as a whole was instructive. A clear theme emerged: the challenge of future-proofing as far as possible the UK’s largest build-to-rent development. The research reinforced the importance of Quintain’s long-term commitment to Wembley Park while maintaining flexibility in the master-planning.
At the heart of this masterplan review was for Quintain to deal specifically with the implications of declining car ownership and, by extension, a reduced requirement for parking provision. The objective was for Quintain to keep its options open for possible alternative uses for valuable space that initially will have to meet prevailing demand for car parking.
The opportunity for major innovation lies at the planning and design stages of a development. It is nonetheless a delicate balance of meeting current demand and anticipating change, staying ahead of trends to future-proof a large-scale development as far as possible.
When one considers the dramatic changes in how we live and work, it is incumbent on developers such as Quintain to think about alternative uses for their assets and build in flexibility for the future.
Quintain will be taking part in our London Plan Density session at Building London 2019. Take part in the sector’s big debates by booking your place.