The case for a full review of the OPDC

The London Assembly’s Planning and Regeneration Committee is the body which scrutinises the decisions of the Mayor of London.  The Committee has been looking at the progress in London’s Opportunity areas, and (more recently) the work of the two Mayoral Development Coporations.

These are the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) and the OPDC.  The LLDC has been overseseeing regeneration at the Olympic Park (created for 2012 Olympics) and the immediately surrounding area.  This Mayoral Development Corporation is now ‘in transition’ and in 2024 will be handing back its planning powers to the 5 London Boroughs, parts of which lie in the LLDC boundary.

We think that there is a strong case for OPDC to do the same.  OPDC’s efforts to deliver ‘regeneration’ at Old Oak have fallen out of sync with the timescale for completion of Old Oak Common Station (originally planned for 2026).

The transfer of public land, as envisaged in a 2016 Memorandum of Understanding between the Department for Transport and the Mayor of London in 2016 has not happened.  It is not certain that this will ever happen.   OPDC has no other assets or funds for insfrastructure (unlike the LLDC which took over the land used for the Olympic Park).

Our Forum was invited early in 2022 to submit evidence to the Assembly’s Planning and Regeneration Committee.  We had expected to be invited as ‘guests’ to a session of the committee to be held in June, and then postponed to November.

In the event this session was held on November 23rd.  Neither OONF nor the Grand Union Alliance were invited to attend.  Representatives from Just Space, involved in the LLDC area rather than at Old Oak, were able to be present and to answer questions from committee members.   You can watch the recording of the session.

After this November 23rd meeting, we sent a further letter to the committee members.  See at OONF to P and R Cttee 25.11.2022.  This set out points we had not had the opportunity to make at the session.

The 2023/4 proposed budget for the OPDC is £10.4m, up from £7.8m in the current year.   We have prepared a detailed submission to the Assembly Members on this committee.  See at OONF Submission to Budget and Performance Committee. November 18th 2022.

This submission sets out our perceptions of the track record of the Development Corporation.  We assess this against a set of ‘objectives and expectations’ set by the then Mayor of London in 2014/15. Our conclusions are that outcomes over the past 7 years have fallen well short of these benchmarks, particularly in the period when the plans for the Cargiant land unravelled in 2018/19,

The Budget and Performance Committee will meet on December 7th to discuss the budget proposals form LLDC and from OPDC.  We hope that the Committee will give serious consideration to the option of a full review of OPDC.

The Mayor has a statutory obligation to review both MDCs from time to time, and we think that now is a moment when OPDC’s aspirations need a reality check.   The context and timeline for the HS2 project, and viability for new housing and commercial development at Old Oak, have changed a lot since 2015.

A further decade of allowing a series of scattered high density/high rise developments to take place, with no surrounding amenities and no public transport improvements, is not (in our view) how to create a new and successful part of a global city


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