Old Oak & Park Royal regeneration chief insists project still making progress

Old Oak & Park Royal regeneration chief insists project still making progress

The mayoral body responsible for delivering one of the UK’s largest regeneration programmes in north-west London has rejected claims that the findings of the government planning inspector amount to “devastating news” for the project.

In a statement, David Lunts, chief executive of the Old Oak and Park Royal development corporation (OPDC), has insisted that the inspector’s interim assessment of the statutory Local Plan for the 1,600 acre area provides encouragement for a first phase of house building, even though it also says the OPDC’s intention to take substantial quantities of land from used car dealership Cargiant for building homes on should not be pursued on grounds of cost for at least 20 years.

Last week, Cargiant reacted with delight to the interim finding by Paul Clark, who was appointed OPDC Local Plan inspector by the government, that two pieces of the land it occupies on the north side of the Grand Union Canal should be “deleted” from the plan because the expense of relocating the business or compensating it for forcing its closure would make providing sufficient numbers of affordable homes and the transport and other infrastructure required for a new residential area financially impossible.

However, Lunts says this decision was “not entirely unexpected” at this stage in the project and highlights the inspector’s separate approval of plans for getting around 3,000 homes built long a proposed new road, to be called Union Way, connecting Old Oak Common Lane to Scrubs Lane, which would impinge on Cargiant land to some degree.

Cargiant has proposed an alternative route for the road which it says would have a less adverse effect on its operations, though it acknowledges this option would support around 1,000 fewer homes. The inspector notes comments made during the Local Plan’s examination in public that “potential for reaching an accommodation” exists.

Lunts also says in his statement that, “Already, OPDC has met almost 30 per cent of its housing target” of 25,500 homes for the entire regeneration area, a reference to 7,000 either under construction or going through the planning process across the regeneration area as a whole.

To the south of the canal a site called Oaklands, developed in partnership by Notting Hill Genesis and Queens Park Rangers Football Club, is producing over 600 homes, and to the west on the Park Royal section housing association L&Q and Fairview New Homes are building an 807-home development called Regency Heights as part of a larger project called First Central. Other applications have been submitted for a variety of sites, mostly to the north of the canal close to Cargiant.

The OPDC was set up in 2015 by Boris Johnson when he was London Mayor and kept in place by Sadiq Khan after a review. Johnson predicted that a new transport super hub at the intended meeting place of the High Speed 2 rail link to the north of England and Crossrail would enable a “Canary Wharf of West London” to rise in the area, which falls into the adjoining boroughs of Hammersmith & Fulham, Ealing and Brent.

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