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30/03/2017

Khan to appoint Liz Peace CBE as Old Oak and Park Royal chair

Words: Laura Edgar
Park Royal Station

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has announced his intention to appoint Liz Peace CBE as the new chair of the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC).

Should the London Assembly approve the appointment, she will lead the corporation as it builds out its plans to deliver 24,000 new homes and 55,000 jobs in West London.

In June last year, Khan launched a review of the development corporation, stating that it would scrutinise the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding agreed in March 2016.

Following the review, Khan said plans to regenerate the site had been left in a mess by his predecessor Boris Johnson. He criticised 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.

Peace has more than 35 years of experience in government and the property sector. She was the chief executive of the British Property Federation and has been an honorary president of the Property Litigation Association, chair of the Centre for London think tank and chair of the Shadow Government Property Agency.

One of Peace’s first priorities, according to a statement by the mayor, is to implement the recommendations of Khan’s review. He said under the stewardship of Peach, he and OPDC would continue to make a clear case to ministers that they will only agree a land deal that is in the best interests of London. The government must provide financial support and new powers to help meet the costs of infrastructure under the deal, said Khan.

Discussions will also take place with the government to see if some land north of Old Oak can be transferred to the mayor early.

Peace said: “The project is not without its challenges – but large-scale regeneration is never easy. The prize, however, will be a series of high-quality places in which Londoners will be able to live and work – and all within reach of world-class new transport infrastructure.”

Victoria Hills, chief executive of OPDC, said: “The arrival of someone of Liz Peace’s experience, reputation and razor-sharp intellect couldn’t come at a better time for OPDC as we move forward to implement the review recommendations and gear up for groundbreaking of our first major scheme this year.”‎

Work on the first major scheme, Oaklands, is due to start imminently. A target of 40 per cent affordable housing has been agreed for the 605-home development.

Conservative London Assembly member Gareth Bacon said: "I'm very pleased the Mayor has appointed a new chair but it's a shame it has taken him the best part of a year.

"The first thing Liz Peace will have to work out is how to manage the 40 per cent budget cut imposed on the OPDC by Sadiq Khan in February.

"The £4.5 million shortfall on last year's revised budget risks the building of thousands of homes and brings into question the Mayor's commitment to what is a vital housing and regeneration project for London."


Read more:

Old Oak and Park Royal regeneration: What you need to know


Image credit | Sunil Prasannan

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