Examination of Witnesses (Questions 360
TUESDAY 5 FEBRUARY 2002
360. So it is large companies wanting to get
all their staff under the main roof?
(Dr Damesick) That is one important source of demand.
Also there is demand for space in tall buildings from small to
medium-sized occupiers who would like smaller units of high quality
accommodation in a prominent building.
361. But everybody who wants office space can
find it in a tall building?
(Dr Damesick) Not everybody, but a significant proportion
within the market.
362. Some are small, some are large, but there
is a group that cannot get in?
(Dr Damesick) No. You can have tall buildings which
can accommodate both a substantial medium-sized occupier and a
range of smaller occupiers. I think that is what is going to happen,
probably, in, for example, the Swiss Re Tower being developed
in the City of London. There will be one significant headquarters
in there occupying part of the building and a range of other tenants.
Chairman: We must press on, I am afraid.
363. Can you name any companies who did not
come to London or relocated from London because of a lack of tall
(Dr Damesick) Not specifically, but I would add the
point I made earlierthat I think that is the wrong test.
364. What is the test?
(Dr Damesick) Economics and efficiency work the margin.
If, because of a restriction on supply, some companies are not
able to occupy their optimal accommodation, their efficiency and
productivity will be affected at the margins.
365. Can you name any who have not come to London
or stayed in London because of the lack of tall buildings?
(Dr Damesick) Not for London. We have numerous examples
now of companies who have not stayed in the City of London because
they could not find the accommodation they required
366. Because they could not find tall buildings?
(Dr Damesick) Yes, or buildings of
367. Could you name some?
(Dr Damesick) Well, the companies that have gone to
Canary Wharf I have in mindLehman Brothers, Barclays Bank,
HSBC, Clifford Chance.
368. But you cannot name any who have left London
(Dr Damesick) No.
369. So do you think that the demand for tall
buildings can be met by areas that have already been identified
such as Canary Wharf and Croydon, or do you think it will have
to be beyond that? Other sites?
(Dr Damesick) I would come back to central London
and say that I think there will be some demand for tall buildings
in central London which needs to be met. I would not envisage
that we can look at Canary Wharf and expect that, successful location
though it is, to be able to take all the demand that there might
be of large units of office space. We should remember at Canary
Wharf we are talking about a location which is served by one tube
line so there could be other locations in addition around the
fringes of central London or further afield which can absorb some
of the demand for large units of office space if those demands
cannot be met in central London.
370. Talking about tube lines, you will be aware
that Canary Wharf contributed £90 million towards the Jubilee
line. Do you think that it is reasonable to ask developers to
contribute towards transport costs? It is clear that the Heron
Tower, for example, made no similar contribution.
(Mr McKee) I think the view of the property industry
today is that they expect to be asked to contribute towards that
kind of investment. They would see a positive value in having
that kind of transport infrastructure provided. My only qualification
to that would be that, when one looks at the total financial demand
being placed upon the viability of development proposals, including
the seeming interest in the Henry George Foundation's ideas by
the Mayor, there is a limit to what can be provided, and once
that has been exceeded then you will find those schemes will not
proceed. So yes, but it has to be kept within a reasonable boundary.
371. But is it not fair to say that if you are
going to put a tall building up it should meet the full cost to
the community of putting in extra transport?
(Dr Damesick) If you take the case of the Heron Tower
or another tall building in the City, it depends whether there
are specific transport investments which can be, as it were, earmarked
as having been needed to service that development. I would make
the other point, however, that if we are talking about the City,
obviously any transport improvements would benefit landowners
and, indeed, occupiers in the city more generally, so that raises
the issue of whether they in general should be contributing towards
the enhancement of transport links. There I think there are practical
problems in how you would, as it were, realise such contributions.
Chairman: On that note, can I thank you very
much for your evidence.