Please support local involvement in OPDC plans

Logo as GIF 2The public consultation on our proposals for an Old Oak neighbourhood forum and neighbourhood plan ended on June 15th 2017.   Thanks to everyone who responded to the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC) during the six week consultation exercise.

The OPDC has published the consultation responses on its website, and they can be downloaded from this ‘Get Involved’ page or seen here oonf-consultationfeedback.   The current timetable is for the OPDC Planning Committee to consider the OONF designation application on September 6th, and to make a recommendation to the OPDC Board on September 12th.  OPDC will make the decision on the parts of the proposed boundary within its border, while LB Hammersmith and Fulham will make the decision on areas such as College Park and the Old Oak Estate.

There were 229 responses to the consultation, which we think is a larger number than for any other neighbourhood plan proposals in London to date.  There are some queries we have yet to sort out with OPDC (such as two different responses from certain individuals) but on our analysis the overall picture is as follows:

Supporting the proposed Forum and idea of a neighbourhood plan for Old Oak                        66

Supporting the proposed Forum and the specific boundary proposed by OONF                       114

Neutral response, while flagging up certain issues (Canal and River Trust, HSE, HS2)             3

Suggesting a separate OOFRA boundary and excluding Wormwood Scrubs                              34

Suggesting OOFRA boundary only                                                                                                   1

Suggesting variations to the boundary (Historic England, Stonebridge, No.1, No.5)                  4

Other comments (protect Scrubs, no tall buildings) No.75, No.78                                                   2

No response shown (65, 66 and 216)                                                                                             3 

Objections from landowners/developers (Cargiant, QPR, TVH, Latymer, Fruition, CBRE)        

Objections from statutory bodies (Mayor, TfL, Network Rail)                                                     3

Hence there is a strong majority for a neighbourhood forum to be designated and for an Old Oak neighbourhood plan to proceed, with some issues to be resolved over the boundary.

We are not surprised (but disappointed) that landowners such as QPR, Cargiant/London & Regional Properties, and agents CBRE have asked for their development sites to be taken out of the proposed neighbourhood area boundary.   This unwillingness to see local people put together a neighbourhood plan does not say much for the commitment of these developers to consult and engage with the public.

We are not impressed by the negative consultation responses from the Mayor of London (an officer response from GLA), from Transport for London, and from Network Rail.  All three responses betray a lack of knowledge of Government guidance on neighbourhood planning, and the extent to which Londoners are now using this part of the planning system.  For example, the proposed Old Oak neighbourhood area is not ‘unprecedented’ in its size at 275 hectares, and neighbourhood plans can include so called ‘strategic sites’.  HS2 has submitted a more neutral and better informed response to the consultation.

A set of responses has been submitted by members of the Old Oak Friends and Residents Association (OOFRA).   This proposes a separate neighbourhood forum and area area covering the Old Oak Estate and the streets between Ducane Road and the A40, as far east as Pioneer Way.  Inclusion of these streets in the Old Oak neighbourhood boundary was discussed by OONF back in 2016 but at that time there was no sign of strong support for this option of extending the boundary.

Hammersmith & Fulham Council will now facilitate meetings between OONF and the Old Oak Friends and Residents Association before making decisions on neighbourhood boundaries.

The responses from OOFRA (which are in the same format) propose that Wormwood Scrubs and the Linford Christie Stadium should not be included in any designated neighbourhood area.  We do not understand this view, as a neighbourhood plan offers local people a real opportunity to influence the future of the Scrubs as a whole.  Many other respondents to the recent consultation made clear that they wish to be involved in decisions on how and to what extent to which the Scrubs should change, as 24,500 new homes are built at Old Oak.

As the local planning authority for the OPDC area, the Board of the Development Corporation has the right to vary the boundary of the proposed Old Oak neighbourhood area.  Major changes to proposed neighbourhood areas put forward in other parts of the country, inside and outside London, have been rare in the 5 years since these plans were introduced.  The local planning authority needs sound planning grounds for imposing major changes, and is required to publish its reasons for making them. We will be updating this page as negotiations continue.

Background

Old Oak is a part of west London about to be transformed.  It is the proposed location for the HS2/Crossrail interchange at Old Oak Common due to be completed by 2026.  Until now, much of the area has been in railway and industrial use, and lies undeveloped.

The Old Oak Interim Neighbourhood Forum has been meeting over the 15 months.  We are a group of local residents who care about the area.  We are independent of the four planning authorities, HS2, and the various developers preparing masterplans and proposals for Old Oak.   We want to use the powers available to local people to prepare a neighbourhood plan for Old Oak.

If you either live or work in the proposed neighbourhood area (see the map below) you are entitled to become a forum member.  If you are on the electoral register you will have a vote in the local referendum on the final neighbourhood plan.

There is no membership fee to join the forum.  If you are interested but live or work outside the proposed boundary, you can still join although you will not have a vote at the eventual referendum.  To join, please get in touch at oonforum@gmail.com (and give us your street address and postcode.  Your house or flat number is not needed).

Blue line shows proposed boundary of Old Oak neighbourhood area
Blue line shows proposed boundary of Old Oak neighbourhood area

Most planning decisions for the Old Oak area are no longer taken by the London Boroughs of Ealing and of Hammersmith & Fulham.  Since April 2015, the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC) has taken on planning powers.   This body is overseen by Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London.

The chair of the OPDC Board is Liz Peace CBE.  The Board includes the Leaders of the Boroughs of Brent, Ealing and Hammersmith & Fulham along with a number of appointed members.

Current plans for a future Old Oak involve 24,500 new homes being built in the next couple of decades.  In Old Oak and neighbouring Park Royal, 55,000 new jobs are due to be created.

The public sector already own over 70% of land in Old Oak, and it has been agreed in principle to transfer this land from central Government to the OPDC over the coming years.

The OPDC is entering the final stages of preparing a new Local Plan for Old Oak and Park Royal.  A first round of public consultation took place in early 2016.  A second round started on June 29th, and will run until September 11th 2017.  Details of the Draft Local Plan and the consultation exercise are at this link.

Neighbourhood forums are granted powers under the 2011 Localism Act to prepare a neighbourhood plan for their area.   When completed, these plans are voted on at a local referendum.  If supported by a majority of those voting, the policies in a neighbourhood plan become part of the statutory development plan for the area.  Future planning decisions then have to be in accordance with these policies.

The interim forum has worked hard to build relationships with the OPDC, and with the major developers who are already making big decisions about the long-term future of this part of London.   But this does not mean that we agree with every policy in the emerging Local Plan.

We want the existing communities at Old Oak to be integrated successfully in what will be a whole new part of London.  We want the best examples of successful urban living across Europe to be followed.  We also want lessons to be learned from past unsuccessful regeneration projects in the UK.

Other pages on this website give more details of who we are, and the story so far.