Familes enjoying a sunny afternoon in Exploratory Park, Brent Cross Town

PLAY in your park

Exploratory Park is now open for use from early morning till dusk, daily – just a 12-minute walk from Brent Cross tube station.

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Familes enjoying a sunny afternoon in Exploratory Park, Brent Cross Town

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05 October 2020

New report says park town is fit for the future

We have a once in a lifetime opportunity to respond to changing needs and attitudes and build a place that is truly fit for the future.

As we proudly present Brent Cross Town, our pledges to deliver a healthy, flourishing, green and connected town are more relevant than ever. New independent research from Copa has found that lockdown made us want to live more locally, living and working in places where we can flourish, and it’s inspired a new, fierce commitment to looking after the environment. 

This park town for future London is a £5 billion, 180-acre redevelopment that will set a new standard for urban regeneration, delivered by Barnet Council in partnership with Argent Related, the developer who gave us King’s Cross. We are making four pledges to this new North London neighbourhood:

  1. We will create the place in London to participate in sport and play, 50 acres of parks and playing fields to unite people and transform lives
  2. We will make a North London town where all can flourish, a community that achieves inclusivity and neighbourliness 
  3. We will build a net zero carbon town — addressing the global challenge of the climate crisis
  4. We will strengthen connections with great transport into and out of central London. Connecting businesses, customers, friends and family: central London in 12 minutes via rail, local walking and cycle networks, immediate access to the M1 and five major airports within an hour

Brent Cross Town is designed to evolve as our needs change. But with lockdown, the world changed faster than ever. We wanted to make sure we fully understood what this means. What do people want from their towns in the future? We asked insights agency Copa to conduct independent research, and in July and August of this year, they spoke to 3,000 UK residents and industry experts about their experiences during the pandemic. The result is a report called ‘Parks, Proximity and Places: A Flourishing Future of Towns’.

Photo Roman Kraft on Unsplash

This year, life has changed in four major ways: 

The 15-Minute Town

Living, working, shopping, playing and learning within a 15-minute local radius: welcome to the 15-Minute Town. Only 20% of Britons live like this today, but lockdown has made us value localism more: 88% agreed they would be more likely to choose to shop locally in the future and 61% that we spend too much time in our cars. The Fifteen-Minute Town means having supermarkets, green space, restaurants and transport connections closer to home, enabling us to spend more time as we wish and less in cars and commuter trains. 

From the very beginning, Brent Cross Town has been designed to provide everything people need. Sport and play are at the heart of everything we do, alongside a holistic high street, restaurants and culture. There will be 6,700 new homes, and a business ecosystem for 25,000 employees – all coming together as a brand new town.

Picking fruit in the allotments in Clitterhouse Playing Fields, managed by Golders Green Allotment Association. Photo: Tian Khee Siong

A desire to flourish

Lockdown took a lot from us, but for many it gave something back: time to think. Amazingly, we’ve become more altruistic. 60% said they were worried about their own health, but 80% were concerned for society as a whole. Never before have we as a nation cared more about each other and about social justice, expressing a desire to tackle wealth inequality, racism, the housing crisis and gender inequality. We have become keen to talk about wellbeing and happiness, and we want developers to reflect this.

Brent Cross Town will be a neighborhood that puts wellbeing at the centre in a revolutionary way. To this end, we’ve partnered with the University of Manchester and Buro Happold, a specialist engineering consultancy, to develop a new flourishing index. We’re committed to championing participation in sport and play, so everyone, not just the ‘sporty’ types, will want to come and kick a ball about.

Food shopping on Cricklewood Broadway. Photo: Tian Khee Siong

Rethinking work and place

Lockdown has been a major experiment in changing how we work. Homeworking has proved incredibly popular: 71% said they want to do it in the future. A new focus on work-life balance meant 39% now want to move and 63% of people want to live closer to work. 

But people have missed the office too. 52% said they were looking forward to going back as they’ve missed being with their colleagues. Employers need to pay close attention to this change and what a good office will look like in the future. The new world of work will be a hybrid: even people who want to work from home also want to occasionally come into the office or other third spaces, where they can draw inspiration from their colleagues.

Brent Cross Town is a place for connecting businesses, customers, friends and family. Our state-of-the-art health and wellbeing facilities make this an attractive place to set up an office. We’re building a business community who believe that quality of life is central to the future of work.

Wind farms belonging to our energy partner, Vattenfall, in Thanet

360° environmental lives

Nature has become more important to us; we were trapped indoors, longing to be outside. This feeling of wanting to connect more with our natural environment has translated to a deepened care for the environment. 70% said they want companies and organisations to look after local amenities and support them in leading a more environmentally-friendly life. “I was fairly green before lockdown, but being stuck at home you really think about all that plastic you are using,” said one respondent. 

Brent Cross Town is committed to delivering a net zero carbon town. Working with Swedish energy company Vattenfall, we plan to beat the UK government’s pledge to go carbon neutral by 2050, aiming for 2030 at the latest instead. We will drive down the embodied carbon in buildings and infrastructure, offset the rest, and deliver reliable and affordable net zero carbon energy to homes, shops and businesses.

Brent Cross Town is a new kind of London neighbourhood fit for a modern, developing city – we are going to do things differently. “We will demand the highest commitments to health and wellbeing, sustainability and ensuring flourishing and connected communities,” says Nick Searl, partner at Argent Related and joint lead for Brent Cross Town. 

In the words of Councillor Daniel Thomas, leader of Barnet Council, “Brent Cross Town is the most ambitious development project the borough has ever seen, and it comes at a time where the coronavirus has changed the way we think, feel and what we want from the place we call home. We have a once in a lifetime opportunity to respond to changing needs and attitudes and build a place that is truly fit for the future.”

We look forward to continuing this conversation with the people of Brent Cross, present and future, and to keep listening to what you want from this emerging new neighbourhood. We hope you will come along and play a part in shaping its future.

Read the full report by Copa here, and get in touch with our community team to share your thoughts and find out more.