Trend Spotter

Cross the line

With the vast improvement in transport links to and from London and the constant rise in property prices, is the capital at risk of becoming an elitist destination? Nick Crayson, founder of Crayson, considers.

WHY DO PEOPLE live in London? I love the countryside, but I think that I would go insane if I had to spend all my time there. As Samuel Johnson famously said in 1777, “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.” Imagine what he would think of the capital’s offering almost 240 years later.

However, I sense a danger. Why do people pay vast premiums to live in London other than for the convenience of being here and having almost immediate access to all that it has to offer? Well, most are happy to because they want to live in London. However, many do so because they work here and it is purely for convenience.

Currently, there are some serious engineering projects in progress and others being mooted that will surely, at some stage, become a reality: I am, of course, talking about Crossrail and the potential Crossrail 2 and even 3. These projects, combined with the HS1 line and the mooted HS2, all in all are going to lead to easier access to London from areas that, until now, have not been considered commutable. It therefore may not be long before there is a serious exit. And with rising property prices, along with the SDLT burden, it may simply become too much for many.

Everyone can accept that London property is more expensive than that of the country or regions; however, there has to be commercial logic to moving and if the moving costs (yes SDLT!) are too inhibitive, people will opt for other options that will mean moving less often and many will migrate to accessible locations near these new transportation links.

It’s not long to George Osborne’s next Autumn Statement (being delivered on 25 November), so if you have any suggestions do write in #SaveLondon – otherwise it will eventually turn into another elitist destination, rather than a cultural place to live.