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Record number of high-rise buildings in London for 2019

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Sixty tall buildings, of more than 20-storeys, were completed in Greater London in 2019, the highest number on record and an increase of 140% from the number in 2018.

The data, from the latest New London Architecture (NLA) annual London Tall Buildings Survey, also reported that planning permissions continued to rise, by 7% in 2019, suggesting an increasing willingness of planning committees to approve tall building proposals.

The vast majority of tall building proposals are located within inner London. However, the survey shows that there has been a further shift towards outer zones; 13 of the 20 outer London boroughs now contain tall buildings at various stages of the process. There was a noticeable increase in outer London boroughs, with 6% more tall buildings in the pipeline compared to 2018.

Peter Murray, Curator-in-chief of New London Architecture said: “These figures are for a period when the world was very different. COVID-19 means we will have to re-evaluate the direction of development in our cities. It raises questions about population growth in London, about property values and social quality.”

Stuart Baillie, Head of Planning at Knight Frank, the report’s Programme Champion and Research Partner, said: “London’s tall buildings completion rate, which amounted to 60 in 2019, is quite staggering. Knight Frank’s research found that there is a continued willingness from planning authorities to consider height positively, particularly in outer London boroughs where we have seen significant pipeline growth. Elsewhere we are seeing a fairly consistent number of new schemes coming into the planning system. Clearly, COVID-19 will impact the pipeline in 2020, but we’re confident that planning policies, land availability and housing need in London are likely to facilitate a return to a stronger tall building pipeline in the medium term.”

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