OPDC’s Local Plan examination in public has been continuing during the summer and the Planning Inspector has now issued his interim findings report.
OPDC say this shows the Inspector considers OPDC’s plans for the first phase of development in Old Oak North to be deliverable and has directed them to make some changes to the Local Plan to support the delivery of this phase of development.
The Inspector has directed OPDC to remove the Cargiant site allocation from the current Local Plan in order for it to be judged sound. In his report he talks particularly about an important new road – Union Way – connecting Old Oak Common Lane to Scrubs Lane, which affects “both land used operationally by CarGiant and also land owned by and tenanted from CarGiant.”
He says that he has concluded “it ought to be possible to arrive at a resolution of Phase 1a (the first phase of development)”.
OPDC say the Local Plan will retain policies supporting earlier delivery of mixed use development if market conditions improve. The Cargiant site makes up around 16% of the Old Oak land, and only 3% of OPDC’s overall 650 hectare development boundary, so while it reduces the quantum of development, there are still significant investment and development opportunities across the area. There is already a planning pipeline of around 7000 homes across the OPDC area, which would meet around 30% of their overall aspirations.
The Planning Inspector has approved OPDC’s proposals to remove the Strategic Industrial Location designation across the entirety of Old Oak North to support mixed use development, paving the way for future development.
David Lunts, OPDC Chief Executive Officer said: “OPDC welcomes the publication of the Planning Inspector’s interim report which we will be considering carefully before making our final representations. Whilst this is just the interim report, meaning that the Local Plan process is not yet resolved, the initial findings are encouraging as they endorse our aim of bringing forward the first phase of development. This will provide new access, utilities and other infrastructure to enable 3,000 homes and many new jobs for Londoners.
“The Inspector’s decision not to designate the remainder of Cargiant’s land for future housing development at this stage is not entirely unexpected, given Cargiant’s strong opposition and their recent change of heart to keep their business on the site. He has, however, de-designated the site from its protected strategic industrial designation, and given the recent announcement of a two-year delay to the opening of the HS2 station at Old Oak, and the Oakervee review of the entire HS2 scheme, we appreciate that it may be some time before the rest of Cargiant’s site comes forward for redevelopment. We will of course continue to work closely with the Inspector, Cargiant and other landowners to see our Local Plan through to adoption.”
The Inspector noted that Cargiant is a highly successful and profitable business with prospects for growth. It employs about 800 people directly and a further 1,200 indirectly. His report says that its extinction would not make sense in planning terms, nor does its relocation at an expense which would make the site unviable.