The extraordinary growth in property values in our city is a reflection of the current demand, and this has created affordability problems for many would be homeowners and renters. Developing London’s outer boroughs will be key in addressing our need for new housing.


View Architecture for London’s portfolio of recent projects.


At current population growth rates, we need to build 50,000 homes per year. Yet outward growth in our city is constrained by the Metropolitan Green Belt, and suitable sites in inner London are becoming increasingly rare. New opportunities in the outer boroughs are being made possible by improved transport networks, particularly Crossrail (Elizabeth Line), which will connect Ilford and Romford in the east directly with Ealing and Southall in the West. Reduced journey times to central London (Ealing Broadway to Farringdon in 16 minutes) and improved PTAL ratings will enable higher densities of development.

It is clear that large scale developments in outer London will be focussed in the Mayor’s identified ‘Opportunity Areas’. The Draft London Plan describes Opportunity Areas as ‘the capital’s most significant locations with development capacity to accommodate new housing, commercial development and infrastructure’. Each of these zones may have the ability to accommodate 2,500 additional homes.

The Draft London Plan also makes it clear that all areas of the outer boroughs may accommodate smaller changes incrementally. It describes the potential of outer London as follows: ‘The suburban pattern of development has significant potential for appropriate intensification over time, particularly for additional housing.’ This suggests that outside of the Opportunity Areas, many smaller sites will make a significant contribution.

Current Architecture London projects in outer London include a mixed-use development in Waltham Forest and a housing scheme in Kingston upon Thames.

Photography: I Duke