Old Oak MDC approved, QPR boosted

qpr old oak dec 2013Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has approved the setting up of the Old Oak Mayoral Development Corporation, with Sir Edward Lister giving a boost to QPR’s plans of moving there.

Following the Secretary of State’s approval, the proposal will need to be ratified by Parliament before the MDC takes control of the area on April 1, 2015.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson said: “The vast new station at Old Oak Common presents us with an almost unprecedented opportunity to transform an area the size of a small London borough into a thriving new part of the capital, with unrivalled transport links to central London, the rest of the country and beyond. London will shortly become home to more people than ever before and there is no doubt that this scheme will provide a real shot- in-the-arm as we look to provide the new homes and jobs that we desperately need.”

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said: “Housebuilding is a key part of the Government’s long-term economic plan – so it is absolutely right that delivering new homes is at the heart of this exciting regeneration scheme. Today’s deal will create a whole new community in West London, delivering up to 24,000 new homes and over 50,000 new jobs, with excellent transport links both into the capital and across the country.”

The OPDC will look to emulate the London Legacy Development Corporation that has led the post-Olympic regeneration of Stratford. The starting point is very different. The area that became the Olympic Park was mostly wasteland. Park Royal is a thriving business district with 2500 companies and 70,000 jobs already. The risk of damaging what is an essential part of London’s economy is real.

However, the prize is also large. The Mayor’s Office believes that Old Oak could provide almost 14 per cent of Greater London’s employment needs up to 2031.

So it’s no surprise that the Mayor is careful to point out that as well as promoting and delivering physical, social, economic and environmental regeneration, the Corporation will 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 is also intended that it will take on planning powers across the Old Oak and Park Royal area, including determination of planning applications and plan-making, which will enable the Corporation to charge the Community Infrastructure Levy once it has in place the necessary charging schedule.

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 to ensure local accountability. The Mayor says that it is intended that the OPDC will agree arrangements to delegate the determination of certain planning applications back to the boroughs.

QPR vs Cargiant

At the centre of the development is a dispute between the football club who have announced their desire to move to the location, and the owner of most of the land required – Cargiant – who have started work on their own plans for their site, which do not include a stadium.

Sir Edward is quoted in the Financial Times as saying “we would like to see one (a stadium)” when talking about Old Oak.

QPR Chairman Tony Fernandes has welcomed the comments. He also confirmed work continues on what would be a multi-billion pound regeneration project, which, he says, would deliver much more than just a stadium, also providing “thousands of homes, creating tens of thousands of jobs and providing community facilities”.

“This is another important boost to our plans, and to the overall plan of regenerating Old Oak – London’s forgotten quarter,” Fernandes told www.qpr.co.uk.

“I spent last Tuesday at various meetings and I’m more optimistic that things are falling into place.”

The club plans to transform a large area of under-used land at Old Oak into a thriving and sustainable new quarter for London – with a new stadium acting as the catalyst for new homes, businesses, schools, health facilities and jobs for local people.

“We have worked hard and things are moving in the right direction,” Fernandes added.

“What I can say to our fans is that it’s a daily project with daily effort.

“We have the support of key decision makers, who we will continue to work closely with to make it happen.

“I am confident we will find a way to work with the major landowners there, so I remain optimistic that we will find a way to deliver this dream.”

Today the club launched a new film that shows how new stadia can deliver regeneration – and why the same can happen at Old Oak if QPR move there.



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