Local Plan Examination hearings on 11th January 2022

Planning Inspector Paul Clark originally decided that he did not need to hold further public hearings, as part of his ‘examination’ of OPDC’s Draft Local Plan.

The previous round of hearings ended in July 2019.  The Inspector subsequently issued in September 2019 his ‘interim findings’.  These rejected as unviable OPDC’s proposals for compulsory purchase of the 46 acres of  Cargiant land as the first major stage of regeneration at Old Oak.

We are now in 2022, and the examination continues.  The Draft Plan remains that submitted by OPDC in October 2018 – as ‘modified’ by a series of new site allocations and a shift to a new strategy for the ‘Western Lands’ in East and North Acton.

We have long argued that these changes to OPDC’s proposals are more than ‘modifications’.  They rely on a very different spatial solution for Old Oak.  We think this solution makes little sense as a new part of London.

We welcome the fact the Planning Inspector has proved willing to change his mind, and to agree to further examination hearings on 11th and 12th January.  These will be held online.  We will publicise the link as soon as we are given it.

The January 11th examination hearings will look at two important questions:

1. The session at 10 am on Tuesday 11th January will hear evidence on PTAL levels at Old Oak.  PTAL is the measure of levels of Public Transport Accessibility which have long been used in London to assess the suitability of locations for high density housing.

The nearer to good public transport (on a range of 0-6) the more appropriate a site for high density living.   We think that the final version of the OPDC Local Plan has gone backwards in this respect,as compared with the 2018 version.  Our draft evidence for this session as at this link OONF and StQW on PTAL for Jan 11th V4

2.  The session at 2pm on Tuesday 11th June will consider whether the final version of the OPDFC Local Plan ‘generally conforms’ with the 2021 Policy D9 in the London Plan.  This policy was varied and strengthened by the intervention of Secretary of State Robert Jenrick in December 2020.

We will be seeking to persuade the Inspector that the Local Plan has avoided specifying locations for tall buildings, and makes no mention of the likelihood of buildings over 12 storeys.  Given that OPDC are currently considering an application at North Acton with one building at 56 storeys and two more at ‘up to 50’ this reality on the ground does not square with the content of the Local Plan.  Our draft evidence on this point can be downloaded here StQW and OONF rep on D9.V4

Our OONF/GUA meeting on January 4th at 6.30pm will discuss and finalise these to submissions to the Planning Inspector.  Any comments welcome at oonforum@gmail.com