Richard Rogers is to meet the mayor of London next week to discuss the ‘critical’ issue of housing in the capital and how to make it affordable
The founding partner of Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, said there were a lot of buildings that were ‘used more like gold bricks than houses’ because people buy them but leave them empty – ‘they increase, they destroy the area’.
Speaking to the AJ this morning (3 November) at an AJ100 Breakfast Club event in London, Rogers suggested the issue should be tackled by changing taxes, particularly land taxes, so as to discourage house builders from land banking.
The Labour peer, a former adviser to London mayor Ken Livingstone, said he would also discuss planning and public space with Sadiq Khan but that housing would be the main theme.
Rogers had given a talk on his work on the Pompidou Centre, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. Responding to an audience question on how to solve the housing crisis, he said he was ‘working hard’ on the issue.
But he added: ‘It is very difficult because we’ve now handed over the power to the volume housebuilders … Volume housebuilders have absolutely no interest in building more houses, they want to build more profit.’
He also said work was being done on the prefabrication of houses in factories, but that it was ‘very difficult to break into the existing status quo which [is] making a lot of people perfectly happy’.
Last year, correspondence obtained by the AJ under the Freedom of Information Act showed that, following his mayoral victory, Khan turned down meeting requests from Rogers, Terry Farrell and the then RIBA president Jane Duncan.
A reply sent to Rogers by an officer at the Greater London Authority thanked him for his ‘early engagement’ but said the mayor was still assembling his team and suggested a meeting with a deputy mayor.
The AJ has contacted a spokeswoman for the Mayor of London for comment about next week’s meeting.
Hellman Sadiq London mayor