Old Oak needs government to bust silos

Three London boroughs have called on the government to work more closely with them to realise the regeneration benefits of big infrastructure investment like HS2.

The Leaders of Hammersmith & Fulham (LBHF), Westminster (WCC) and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC) say that getting the planners of such schemes out of their government silos would make a big difference to the ultimate return on such investments.

HS2, the £32billion rapid rail link between London and Birmingham will see a new interchange station just north of Wormwood Scrubs at Old Oak Common.

Dubbed Park Royal City International by LBHF, the interchange with Crossrail is expected to be used by around a third of all HS2 passengers.

However, say the councils, there are currently no firm HS2 plans for ‘over-site’ development at the station. They argue that HS2 would be capable of delivering many more new jobs and homes than currently envisaged if Government departments worked more closely with them.

If the railway design were optimised to facilitate development above and around the HS2 hub station, as well as the proposed Kensal Green Crossrail station, the area could deliver 21,000 new homes and 196,000 new jobs, and be worth £74billion – providing a 25% boost to London’s growth over the next thirty years.

“A radical shift is needed in the way Whitehall interacts with councils if we are going to maximise the potential of major infrastructure projects to generate growth,” says Cllr Nicholas Botterill, H&F Council Leader. “HS2 is not just a railway line, it has huge potential to be the catalyst that creates large numbers of new homes and jobs along the route. But Government departments need to work more closely with local authorities so that we rewire services around people and places rather than Government silos.”

Cllr Sir Merrick Cockell, the Leader of RBKC, added: “There is getting on for billion pounds of value locked up in the Kensal site, to unlock it we need a Crossrail station. It is not always easy to get transport specialists to see the economic case we need Central Government to step back and see the big picture and to work with local authorities to realise the potential of these sites.”

Cllr Botterill continues: “Maximising regeneration and development on the back of major infrastructure projects needs to be a cross-government responsibility. In the case of the HS2 that means central Government needs to work with us to ensure that the configuration of the stations and depots at Park Royal City International and Kensal support regeneration.

“HS2 has the potential to unleash the creation of a new business hub bigger than Canary Wharf but only if the Whitehall bureaucrats start seeing this as a regeneration project, which needs local input and expertise, rather than just a railway project.”

This entry was posted in Hammersmith and Fulham. Bookmark the permalink.