by Marco Cillario Thu 15 September 2016, 3:56 pm
An event organised by 3Fox International attracted 90 people to the House of Lords to hear about the latest updates on development, regeneration and growth in the London Borough of Sutton.
Speakers at the event, held yesterday (14 September) from 6.30-8.30pm, included Lord Graham Tope; Gavin Barwell MP, minister of state for housing and planning and minister for London at the department for communities and local government; and Councillor Jayne McCoy, chair of housing, economy and business committee at Sutton Council.
The audience, made up of representatives from developers, investors, the Greater London Authority (GLA) and councils, heard about the recently approved masterplan for Sutton town centre, the upcoming London Cancer Hub and the proposed extension of the Tramlink from Merton to the borough.
Introducing the event, Tope, a Sutton resident for 70 years, said he had a “historic, personal and emotional interest” in what is going on in the borough. He spoke about his experience as leader of the council in the eighties and nineties: “We implemented the biggest single regeneration project outside King’s Cross: the redevelopment of the Roundshaw estate. But tonight it’s not about how it used to be, it’s about how it is going to be.
McCoy said that the council’s “main ambition” was for the cancer hub. A partnership between the council and The Institute of Cancer Research, with the support of The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust and the GLA, it will be developed over 20 years and is predicted to create a 40% increase in cancer drug discovery, generate 13,000 jobs and contribute £1.2 billion a year to the British economy.
She added that the council was recording strong support from residents for its plans: a consultation on the Tramlink extension received 10,000 replies, 80% of which supportive.
The councillor presented the measures the council was implementing to foster growth, such as its own housing company, Sutton Living, and the Opportunity Sutton Investment Office, to coordinate different departments in their approach to inward investment.
McCoy continued: “We want to bring new business to the borough and we want to see a lot of housing.
“But Sutton is already known as one of the best places to raise a family, and this is something we want to protect, so our ambition is to have high quality development: we want places where our young residents want to live when they grow up.”
Barwell said he had both a personal and institutional involvement in the recent developments in Sutton.
The MP for Croydon Central explained: “As someone who has lived all his life in outer London I think it is important that boroughs in the outskirts are real communities and places where people want to live. And with the things you envisage in your masterplan, there is a real opportunity to create a vital town centre.”
He also praised the provision of more housing included in the plan: “The London population is expected to go beyond 10 million by 2030, and the current relation between income and house price in any London borough is shocking. We must do something to help people own a house.”
The minister, who had lymphatic cancer when he was seven, added: “Having survived cancer, I have developed a great interest in the matter, and I know that many people I represent in parliament will benefit from what you are doing with the cancer hub.”
The event also saw the participation of Jerry Freeman, director of development at GVA Property Consultancy, and Bob Allies, co-founder and partner at architecture practice Allies and Morrison, who designed the town centre masterplan. Part of the Sutton 2031 vision, the plan is set to transform the borough centre, with new retail and housing.
“London’s growth is changing London’s shape,” said Freeman. “The centre is becoming more and more expensive so people and businesses are looking to move out: 58% of the London working population live in the outer London area, because of prices and quality of life. The population in outer London is going to outstrip any other part of London.”
Presenting the masterplan to the audience, both Freeman and Allies agreed that Sutton is well connected, but the Tramlink extension will be crucial for the borough’s future.
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