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Royal visit hears case for 'intermediate housing'

Words: Laura Edgar

HRH The Princess Royal was part of a study group visiting the offices of a specialist London developer to hear about how intermediate housing can "help to make cities smart”.

Senior leaders from across the Commonwealth recently visited the offices of intermediate housing developer Pocket to look at how the company has developed solutions to the capital's housing challenge.

The party included Princess Anne, president of Commonwealth Study Conferences (CSC), an organisation which has partnered with international leadership development organisation Common Purpose to deliver the CSCLeaders events programme.

New leaders are chosen each year and are set a challenge; this year, the challenge is ‘What makes a smart city?’

Pocket shared “its experience as a new type of intermediate housing developer in London,” tackling the lack of affordable housing. The company discussed with leaders how it addresses planning policy to “create compact and highly sustainable homes designed for the way young middle-income Londoners live today” as well as combining funding from the public and private sector to “serve the intermediate housing market” and keeping the homes affordable.

Marc Vlessing, CEO of Pocket, said: “Clearly the problems faced by London are not unique, and we had a valuable discussion about the importance of providing intermediate housing to help the workforce of a city get their foot on the housing ladder.

“In order to sustain the city’s energy, we must ensure that there is enough suitable housing available for the people who drive it.”

CSCLeaders added that the group found the visit “highly relevant” for the future of affordable housing in the main cities of their own countries, including Singapore, Australia and Canada.

A spokesperson for the group told The Planner they learnt about the smarter use of space in cities and about how to create more joined up local communities.

They added: "Pocket provided an insight into the current housing market and future challenges faced specifically within the 'middle market' - those seeking a first rung on the ladder."