Sadiq orders OPDC review

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has launched a formal review of the Old Oak & Park Royal Development Corporation.

The Mayor has called the review of the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC) to “ensure Londoners reap the maximum benefits ‎of the huge regeneration opportunity in this part of the capital”.

The Mayor says he is particularly keen to ensure that the plans deliver the highest amount of genuinely affordable homes possible.

The review will also scrutinise the terms of a Memorandum of Understanding agreed in March this year that paves the way for OPDC to take ownership from Government of public land surrounding the proposed new station.‎ Sadiq Khan wants to be reassured about the nature of the offer and is concerned about how much money it will cost to make the land viable for development, potentially, he fears, impacting on the amount of genuinely affordable homes the scheme would deliver.

The Mayor says he thinks that former Mayor Boris Johnson “may have rushed into this deal without doing the due diligence checks that would be expected, particularly regarding existing land ownerships and other technical planning requirements”.

Sadiq Khan is concerned that London gets a similarly favourable deal to other locations along the HS2 route, including Birmingham and the regeneration of Ebbsfleet, which will be in receipt of significant central Government investment.

Deputy Mayor for Housing, James Murray said: “Old Oak and Park Royal is one of the most important regeneration projects in London with scope to deliver tens of thousands of new homes and jobs. Although it will be the early 2020s before any significant numbers of new homes are built we need to act now to ensure this project benefits as many Londoners as possible, as quickly as possible. This review will take a detailed look at past decisions made by Boris Johnson and the future direction of the Development Corporation. We are particularly keen to hear from industry experts who can help us ensure that this scheme delivers maximum value for Londoners.”

The review will also work to ensure that the views of residents of those boroughs are reflected in any future decisions, as well as considering the funding required for infrastructure at Old Oak Common to ensure development there is properly integrated with surrounding communities and that residential development delivers “a mix of genuinely affordable housing types”.‎

In addition, it will investigate constraints to development, the level of support committed by central Government to date and where additional support might be appropriate. It is expected that the review will be complete within two months.

Ealing Council welcomed the news. Leader Julian Bell said: “I am really pleased that the Mayor has taken such swift action and has announced this review.

“There is huge potential for economic growth in the area with thousands of new jobs and homes.  But, we need the right homes and jobs for local people.  We don’t want another Canary Wharf style development in West London that leaves our residents on the outside looking in, rather than sharing in the benefits that this scheme should bring.

“This is too big an opportunity not to get it right, and by taking stock and reviewing what is planned this scheme could be adapted to become the leading example of modern urban regeneration.”

Ealing’s leader wrote to the Mayor soon after he was elected expressing concern that surrounding communities could be left isolated if additional infrastructure investment wasn’t made available to better link the site to these neighbourhoods.

Ealing Council would also like the Mayor to review the governance structure of the MDC so that boroughs have a greater influence over the redevelopment and the decisions being made.

Councillor Muhammed Butt, Leader of Brent Council, said: “We welcome the Mayor of London’s review to ensure that the regeneration at Old Oak and Park Royal brings maximum benefits to this part of north west London.

“There is, I feel, the need for greater ambition in the number of homes and genuine affordable homes, both critical to meeting growth projections.  By bringing together shared public land and creating stations that are not just points of transit but are developed as hubs for commerce, housing and retail, and even more integration of rail services, such as a Crossrail spur to Wembley, our residents can easily access jobs across London.

“Brent Council’s main priority is to secure improvements that support local residents including significant numbers of new affordable homes, new job opportunities and enhanced transport links. It’s also important that the regeneration happens in a way that complements existing town centres including Harlesden.

“We look forward to contributing to the Mayor’s review.”

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