Number of London Skyscrapers Rocket

  • Posted

Analysts have dubbed 2019 the “Year of the Tall Building” for London, as new figures show that a record number of new skyscrapers are due to be completed in the capital this year.

Findings from New London Architecture and GL Hearn’s annual tall building survey show that a record 121 buildings are currently under construction, up from 115 at the start of 2017. 76 new towers are set to be completed by December 2019, marking a three-fold increase on the previous year, with the rate of delivery set to reach unprecedented levels. Of the 76, the majority will be fewer than 40 storeys, with 62% set to be between 20 and 29 storeys and 26% between 30 and 39 storeys. One per cent of the new builds however will be over 60 storeys high, with the tallest site to be completed this year coming in at 75 storeys.

Local councils, which have control over tall building policies in their area, appear to be becoming increasingly receptive to skyscraper proposals. Nineteen out of London’s 33 local authority areas are set to see at least one new tower completed this year.

The highest concentration of new tall buildings will be in Tower Hamlets and in Lambeth, which are due to see 18 and 11 new sites this year respectively. The borough of Ealing is set to see the most dramatic increase (1,100%) in tall buildings this year, jumping from two skyscrapers to 26. Meanwhile, the boroughs of Camden, Barnet and Hounslow will all see buildings of over 20 storeys constructed for the first time.

Construction boom for residential towers

Experts speculate that the surge in tower block developments is largely due to a rising demand for accommodation in London.

Peter Murray, chairman of NLA, notes:

“Tall buildings are becoming increasingly accepted as a necessary form of urban development, not just in commercial centres like the City or Canary Wharf, but to provide much-needed new homes right across the capital.”

In total, survey results show that the number of skyscrapers either at a pre-planning stage or under construction was also at a record high of 541 at the end of 2018, marking a 6% increase from 12 months earlier. Ninety per cent of planned new developments are for substantially residential use – with the towers set to provide more than 110,000 new homes across the capital by 2030. 366 of these are in inner London, with 154 located in the boroughs of Tower Hamlets (85) and Greenwich (69) alone. Outer London meanwhile has 175 towers in the pipeline, marking an annual increase of 3%.

These figures nonetheless fall short of targets set by London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who has called for 66,000 new homes a year in a bid to provide affordable housing.

London skyline set to change

The addition of over 500 additional skyscrapers is likely to have a significant appearance on London’s skyline in coming year.

Mr. Murray states that the NLA “continues to call for the greater use of computer modelling by planners to assess the impact of taller buildings.”

The capital currently has a total of 360 tall buildings – classified as those of 20 storeys or more. The shift marks an exciting time for commercial property developers – with the vast majority of those applying to build skyscrapers seeing their applications accepted. Only eight tall building projects were denied planning permission last year across London, with 72 buildings granted permission – up from 63 in 2017.

Whilst the trend of taller buildings is “likely to [set] the shape of the skyline for the next couple of decades,” analysts maintain that most developments are “not super-tall” and that “pockets of taller buildings” will only be “located in those boroughs that are willing to accept them.”

Contact our experienced commercial property solicitors today

hether you are acquiring, disposing of, developing, managing or funding commercial property, we can help. Call us now for expert, impartial and professional advice on 03456 381381, or email us at

IBB Solicitors Nominations for Solicitors Journal Awards