|Old Oak Regeneration Plans a Mess Says Mayor|
Sadiq Khan accuses Boris Johnson of getting a poor deal on land acquisition
Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, has launched a scathing attack on the plans for the regeneration of the Old Oak area saying they were left in a mess by his predecessor.
His formal review of the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC) concludes that the deals made to acquire land between Boris Johnson and the Government were made in haste and the terms agreed to were not favourable for the area. It claims further that other areas on the HS2 route have received a higher level of central Government funding with Birmingham for instance getting a new Metro station fully funded by the Government. The positioning of the Crossrail depot and maintenance facility is also criticised with the report saying that it has reduced the availability of developable land and depressed potential land values in the area.
The Mayor is requesting that the Government shoulders more of the financial burden of providing infrastructure around the site and not require his London administration to meet such a high proportion of the costs. He believes that the current arrangement will make it difficult to offer a reasonable proportion of genuinely affordable housing in the scheme. He also wants parcels of land to the north of Old Oak transferred to him earlier ahead of the main deal being concluded to speed up development. He also wants a new Chair to be appointed to signal the his intent to bring forward development and that residents and businesses should be involved in the planning process and some OPDC functions should be moved within the Mayor’s proposed new Homes for Londoners organisation.
Sadiq Khan, said: “Old Oak and Park Royal is one of the most important regeneration projects in London but it has been left in a mess by my predecessor.
“We need to make sure the fundamentals are in place now so we get the best deal for Londoners.
“It is clear from this review that Boris Johnson was rushing headlong into agreeing a land deal with Government that was not in the city’s best interests, potentially reducing the amount of affordable housing that can be obtained from the site. I will continue to lobby Government to ensure this scheme meets the needs of the city and that we squeeze every drop of potential out of this opportunity.”
The pace of development at Old Oak has increased and development to the north of the Grand Union Canal has come forward at a faster rate than expected. Planning permission for the Oaklands development was granted in August, providing 605 new homes. A target of 50 per cent affordable housing has been agreed with the developer, Genesis Housing Association, and Queens Park Rangers FC following an intervention by the Mayor to boost the number of affordable homes through investment and a profit-sharing mechanism.
A new High Speed 2 (HS2) and Crossrail Station is due to be constructed at Old Oak Common by 2026. OPDC was established in April 2015 to oversee development for the wider area and has full planning powers within its 650 hectare boundary that includes land in the boroughs of Hammersmith & Fulham, Ealing and Brent.
We contacted Sir Edward Lister who was Chair of OPDC until May 2016 when Sadiq Khan became Mayor to ask for a comment but have yet to receive a response.
November 3, 2016