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02/11/2016

Khan brands Old Oak Common regeneration a ‘mess’

Words: Laura Edgar
Sadiq Khan / Shutterstock: 419649955

Plans to regenerate Old Oak in West London were left in a mess by former Mayor Boris Johnson, says current Mayor Sadiq Khan.

This is the conclusion Khan has drawn from his review of the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC).

The development at Old Oak and Park Royal aims to deliver 24,000 homes and create 55,000 jobs and the development corporation has full planning powers within the 650 hectare area.

A new High Speed 2 (HS2) and Crossrail station is due to be constructed at Old Oak by 2026.

The Planner reported in June that the mayor had launched a review of the development corporation, which aimed to make sure that Londoners benefit from the regeneration project. The following month, he approved plans for the first major housing development at Old Oak, following initial approval by the OPDC.

In the review, Khan criticises Johnson for “rushing headlong” into an agreement with the government to transfer land at Old Oak, saying it was made on less favourable terms than other regeneration projects around the country.

It also suggests that there is evidence that a greater level of government funding has been made to other areas along the HS2 line, including a metro station in Birmingham.

Additionally, it criticises the decision to put the Crossrail depot at the centre of the development, without investing in “decking” to cover it. As a result, “valuable” development land has been lost, land values for adjacent sites are “depressed” and the “ability to create an attractive place has been compromised”.

Khan said the current land deal could restrict the amount of “genuinely affordable” housing at Old Oak.

He said he would continue to make a “strong case” to government to provide financial support and devolve further fiscal powers to London to meet the cost of infrastructure.

Other recommendations include bringing some OPDC functions within the mayor’s proposed Homes for Londoners organisation and a “credible longer-term” plan to bring forward a new commercial centre at Old Oak South.

TfL should also conduct and present to the mayor a thorough options appraisal for repositioning or retrofitting the Crossrail depot.

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”.

“It is clear from this review that Boris Johnson was rushing headlong into agreeing a land deal with the 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 the government to ensure this scheme meets the needs of the city and that we squeeze every drop of potential out of this opportunity.”

Image credit | Shutterstock

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