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Rob Perrins: We’ve got to make London a city that works for everybody

"We've got to make London a city that works for everybody"

On Wednesday 7th September 2016 the Evening Standard celebrated the 1000 most influential people in London at their Progress 1000 event. Berkeley sponsored the event and Rob Perrins gave a speech on how development can be a force for good in London.

London has got better and better over the last 20 years. It has become the best big city in the world.

That is partly because of our culture: we live in a safe and tolerant city where anybody with talent can make their mark.

As Sadiq Khan says, 'London is open'. That's our DNA.

It's also because we have invested in infrastructure: the tube upgrade, Crossrail, great new buildings and public space.

What has changed over the last 5 years is how we build this infrastructure.

The schools, parks and theatres which make London great are now frequently delivered by the private sector - on the back of new development. The Berkeley Group, doesn't just build homes any more. We are opening two schools this month; completing a couple of theatres; and planning 3 new public parks.  

Today, new development has become a force for good, making London better in many different ways. That's something we should celebrate.

But the truth is, London has also failed to build enough homes.

Market forces haven't worked and nor has government intervention. And that puts London's success at risk.

I think we need to remember why London de-populated in the 70s and why it re-populated in the 90s.

Cities go through cycles, just like markets, and they can fall out of fashion very fast.

Just look at Paris. 

So we need to get on the front foot and really find solutions.

We've got to make London a city that works for everybody. And housing and communities are at the heart of that challenge.   

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