Old Oak Common Development Corporation Gets Mixed Response

Council and MP protest but Cargiant boss Tony Mendes welcomes decision

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The news last week that plans to create a rail "superhub" and up to 24,000 homes at Old Oak Common have been given the go-ahead by the government have received a mixed response in the borough.

As well as the development site, the post-Olympic style Old Oak Common Development Corporation, or OPDC will have planning powers over the Park Royal industrial estate, as well as the nearby stations of North Acton and Willesden Junction, among other areas. Is it claimed the area's redevelopment will create 55,000 jobs.

Hammersmith and Fulham Council has already condemned the creation of the corportation, saying that taking away local planning powers on one of the capital’s biggest housing projects is "an anti-democratic land grab" which gives the potential for the Mayor to allow the building of properties for overseas speculators rather than homes Londoners can afford.

Following last week's announcement, council leader Stephen Cowan reiterated that while he supported the idea of a corporation, the proposed version gave too much power to developers to build units for overseas investors. He added: " I urge MPs to vote this down and force the mayor back to the negotiating table."

He was backed by Andy Slaughter, MP for Hammersmith, including Old Oak Common, who said: " I am all in favour of regeneration they have to build housing for Londoners, it cannot be all 'ghost' housing for overseas investors."

Julian Bell, leader of neighbouring Ealing council, said he feared the development corporation would " miss the opportunity to create a new community which is genuinely affordable for ordinary Londoners and is not characterised by serried ranks of flats".

However, the corporation received the thumbs up from Tony Mendes, Managing Director of car dealership Cargiant, who said: " Cargiant welcome the decision by the Secretary of State to approve the establishment of the MDC at Old Oak and Park Royal. This shows the momentum behind the project and we look forward to working with the MDC as we continue to develop our early plans for this important site.

" The Cargiant site is the largest privately owned in the proposed MDC area and we see our long term regeneration plans as central to unlocking the Mayor’s vision for Old Oak Common."

Cargiant owns 47 acres of land at Old Oak Common, and has plans to build Old Oak Park, which would have a new town centre providing 9,500 homes and a new high street, two schools and a cultural hub. However, Queens Park Rangers also has plans to build a new stadium on the site.

February 2, 2015