OPDC launches Park Royal plan

The Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation  has launched a new initiative that aims to strengthen London’s largest industrial estate and support its future competitiveness.

The GLA says Park Royal is home to 2,000 businesses and employs more than 30,000 people. Other estimates suggest the numbers might be more like 3000 businesses and 70,000 jobs. Either way, it is home to successful UK brands including Carphone Warehouse and Diageo as well as hundreds of small independent businesses which play a vital role in supporting London’s economy.

The estate, often dubbed ‘London’s Kitchen’, is situated adjacent to Old Oak, set to become home to a High Speed 2 (HS2) and Crossrail Station by 2026, handling 250,000 passengers a day and acting as a “super hub”.

The Mayor of London believes the development at Old Oak, and enhancement of the industrial estate at Park Royal has the potential to create up to 65,000 new jobs, making a major contribution to London’s future economic growth. In April last year he established the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation to spearhead the regeneration of the area.

Relatively little was known about the diversity of Park Royal’s businesses until the Mayor published the Park Royal Atlas in 2014 – an initiative recognised by a commendation in the Place West London Regeneration Showcase. This identified key sectors including food manufacturing, logistics and the film industry. The Atlas revealed that during the course of a year, Park Royal businesses provide London with 240,000 bouquets of flowers, 300,000 rolls of sushi, 3,000 recording sessions and supply 24,000 books to university libraries.

To ensure that Park Royal remains competitive into the future, and that its businesses are able to take full advantage of the investment at Old Oak, OPDC is now starting to develop a Park Royal Business Plan. This will see the OPDC engaging directly with companies to hear their thoughts and concerns about the challenges and opportunities they face so that an effective plan can be developed to ensure they can continue to thrive.

Sir Edward Lister, Deputy Mayor for Planning and Chairman of the OPDC said: “Since its beginnings over a century ago, Park Royal has become one of the most significant industrial areas in Europe, boasting some hugely successful businesses and acting as a key driver of the capital’s economy. We want Park Royal companies to be at the very forefront of this vast regeneration scheme so they can reap the huge benefits and continue to thrive and grow for another hundred years.”

Victoria Hills, OPDC Chief Executive Officer said: “Over the coming months we will be reaching out to the businesses of Park Royal and beyond so we can understand what will make it successful and competitive in the short, medium, and longer term. We are at the beginning of an incredibly exciting journey and we look forward to a long and successful relationship with Park Royal as we work to deliver one of London’s most exciting districts.”

The development of the business plan will be managed by Lori Hoinkes, recently appointed as the OPDC’s dedicated Park Royal Business Manager. Lori joins the Corporation from the private sector, where she has held senior management roles across major manufacturing companies in both Canada and the UK.

Rahul Gokhale, Co-Chair, Park Royal Business Group and OPDC Board member said: “Park Royal businesses are aware that Park Royal faces a number of challenges and that upcoming development in the area will add further pressure to local infrastructure. However, we believe OPDC offers an opportunity for Park Royal to get the attention and support it needs and we welcome the appointment of Lori as the dedicated Park Royal Manager”.

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