Queens Park Rangers FC and their development partners, Stadium Capital Developments, have concluded a letter of collaboration with the Greater London Authority and the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham aiming to site a new stadium in the Old Oak Common regeneration area.
The news follows that Boris Johnson intends a Mayoral Development Corporation for the area.
Old Oak Common, just to the north of Wormwood Scrubs, has been identified as the location for a new High Speed 2 and Crossrail station, potentially making it one of the best connected railway stations in the UK.
Hammersmith & Fulham Council have a vision for a transformation of the 155 hectare site around the proposed station into a new district with up to 24,000 new homes and 55,000 jobs.
The Mayor of London’s Office and H&F Council have been in discussion with QPR for several months to consider the potential to explore ideas for a new stadium and significant private sector investment into the site. Now, the Mayor and H&F Council have announced that they hope to strengthen their collaborative working approach with QPR.
QPR’s plan is to develop a 40,000 capacity football stadium at the heart of the regeneration area. They hope this can be a catalyst for further regeneration to help bring about the vision of a residential and commercial area covering several hundreds of acres.
QPR’s present ground – Loftus Road in Shepherds Bush – is locked in by housing, and cannot expand. It is expected to be sold for redevelopment.
QPR Chairman, Tony Fernandes, said: “Loftus Road is – and always will be – a special place for the club and our supporters, but we need more than an 18,000 capacity.
“With no option of expanding here, we have to look elsewhere and we welcome the Mayor’s and Hammersmith & Fulham Council’s commitment to regenerate the area, which includes an option to develop a new stadium at Old Oak as a key catalyst to bring forward redevelopment, cementing our future in this part of West London.
“Not only will this give us a top quality stadium to cater for QPR’s needs as the club progresses and grows over the years ahead, but we are very excited about being the driving force behind creating one of the best new urban places in the world.”
Chair of the HS2 Growth Taskforce Lord Deighton, said: “We welcome QPR and Stadium Capital Development’s commitment to the regeneration plan at Old Oak. Delivering modern transport infrastructure such as HS2 and Crossrail can be a catalyst for regeneration in London.”
Antony Spencer, of Stadium Capital Developments, said: “We envisage a new vibrant, mixed-use and high-quality entertainment and leisure development, which will turn this neglected but tremendously well-connected area into a new world-class city quarter.
“We are talking to a number of world-class architects to design iconic tall buildings akin to New York, the Far East and London’s finest, as well as improving and incorporating the waterside environment of the Grand Union Canal. We have assembled a top-class professional team to design tens of thousands of new homes, a 350 bedroom luxury hotel and millions of square feet of entertainment and leisure focused commercial space including: retail, studios and offices, bars and clubs, restaurants, cinemas and other leisure accommodation.”
“We know we still have a long way to go in dealing with the planning, infrastructure funding challenges and business relocations but we are now in a position to forge ahead as we have secured strategic land holdings in excess of 100 acres. We are confident of securing a planning permission by early 2015 and starting development shortly afterwards. ”
Commenting on QPR’s announcement, Cllr Nicholas Botterill, H&F Council Leader, said: “Old Oak Common is set to become Britain’s first high speed super hub station and this creates unrivalled opportunities for both the public and private sectors to create new jobs, homes and opportunities around what could become the Kings Cross of west London.
“QPR is a unique local community asset and the fact that they are looking at building a 40,000 seater stadium at Old Oak is a very exciting development that could help to act as a catalyst for the wider regeneration of this part of west London.”
The Mayor recently announced that he will look into the possibility of setting up a Mayoral Development Corporation (MDC) for Old Oak to maximise the enormous benefits of the planned regeneration of the area. The MDC could unlock the regeneration potential of the area in a similar way that was done for Olympic Games in Stratford.
Mayor of London, Boris Johnson said: “The construction of a new sports stadium within the regeneration area could prove to be a real shot in the arm as we look to create an entirely new city quarter and make Old Oak Common the King’s Cross St Pancras of West London.”
The proposed station would be the largest station in the country, bigger than Waterloo, and is expected to handle more than 250,000 passengers a day and link the two largest infrastructure projects in the UK. It would also have direct access to Europe via HS1 (Eurostar), with Paris just over two hours away, and Transport for London (TfL) is making the case for maximum connectivity with links to the London Overground and the West Coast Main Line.
Five of the nation’s airports will be linked to the high-speed rail network for the first time through the Old Oak interchange. Central London and Heathrow will be just 10 minutes away, Birmingham will be 40 minutes direct from Old Oak and Luton, Gatwick and City Airport will all be within 45 minutes.