Greater London Authority embraces co-living sector’s feedback

The Greater London Authority (GLA) has responded positively to the co-living sector's planning guidance feedback.

Battersea Park co-living development. Image credit - Balance Out Living | BTR News
Battersea Park co-living development. Image credit - Balance Out Living.

In a significant development for the co-living sector, the Greater London Authority (GLA) has responded positively to industry feedback, revising its draft Large Scale Purpose Built Shared Living planning guidance.

The initial draft, released two years ago, drew criticism from investors, developers, and operators for its rigidity and potential to hinder innovation in the burgeoning co-living space.

The collaborative effort of the Second Generation Shared Living Consortium (SGSLC) – a coalition of 120 industry stakeholders – resulted in a comprehensive 400-page evidenced based rebuttal, which emphasised the importance of flexibility in design standards and amenity provision.

Recognising the need for agility and adaptability in accommodating evolving lifestyles, the GLA has incorporated most of the SGSLC’s suggestions, reflecting its evolving stance on Shared Living and its commitment to fostering innovation within the sector.

The revised guidance promotes a design led approach, providers greater flexibility with a new sliding scale for internal and external amenity standards and recognises that some rooms maybe occupied by couples.

The revised guidance also marks a milestone in the relationship between the GLA and the co-living sector, signalling a collaborative approach towards shaping the future of shared living in London.

As the industry continues to evolve, stakeholders remain committed to addressing the housing crisis in the UK by delivering high-quality living spaces that meet the needs of a forgotten generation in a rapidly changing urban landscape.

“The adoption of this more flexible guidance is a clear acknowledgment of the sector’s growth and role it can play in housing delivery in London, as it starts to be seen as an institutionalised sub sector of Build to Rent by investors, elected officials and decision makers.

“However, it also underscores our responsibility as Second-Generation Co-living developers to continue to demonstrate operational excellence, drive innovation and deliver a high quality, aspirational living experience in the absence of overly prescriptive regulations.”

Jermaine Browne, Founder of the SGSLC and Re:Shape Living