The area for which the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation became planning authority in April 2015 is the largest regeneration area in the UK. We seek to bring the added value of neighbourhood planning to the work of the Development Corporation.
The Old Oak Interim Neighbourhood Forum started meeting in July 2016. Prior to this, several of the Forum’s core members have been lobbying HS2 over a period of years, in efforts to mitigate the impact of the decade of construction work that Old Oak will see before the proposed Old Oak Common/Crossrail interchange is completed (due 2026).
One of our related organisations is the Grand Union Alliance. This is a wider geographic network of community groups and residents from Brent, Ealing, Hammersmith & Fulham, and Kensington and Chelsea, which has been meeting since 2014. The Alliance has some expert academic support from University College London, and has submitted responses to a series of OPDC consultation exercises. The work of the Old Oak Interim Neighbourhood Forum is focused on the ‘Old Oak’ half of the OPDC area rather than Park Royal to the west.
At the moment, few west Londoners think of ‘Old Oak’ as a place in its own right. They may know Old Oak Common Lane as a major north-south route between Harlesden and Acton. They may use Wormwood Scrubs as one of London’s larger pieces of Metropolitan Open Land. But as the name for a part of London, ‘Old Oak’ is only beginning to enter wider public consciousness.
The construction of a major rail interchange to the north of Wormwood Scrubs will change this, forever. Those living and working in the area need to understand the reasons behind these changes, and to have the chance to help to shape them. Hence the proposals for a neighbourhood forum and neighbourhood plan.
You can contact the neighbourhood forum at firstname.lastname@example.org either to ask for more information, or to join as a forum member. You can also follow us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/OldOakNeighbourhood/?ref=ts&fref=ts or on Twitter @ForumOon
See our page on designation for details of the current state of play on achieving formal designation of an Old Oak neighbourhood area and forum. After two years of discussion with the OPDC and with Hammersmith & Fulham Council, both these bodies have made decisions on designation which are disappointing as compared with the proposals that we submitted.
In the early years after the introduction of neighbourhood planning in 2011, planning authorities across England (and in London in particular) often displayed nervousness and resistance towards this new community-led layer of the planning system. But this has lessened over the years, and we have been surprised at the extent of defensiveness by OPDC and LB Hammersmith and Fulham in scaling back or ‘refusing’ our proposals for neighbourhood planning at Old Oak.
This will not stop the Forum from exerting as much influence as possible on OPDC plans, in the interests of those already living in the area as well as those due to come to this new part of London.