Plans to transform Old Oak Common in West London into a brand new neighbourhood creating up to 24,000 new homes and more than 55,000 jobs came under the microscope on Wednesday, December 17th as the London Assembly scrutinised proposals by the Mayor of London to set up a Mayoral Development Corporation for the area.
A vast High Speed 2 (HS2) and Crossrail Station is due to be constructed at Old Oak Common by 2026. The new station will be the size of Waterloo, handling 250,000 passengers a day and acting as a super hub between London and the rest of the UK, Europe and the world.
This represents an opportunity to bring unprecedented regeneration to the area and the Mayor believes that the new body, to be called the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC), is the best way to unlock the enormous potential of the site and deliver a £15bn boost to London’s economy over 30 years.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson said:
“This is one of the biggest and most exciting regeneration schemes for decades and will rival the impact that the Olympics had in East London. With the city’s population skyrocketing towards the nine million mark we need to squeeze every drop of potential out of this opportunity and a Mayoral Development Corporation will drive forward the delivery of the homes and jobs that London is crying out for.”
An Extraordinary Plenary of the London Assembly today considered the Mayor’s formal proposals to designate the Mayoral development area at Old Oak and Park Royal. The Mayor will now write to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Eric Pickles stating his intention to move ahead with the creation of the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation.
The OPDC will look to emulate the success of the London Legacy Development Corporation that continues to lead the post-Olympic regeneration of Stratford and East London. The Mayor’s Office believes that the regeneration opportunity could provide almost 14 per cent of Greater London’s employment needs up to 2031.
Covering 950 hectares straddling the boroughs of Hammersmith & Fulham, Brent and Ealing, the OPDC will act as a single, transparent and robust body to spearhead the regeneration and secure the best deal for Londoners.
Five of the nation’s airports will be linked to the high-speed rail network for the first time through the Old Oak Common Station. Central London and Heathrow will be just 10 minutes away, Birmingham will be 40 minutes direct from Old Oak Common and Luton, Gatwick and City Airport will all be within 45 minutes.
As well as promoting and delivering physical, social, economic and environmental regeneration, the Corporation will also safeguard and develop Park Royal as a strategic industrial location and attract long-term investment to the area, including from overseas.
Once established, the proposed OPDC would take on various statutory powers relating to infrastructure, regeneration, land acquisitions and financial assistance. It would also take on planning powers across the Old Oak and Park Royal area, including determination of planning applications. The Corporation will also be able to set a Community Infrastructure Levy.
The OPDC will be chaired by the Mayor of London or designate and it is proposed that the Corporation’s board will include councillors from the three relevant boroughs and representatives from the local community so that local people are still actively involved in the decision making processes. The OPDC will delegate certain planning applications back to the local councils for determination.
It is expected that the legislation to establish the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation will be laid before Parliament in early 2015 and that the Corporation will come into existence, with full planning powers over the entire site on April 1, 2015.