This time last year, our Forum made submissions to two committees at the London Assembly. We asked these committees to request the Mayor of London to commission a second review of the track record of the OPDC and its future plans.
The Mayor has a statutory duty to review the work of the OPDC ‘from time to time’. The first and only review took place in 2016 and was carried out internally by an Executive Director at the GLA. We believe that an independent review is needed this time round.
Last month, our November 2023 submission to the Assembly’s Budget and Performance Committee was available via a link on the front page of this website. That front page has since been updated. The document can now be found at this link OONF submission to Band P committee Nov 2023 final
The OPDC Board met on November 23rd. Unusually there is no webcast recording of this meeting on the London Mayor website, as it was held at a one-off venue at Oaklands Rise. OONF and GUA representatives attended as members of the public.
The meeting included a presentation from HS2 on the position at Old Oak Common station, following the Government announcements on October 4th. This was followed by Board members asking questions of HS2. Slides from our last OONF/GUA meeting on December 5th give more detail.
Put simply, we do not believe the claims from HS2 and OPDC that little or nothing has changed for the prospects of ‘strategic transformation’ of the area surrounding Old Oak Common station, as a consequence of cancellation of the HS2 project north of Birmingham.
We have questioned many times in recent years the claims made made by HS2 that Old Oak will become the ‘best connected location in the UK’. And also the (continued) claim from OPDC that Old Oak will have ‘unparalleled connectivity’.
If ever true, these claims ceased to reflect reality once it became clear that a new Hythe Road Overground station fell off the agenda, a new Old Oak Common Lane Overground station remains unfunded, and no new east/west road connections are provided for in the OPDC Local Plan.
We are therefore submitting a further note to the London Assembly Budget and Performance Committee, following the November 23rd OPDC Board meeting. Impact of HS2 cancellation on OPDC plans for Old Oak.draft. This committee will be reviewing the OPDC 2024/5 budget of £11.8m at its meeting on December 12th.
This further note repeats our request for an independent review of OPDC and highlights issues on which we see OPDC (and HS2) as continuing with a fixed and over-ambitious vision of the impact of the rail interchange at Old Oak on the surrounding area.
As local people, eight years into the life of the OPDC and after many changes to the 2015 ‘vision’, we longer see OPDC plans as credible. A new iteration of the London Plan will provide an opportunity for revised and more realistic proposals.