Viability of OPDC Local Plan questioned by Inspector

Planning Inspector Paul Clark published on September 16th an ‘interim report’ on his Examination of the OPDC Draft Local Plan.   This followed the public session of the Examination on July 18th, at which Cargiant and OPDC argued their differing views on the viability and realism of major housing development on Cargiant’s landholdings at Old Oak North.   The Inspector’s report can be found here id-33_interim_findings_on_viability_of_cargiant_site_allocation

The Inspector has generally sided with Cargiant’s documentation and arguments on the complex land valuation issues involved and has concluded that compulsory purchase of OPDC land and/or ‘extinguishment’ of the Cargiant business is not the right way forward.  He has therefore removed much of the Cargiant land from the Draft Local Plan, and directed that the housing and employment targets in the OPDC Local Plan be reduced accordingly. 

Cargiant’s view of events can be found at the link below.   They have repeated their earlier view that OPDC is wasting large sums of public money on an ill-conceived set of plans for Old Oak and that “It is now time to stop throwing good money after bad.”[39376]

This set of decisions by the Inspector will require further major revisions to the Draft Local Plan, on top of other ‘major modifications’ that have emerged during the Examination.   Another round of public consultation on the Plan will be needed (the fourth).   OPDC still hope to see the Local Plan adopted in the early part of 2020 but this is looking increasingly unlikely. 

During the London Assembly sessions at which OPDC Chair Liz Peace and Interim Chief Executive David Lunts answered questions, it emerged that the £250m of Housing Infrastructure Funding awarded by Government to the OPDC last March remains subject to several ‘challenging’ conditions being met before the grant is paid.  Not least of these conditions is that the OPDC Draft Local Plan is supported by Planning Inspector Paul Clark.

The content of the OPDC’s HIF bid, and the conditions attached, have not been published and remain confidential.  The Old Oak Neighbourhood Forum has been pursuing since March a FoI/EIR request with OPDC and GLA.  This request has so far been refused twice.   We have sent a further letter refining what documentation we most wish to see OONF to OPDC on EIR. July 2019 final and hope that the key HIF document is made available before we have to refer the matter to the Information Commissioner.   

London Assembly Member Caroline Pidgeon has also asked the Mayor of London why this funding application cannot be made public.  See here.

Meanwhile the Mayor  has approved a further £10m budget from GLA resources (see MD2493) for OPDC to continue to carry out work on its plans for Old Oak North.   This adds to the £29m spent to date by OPDC since 2015.



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