Biggest ever Sitematch London
by Marco Cillario Fri 12th February 2016, 2:52 pm
The fifth Sitematch London, 3Fox International's event which brings together local authorities and the private sector to encourage development in the capital, was the biggest yet.
It took place at Altitude 360, Millbank Tower on 10 February 2016 and saw more than 350 pre-booked meetings and many more impromptu discussions take place.
The initiative, conceived by 3Fox in partnership with Ealing Council in 2011 has taken place annually since 2012 – and sees councils and public sector landowners meet with potential private sector partners to discuss development opportunities through a series of “speed-dating”-style meetings.
This year’s event, sponsored by U+I, GL Hearn and Atkins Global, saw the highest number of public sector attendees, with 50 authorities taking part, and the participation of 204 delegates. Each meeting lasted 15 minutes – after which time a bell rang signalling delegates to move on to speak to a different London local authority.
Richard Blakeway, deputy mayor for housing, land and property at the GLA – a keynote speaker at the event – said: "It is really important that we have networks like Sitematch to help connect public bodies with potential partners in the private sector.
"It is a simple, straightforward and exciting initiative that we strongly support. There is a vast number of opportunities in London to build the homes the capital needs."
The event also included a series of workshops focusing on: investment opportunities in the area of Sutton, revitalising high streets, the Housing Bill and other housing issues.
Tony Pidgley, chairman of housebuilder Berkeley Group, a strong supporter of the initiative, also took part in the event.
Addressing the audience, he stressed the importance of cooperation and trust between public authorities and private sector, focusing on a key message – to "communicate, collaborate and understand each other".
"We all know what the crisis is," he said, "the big challenge is very simple: we have a housing crisis, we need additionality and we need affordability."
He added that there was "too much bureaucracy out there" and "too much distrust between the public sector and the private sector" and the solution to combat this was to communicate and talk to each other.
He continued: "We share the same goals, at the end of the day: we all want to build fantastic homes, we want to create amazing places and we want better quality of life for our residents.”
He concluded by saying that "the British should be proud that London is a world class city and everybody wants to come here" and "we all know in this room today that London has got to remain a world class city."
The compass points of London were represented by four food stalls in the room: the north by kebabs; pulled pork for the south, the east with pie and mash and curry representing the west.
The first GL Hearn Sitematch London Planning Authority of the Year was awarded during the event: it was won by the Royal Borough of Greenwich for most consistently quick approval of major projects.
BNP Paribas, Inner Circle, Winckworth Sherwood, Willmot Dixon and Knight Frank acted as advisors during the meetings.
Find out more about Sitematch London here.