What future for Old Oak?

Logo as GIF 2

 

 

 

Our next Zoom session (open to all OONF and GUA members) will be at 6.30pm on Tuesday May 4th.  Email oonforum@gmail.com to join the Forum.

Our last session on April 6th discussed the latest state of play on the resumed Examination of the OPDC Local Plan.   

There will be a 6 week public consultation on the ‘Post Submission Modifications’ to this fourth version of a Draft Plan.  But this will not get underway until after the London Mayoral elections on May 6th.

In the meantime, much work is being done in preparing further representations to Planning Inspector Paul Clark.

Having studied the extent and significance of the OPDC’s proposed ‘modifications’ the view of OONF, the St Quintin and Woodlands Neighbourhood Forum, and the Friends of Wormwood Scrubs is that OPDC need to start again on a full rewrite.

Too many changes are proposed to be incorporated by a series of amendments to the text of the version of the Plan submitted to the Inspector in October 2018.    

 

In our February 2021 document A PLEA TO THE OPDC PLANNING COMMITTEE.V4 we explained why this ‘modified’ Plan is not an improvement on earlier versions.  

Proposals for a new ‘major Old Oak Town Centre’ have become confused, with three separate locations now identified in the Plan as ‘parts of the Major Town Centre’.  No new road network is proposed, linking East Acton to Scrubs Lane, until after 21 years.  The once planned new Overground stations are not going to happen.  The case for ‘transit- oriented high density housing‘ falls away.  There will be no vehicle access to the eastern end of a 1km long Old Oak Common rail interchange, being built at a cost of £1.3bn for a planned opening in 2029-2033.

OPDC Infrastructure Delivery

We continue to argue that there should be a fallback ‘Plan B’ for the Channel Gate/Atlas Road area.  This could be progressed via the neighbourhood planning framework while OPDC had a rethink on Local Plan proposals.

Slide10

OPDC proposals for ‘part of a major town centre’ and 3,100 new homes at Channel Gate/Atlas Road

Further background

Old Oak is a part of west London lying at the heart of the UK’s largest urban regeneration project.  It is the location of the  HS2/Queen Elizabeth Line rail interchange at Old Oak Common station, on which construction started in 2020.

Since April 2015 the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC) has been the planning authority for 650 hectares lying within the London Boroughs of Ealing, Brent, and Hammersmith & Fulham.   The OPDC is accountable to an appointed board, and ultimately to the Mayor of London.

Because of its future connectivity to the national rail system, Old Oak has been earmarked for many years as one of London’s major ‘opportunity areas’.   The rail interchange is seen as a catalyst for high density commercial and residential development, in the same way that the Olympic Park was created as the core of a new part of East London.

Back in 2015, a target of 24,000 new homes at Old Oak was set in the revised London Plan.  This target says the same in the 2021 London Plan.   Yet during 2020, London’s patterns of travel and working  changed out of all recognition during the pandemic.  Demand for office space in central London has slumped.  No one yet knows how far it will be ‘back to normal’ in 2021 but many believe that aspects of global city life have changed for good.

Much of Old Oak has remained as industrial and railway land, bisected by the Grand Union Canal.   In 2015 a group of local residents associations in the area came together as an ‘interim’ neighbourhood forum.  Our original aim was to achieve designation of a 280 hectare Old Oak neighbourhood area, and to prepare a neighbourhood plan which would help to integrate the existing residential settlements within and around the edge of the OPDC boundary.

After many months of discussion with the Corporation and with Hammersmith & Fulham Council, both these planning authorities rejected the boundary we had proposed (shown in blue on the map below).  In September 2017, the OPDC designated a much reduced 22 hectare are in East Acton (see green boundary below).  Hammersmith and Fulham Council designated a separate (but nearby) boundary as the old Oak Estate neighbourhood area (see brown boundary below).

Details of the reasons for these decisions, as published by each authority, can be found here and here.  Following a further designation application, the Old Oak Neighbourhood Forum was designated in February 2018.  This body has the legal powers to prepare a neighbourhood plan for the 22 hectare area that includes the Wesley Estate, the Island site (TITRA railway cottages), Midland Terrace/Shaftesbury Gardens and Wells House Road.

Area designated by OPDC has green boundary. Old Oak Estate designated by LBHF has brown boundary. Original OONF proposed area in blue.

No organisation has yet come forward to apply for designation as an Old Oak Estate Neighbourhood Forum, in Hammersmith & Fulham.  This area remains one of two ‘orphan’ neighbourhood areas in the Borough.

The Forum held its inaugural meeting in May 2018.  Its membership is open  to ‘full members’ (i.e. those who live or work within the 22 hectare boundary) and to ‘affiliate members’ (those who live or work in the wider area).

Please get in touch by emailing oonforum@gmail.com if you wish to join the Forum as a full member or an ‘affiliated member.’  There is no membership fee to join.

Other pages on this website give more details of who we are and the story so far.  These include a second draft of our neighbourhood plan (2020 version).