HS2 and its detailed plans for Old Oak Common Station

HS2 has submitted to OPDC a series of applications under S17 and S16 of the HS2 Act, with details of its plans for ‘above ground’ works and the road layout at the planned Old Oak Common station and Crossrail interchange.  These ‘Section 17’ applications differ from normal planning applications in that the local planning authority (in the case the OPDC) can refuse them only on very narrowly defined grounds.

The Act itself, and the lengthy period between 2014 and 2017 when the public were able to make representations on the Bill, means that HS2 has ‘deemed consent’ to do pretty much what it wants to do in terms of design of Old Oak Common station and changes to the local road network.

Yet the Act passed through Parliament long before OPDC made its radical change of direction and abandoned its plans for Old Oak North and the Cargiant land.  Many of the assumptions built into the station design, and included in these latest applications still assume that there will be car and bus entry to the station from Scrubs Lane to the east as well as from Old Oak Common Lane to the west.  OPDC tell us that this ‘Eastern Public Realm’ will not now happen.   Nor will the originally proposed ‘Park Road’ be built as an east west route across Old Oak North.

The applications cover different bits of the jigsaw which will make up the totality of the plans for the station interchange, as below.

  • 19/0175/HS2OPDC – Schedule 17 for lorry routes associated with main works stage.
  • 20/0011/HS2OPDC – Schedule 17 Old Oak Common Lane realignment and replacement bridges
  • 20/0012/HS2OPDC – Schedule 17 for Old Oak Common Station. The leaflet .
  • 20/0013/HS2OPDC – Schedule 16 for layout of the on-site road network adjacent to the Station.

Making comments on separate applications, for which the documentation is often very technical, makes life hard for the general public.  The OPDC Planning Committee will also be deciding on separate applications at different meetings, so the committee members may also struggle to see the full picture.

Local organisations have been busy submitting comments on the main application that covers the works to the station.  You can download the following responses:

OONF response at OONF objection to HS2 S17 application.final

Wells House Road Residents Association response at WHRRA Response to HS2 Schedule 17 and 16 planning applications_FINAL_040520_v4

TITRA response at TITRA Response to HS2 schedule 16 17 planning applications May 4 2020

One of the points made in the OONF response is that the HS2 consultation material from 2019 (and much of the documentation) portrays the ‘Adjacent Site’ to the south of the station as a grassed open area as in the image below.

HS2 consultation image of Old Oak Common station and Ajacent Site
HS2 consultation image of Old Oak Common station and Adjacent Site

In reality HS2 has been marketing this site since early 2019 and seeking a development partner, on the basis that the site is suitable for office development in 8 blocks ranging from 4 to 18 storeys, as below.

HS2 Feb 2019 marketing material for the Adjacent Site
HS2 Feb 2019 marketing material for the Adjacent Site

It is small wonder that the general public are confused as to what exactly HS2 and OPDC are planning for the station and its immediate surroundings.

OONF pointed out to OPDC and to HS2 back in February 2019 that the public were being shown very different ‘visualisations’ of the station site, with the HS2 ‘consultation’ version appearing widely in the media.   But little or nothing has since been done to correct misleading impressions given.

We understand that the main S17 application on the station buildings will be decided by the OPDC Planning Committee on 19th May.  This assumes that OPDC are able by then to find a way to hold a ‘virtual’ committee meeting which the public can access online (with 5 minutes of public speaking rights for objectors and supporters) by that date.