Soft Cities

Housing

Grenfell – a question of trust?

First published in Building Magazine, 09/11/18 – https://www.building.co.uk/comment/grenfell-a-question-of-trust/5096447.article. If the Grenfell fire teaches us one thing, says Colm Lacey, it is that the construction and development sectors need to create a culture of trustworthiness and humanity. It is more than a year since the Grenfell Tower fire, and the enormity of what happened that night …

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Council-owned developers can make a real difference to housing supply in London

First published in On London 28/09/18 – https://www.onlondon.co.uk/colm-lacey-council-owned-developers-can-make-a-real-difference-to-housing-supply-in-london. Much has been said about the new generation of council-led development companies and their potential for contributing to housing supply. Some comment veers towards a hyperbolic romanticism, heralding the beginning of a new era of creative municipalism which can only do good. Others see them simply as …

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Why we must resist the urge to demolish housing estates

First published in The Architects Journal, 07/03/18 – https://www.architectsjournal.co.uk/news/opinion/why-we-must-resist-the-urge-to-demolish-housing-estates. Fine-grained infill and refurbishment are in many cases to be preferred to the knock it down and start again approach to housing, writes Colm Lacey. Recent developments in Haringey and Earl’s Court have served to reinforce the contested nature of housing capacity, particularly social housing capacity, throughout the capital. Much of …

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The housing crisis: should local authorities become developers?

First published in Building Magazine, 11 Sep 2017. https://www.building.co.uk/comment/the-housing-crisis-should-local-authorities-become-developers/5089594.article Could a shift in local councils’ approaches to housing across the UK address the critical needs currently facing authorities? There are many distinctive things about Croydon. The lack of homes to suit local housing need is not one of them. Our housing supply issue is replicated …

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If more housing developers braved ‘risky’ sites we would all reap the rewards

First published in Architects Journal 03/05/17 – https://www.architectsjournal.co.uk/news/opinion/if-housing-developers-braved-risky-sites-we-would-all-reap-the-rewards. There is still ample opportunity for housing development in the suburbs, if only developers were prepared to take on difficult sites, writes Colm Lacey. We’re delighted to have received planning permission recently for our first batch of development sites in Croydon. The overarching aim of Brick by Brick is to …

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RIBA Journal Interview: Civic Strategist

An interview by Hugh Pearman first published in RIBA J on 16/08/16 – https://www.ribaj.com/culture/civic-strategist. Croydon’s development director, Colm Lacey, is a man known for getting things done. Could his ambitious programme create London’s third city? Croydon is the south London borough that, with its mainline trains and its trams, its famous skyline and leafy, hilly …

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My kind of town: Colm Lacey

First published in Architecture Today, February 2016 – www.architecturetoday.co.uk. I left North Dublin for East London a long time ago. I left for love, thinking I would be back soon. Only my mother, sobbing uncharacteristically at the airport, knew I wouldn’t. Pre-Celtic Tiger, Dublin purred contentedly, uncompetitively. With the notable exception of Temple Bar, physical …

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Why we set up our own architectural practice

First published in Architects Journal 28/10/15 – https://www.architectsjournal.co.uk/news/opinion/croydon-councils-colm-lacey-why-we-set-up-our-own-architectural-practice. Colm Lacey, director of development at Croydon Council, says the authority’s new in-house architectural practice will share the guiding principles of the ‘fabled council architects departments’ Change is definitely afoot in Croydon. The primping and preening of land trading has given way to a more considered and …

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To meet housing need we need simple, deliverable schemes

First published in The Architects Journal, 30 June 2015 – https://www.architectsjournal.co.uk/news/opinion/to-meet-housing-needs-we-need-simple-deliverable-schemes To be genuinely effective in meeting dire housing need, we must create simple, deliverable schemes, says Croydon Council’s Colm Lacey If there is one thing everyone seems to agree on, from Mark Carney to Russell Brand, it is that we are in the grip …

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