Peace to chair OPDC

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has announced his intention to appoint Liz Peace CBE as the new Chair of the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation.

Peace will be asked to spearhead the delivery of tens of thousands of new homes and jobs at Old Oak, and across Park Royal.

Liz Peace was until recently Chief Executive of the British Property Federation and has also been Honorary President of the Property Litigation Association, Chair of the Centre for London think tank and Chair of the Shadow Government Property Agency. Her appointment is subject to a confirmation hearing before the London Assembly.

Old Oak and Park Royal aims to build on the arrival of a new High Speed 2 (HS2) and Crossrail Station due to be constructed at Old Oak by 2026, bringing massive regeneration to the area, delivering 24,000 new homes and 55,000 jobs in Old Oak and 1,500 new homes and 10,000 jobs on the adjoining Park Royal industrial estate.

OPDC was established by the previous Mayor, Boris Johnson, in April 2015 to drive forward future development plans for the wider area. OPDC has full planning powers within its 650 hectare boundary that includes land in the boroughs of Hammersmith & Fulham, Ealing and Brent.

One of the first priorities for Liz Peace will be to implement the recommendations of a review commissioned by Sadiq Khan last year that found that the regeneration of the site has been “left in a mess” by the former Mayor.

This review was particularly critical of a deal Boris Johnson struck with the government to transfer land at Old Oak that was made on unfavourable terms compared to other major regeneration schemes in the country, potentially restricting the amount of genuinely affordable housing at Old Oak.

It also found that there is evidence that a greater level of government funding has been made available to other areas along the HS2 line. For example, Birmingham will receive significant government-led investment for a new Metro station.

Under the stewardship of Liz Peace, OPDC and the Mayor will continue to make a clear case to ministers that they will only agree to a land deal that is in the best interests of London and that the government must provide financial support and new powers to help meet the costs of infrastructure funding.

Discussions will also take place with government to determine if there are parcels of land in the north of Old Oak that can be transferred to the Mayor early and ahead of the main deal being concluded to speed up development.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “Old Oak and Park Royal is one of the most important regeneration projects in London and is set to be the largest new development in the capital since the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympic Games.

“I am looking forward to working with Liz Peace so that we can secure the best possible scheme for all Londoners.

“That means delivering the highest level of genuinely affordable homes possible and correcting the mistakes made by Boris Johnson to ensure that we only enter into a land agreement with the government that is in the best interests of the city.”

Liz Peace said: “I am thrilled to have been offered the position of Chair of the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation and I am greatly looking forward to working with the Mayor, the OPDC team, GLA, local authority partners and the private sector to turn this massive regeneration opportunity into a thriving new quarter for London. The project is not without its challenges – but large-scale regeneration is never easy. The prize however will be a series of high quality places in which Londoners will be able to live and work – and all within reach of world class new transport infrastructure.”

Victoria Hills, Chief Executive of OPDC, said: “With Royal Assent of the HS2 Bill now secured, the appointment of a Masterplanning team imminent and our Local Plan out to second stage consultation in the Spring, 2017 is going to be a big year for Old Oak and Park Royal.

“The arrival of someone of Liz Peace’s experience, reputation and razor-sharp intellect couldn’t come at a better time for OPDC as we move forward to implement the review recommendations and gear up for ground-breaking of our first major scheme this year.”‎

There are currently approximately 11,000 homes in the planning system at Old Oak, with work on the first major scheme, Oaklands, due to commence imminently. A target of 40 per cent affordable housing has been agreed for the 605-home development following an intervention by the Mayor to boost the number of affordable homes.

The OPDC Board sets the strategic direction for the Corporation.  It approves the budget and business plan, and other major and strategic issues, such as the borrowing and investment programmes and planning policy.  It appoints the members of the planning committee and any other committees that may be required.

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