OPDC DRAFT LOCAL PLAN
- 2639 individual responses by email and letter (over 2000 from QPR fans)
- 1200 comments at workshops and drop-in sessions
- 28000 web views from 6000 visitors, generating 200 comments
See borough responses: 1) Hammersmith & Fulham 2) Ealing 3) Brent

2017-02-09

BBC: "QPR discuss building new home on site of Linford Christie Stadium"


Back of the net

"Championship side QPR have confirmed they are looking into the possibility of building a new ground on the site of the Linford Christie Stadium.

"Following delays to the proposed regeneration of Old Oak, where the club had been seeking to build a stadium, they are now assessing alternatives.

"One option could be a partnership with athletics club Thames Valley Harriers."

2017-02-07

Evening Standard: "Tens of thousands of homes will be built in London suburbs to tackle housing crisis"


Link to web site

"Tens of thousands of homes are to be built in London’s suburbs under a blueprint to tackle the housing crisis blighting the capital, the Standard can reveal.

"... The Government's long-awaited housing white paper, published today, highlighted how housing density in London, relative to its population, was far below levels in Madrid, Barcelona, Paris, and lower than in Berlin and Milan.

The document said: “'London is a relatively low-density city, especially in its suburbs. When people picture high-density housing, they tend to think of unattractive tower blocks, but some of the most desirable places to live in the capital are in areas of higher density mansion blocks, mews houses and terraced streets'."

2017-02-02

London Civic Forum: Shaking up the OPDC


"The Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC), the second Mayoral Development Corporation, has been in preparation since 2014. (see various Newsfoums) It is intended to secure the benefits of the regeneration and development of Old Oak and Park Royal. The 1,600-acre site in west London has been earmarked for 25,000 homes, the depot and stations for Crossrail and the HS2 high-speed train line.

"In June the new Mayor of London commissioned the Greater London Authority (GLA) to undertake a review of the strategic direction and work programme of the OPDC. The Mayor was reported to have said that 'it has been left in a mess by my predecessor'.

"The review found that:
  • A memorandum of understanding agreed by mayor Boris Johnson and the government was hastily entered into and should have been agreed on more favourable terms
  • That the deal was on terms less favourable than other similar previous land transfers
  • The detail of the deal is too unclear and the risks inherent to the land are also uncertain and unquantified. Significant work is therefore required to understand the land's development potential and problems
  • The OPDC staff resource does not have the capacity to take forward the land deal work and expert help will be needed.

"A series of recommendations have been made, including:
  • Better terms on the land deal that are in the best interests of London such as those offered when Greenwich Peninsula was transferred to the GLA in 2012
  • A review of the nature of the development being proposed, including the level of affordable housing
  • A proposal that the new Homes for Londoners team at City Hall, set up by the Mayor in August to oversee homebuilding in the capital and boost the delivery of new and affordable homes, should work on the project
  • A revision of the funding arrangements: although discussions with Whitehall about more money had 'so far proved fruitless' a strong case must be made to Government to provide financial support, new powers and value capture mechanisms to meet the cost of infrastructure funding
  • It is vital that a credible longer-term plan be put in place for bringing forward a new commercial centre at Old Oak South
  • That the OPDC, working with the GLA, investigates the feasibility and implications of redrawing the Corporation’s boundary so as to exclude Wormwood Scrubs
  • The DCLG, DfT, Network Rail and HS2 public officials should be asked to step down from the Board and offered observer status instead. The resulting vacancies on the Board should be used to recruit experts with property and commercial knowledge and experience – and also local knowledge."


HS2 Ltd: Invest in Euston: We have no problem


2017-01 Euston Station Development Opportunity - Memorandum of Project Information by scribdstorage on Scribd



Cargiant's Old Oak Park: Kick the wheels, go for a test drive


2017-01 Cargiant 17698 OOP SummaryLeaflet Jan 2017_4_AW by scribdstorage on Scribd



2017-01-30

Construction News: "HS2 could add extra station enabling package"



"High Speed 2 could create additional enabling packages to support the development of its Old Oak Common station if the government decides to approve the construction of a development deck above it, Construction News has learned.

"HS2 Ltd said it would be open to adding to the station enabling deals it was currently drawing up if a deck to support over-site development was approved by the Department for Transport.

"Old Oak Common is one of four stations that will be built or redeveloped as part of phase one of the £55.7bn mega-project. HS2 also plans to redevelop London Euston while constructing new stations at Birmingham Interchange and Birmingham Curzon Street.

"Construction News understands that a number of the joint ventures bidding for the £11.8bn civils packages will keep their consortiums intact for the station bids.

"Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation chief executive Victoria Hills told Construction News the corporation was in conversation with HS2 about the technical and commercial viability of putting more development around Old Oak Common station."

Andrew Wolstenholme, CEO Crossrail Ltd: "They think it's all over. It isn't quite yet."






2017-01-22

The Guardian: "The new robot revolution will take the boss's job - not the gardener's"


"Advances in artificial intelligence mean a second wave of change is approaching - and it is not the low-paid service sector where jobs are most at risk"


"Guy Ryder is an old hand at Davos. The director general of the International Labour Organisation has seen it all: the years when the global business elite is brimful of confidence and the years, such as 2017, when the top 1% of the top 1% is fretful.

"Ryder detected parallels with 2009, when the global economy seemed to be heading for a second Great Depression. Eight years ago, the attendees were shaken by the banking collapse but showed little contrition. This year, they were alarmed by the populist anger that was evident in Brexit and Donald Trump’s arrival in the White House but couldn’t really understand why it was happening.

" 'The global elite has been saying all week that the public doesn’t really understand all the good things they are doing for it,' Ryder says. He is quite right about that. The 2017 Davos was a classic example of how people can be, at one and the same time, very bright and utterly obtuse.

"... [But] Advances in artificial intelligence (AI) mean a second wave of change is approaching – and this time the jobs at risk from the machines are going to be [many senior] jobs in the service sector."

2016-12-29

BBC: "Brexit and population increase 'to change UK radically' by 2030"


Link to web site

"Life in the UK will undergo 'radical' change in the 2020s due to Brexit, population changes and jobs being taken by robots, a think tank has predicted.

"The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) said there would be a Brexit 'aftershock' and that the UK's exit from the EU would be 'the firing gun on a decade of disruption'.

"... The IPPR also said two-thirds of current jobs - 15 million - were at risk from 'exponential' improvements in new technologies such as artificial intelligence systems.

" 'Politics, economics and power structures will be profoundly disrupted, and with it social relations,' it said.


2016-12-17

[Reposted from Sep 2015] High Speed Two: AP2 WCML-Crossrail Link Technical Note (and what ought to be Crossrail-to-the-Wycombe-Line as well, if the right questions had been asked)


(Click images to enlarge)

1. BACKGROUND
1.1 A new link is being planned between the Great Western Main Line (GWML) at Old Oak Common and the West Coast Main Line (WCML) at Sudbury Junction to enable Crossrail trains to run to and from Watford, Hemel Hempstead and Tring, thus creating a new “north-western branch” of Crossrail.

1.2 The track alignment design for the proposed layout at Old Oak Common indicates that it would be physically possible to retain a connection to the Wycombe Single line if required (see extract of drawing C241-PBR-RTDPP-010-000200-AP2 P01 [originally 'Appendix A'] which has been annotated to illustrate the retention of the Wycombe Single).
1.3 This Technical Note examines the operational implications of retaining the Wycombe Single connection at Old Oak Common after the WCML - Crossrail Link is commissioned.

2. WYCOMBE SINGLE - CURRENT USAGE

2.1 The Wycombe Single connection at Old Oak Common West Jn is currently used by only a limited number of trains:
  • Chiltern Railways West Ruislip - Paddington: one train a day (Mondays to Fridays) each way. This “token” service to Paddington is provided firstly to retain a passenger service over the line, which would otherwise have to go through the statutory closure procedure, and secondly to retain route knowledge for train crews for occasions when Chiltern Railways services are diverted into Paddington due to planned engineering works or major disruption on the Marylebone route.
  • Empty Coaching Stock to/from OOC Depot: a total of approximately four train paths a day for First Great Western and First Hull Trains (it is not known whether all these paths are regularly used).
  • Freight trains to/from Paddington New Yard: one train path in each direction; into Paddington in the early morning and out of Paddington in the early afternoon.
  • Diverted trains as required: for example, Chiltern Railways trains from High Wycombe etc diverted from Marylebone into Paddington during disruption or planned maintenance (this occurs infrequently).
2.2 Trains do not run to/from the Wycombe Single during peak hours, due to the heavy use of the Relief and Main lines between Old Oak Common and Paddington by First Great Western (FGW) trains.

3. TRAIN OPERATIONS AT OLD OAK COMMON

3.1 The Wycombe single would join the Down WCML Link line north-west of Old Oak Common station (see annotated drawing in Appendix A). However it would be necessary for Up trains from the Wycombe single to run “wrong line” for a distance of up to 0.5km (depending on the track layout at the station) before joining the Up Relief line. A schematic drawing of a possible track layout at Old Oak Common is in Appendix B.
3.2 When the WCML - Crossrail Link is commissioned, the number of trains on the GW Relief lines between Old Oak Common and Portobello Jn (Paddington) will increase, making it more difficult to path trains to/from the Wycombe Single line, particularly in the Up direction as explained above.

3.3 In the peaks there will be 24tph (all Crossrail) on the GW Relief lines between Old Oak Common and Portobello Jn, and it will not be possible for any trains to run to/from the Wycombe Single during these times. During off-peak daytime there will be 16tph (Crossrail) on the GW Relief lines between Old Oak Common and Portobello Jn. It may be possible to provide a limited number of paths for trains to/from the Wycombe Single line, but these would have to be fitted around the Crossrail service.

3.4 By the end of 2024, when the WCML - Crossrail service is scheduled to begin, the current Empty Coaching Stock movements via the Wycombe Single to/from Old Oak Common Depot are likely to have ceased, as the depot itself will have been superseded by the new North Pole facility.


3.5 The freight trains to/from Paddington New Yard are assumed to continue. Crossrail Ltd has developed an operational concept for the movement of these trains within Paddington New Yard. It is likely that the arrival/departure times of these trains will have to be late evening or overnight, to avoid conflict with the Crossrail service.


3.6 Planned maintenance on the Chiltern Main Line in the Marylebone area may result in Chiltern Railways trains being diverted to/from Paddington, but this is likely to be infrequent, and to occur during late evenings and weekends, when the Crossrail service is not operating at peak frequency. Even so, careful timetabling will be required to accommodate the diverted trains.

4. CHILTERN RAILWAYS PASSENGER SERVICE

4.1 The existing Chiltern Railways once-a-day service to/from Paddington could continue to operate via the Wycombe Single, provided suitable paths can be identified. It may be possible to enhance the service frequency, but the service could not operate to/from Old Oak Common or Paddington during the peaks on the infrastructure as currently planned.
4.2 To provide a more effective and frequent link between the Chiltern Main Line and the GW Main Line, it is possible that the West Ealing - Greenford shuttle service could be taken over by Chiltern Railways and extended to/from Gerrards Cross or High Wycombe, with an all-day frequency of 2tph. This would enable new journey opportunities for passengers from the Chiltern stations with a simple change at West Ealing, giving connections to/from Crossrail services to Heathrow Airport, Old Oak Common and central London.

4.3 This new service would require the following infrastructure enhancements:

  • New platform(s) on the Wycombe line at Greenford.
  • Possible doubling of the section between Greenford and Northolt.
The existing track configuration at Northolt Jn and South Ruislip would be unaffected, as the Greenford - Northolt double track section would revert to its existing single track formation just south of the junction. See Appendix C for a schematic showing these track layout changes.
4.4 If an enhanced peak frequency was required between West Ealing and Greenford (to give a total of 4tph to the branch stations), additional trains could operate between these two places, using the existing “LTE Bay” platform at Greenford Central Line station.

5. CONCLUSIONS
1. The proposed track alignment design indicates that the connection to the Wycombe Single can be provided in the final layout (see annotated drawing extract in Appendix A).
2. Freight trains to/from Paddington New Yard can continue to use the Wycombe Single route, although arrival/departure times will have to avoid conflicts with the Crossrail service.

3. A more effective link between the Chiltern stations and the Crossrail network could be provided by withdrawing the current once-a-day Paddington service and extending the West Ealing - Greenford shuttle service to Gerrards Cross or High Wycombe, operated by Chiltern Railways.
(When the Crossrail service on the GW is implemented - and the Thames Valley branch lines are electrified - the Greenford branch will become an isolated “pocket” of diesel operation. It would make sense for Chiltern Railways to provide the service, using its existing diesel fleet possibly augmented by ex-FGW diesel units.)

OPDC: "Updating the local community on London’s largest regeneration project"



22 November 2016

"As a Mayoral Development Corporation, we want to try and make sure the local community have the opportunity to be kept informed on the Local Plan as the project progresses.

"With this in mind, the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC) Planning Team were keen to hold a community event, to update those interested and those previously involved in the consultation for the UK’s largest regeneration project in Old Oak and Park Royal, west London.

"With almost 50 community members present on the night, the Planning Team explained that over the last eight months they’ve been busy reading, processing and sorting through the feedback submitted during the consultation on the draft Local Plan, which began on 4 February and finished on 31 March 2016. The draft Local Plan activity consisted of:
  • 11 workshops in the area
  • 6 exhibitions
  • 29,000 views of the online engagement platform
  • 2 Live Twitter Q&A sessions

"In total, this activity led to 7,000 individual comments and provided 2,300 issues, which the Planning Team then categorised into seven key themes:
  • Delivering a range of housing types and tenures
  • Building at super densities
  • Environmental challenges (integrated utilities, daylight/sunlight)
  • Connecting to the wider area and open space
  • Releasing more industrial land
  • Impacts on the transport network
  • Infrastructure delivery and timing

"The Planning Team have been focussing their efforts over the summer on addressing these key themes in greater detail and this work has gone on to inform the next Local Plan, known technically as Regulation 19. It is expected to be published in March 2017 for public consultation and will act as the overarching planning document for the whole 650 hectare site.

"Tom Cardis, Head of Planning Policy, spoke about additional papers, known as Supplementary Planning Documents (SPDs), some of which will be published at the same time as the Local Plan in March 2017.

"These focussed documents will provide detailed guidance for future development. OPDC currently proposes five SPDs of which three would be place specific covering Scrubs Lane, Victoria Road, Park Royal and two would be topic specific covering Section 106 and Public Realm.

"The next part of the presentation elaborated on the Spatial Vision, which was described as a sort of ‘tag line’ for the whole Local Plan and was part of the first draft Local Plan. The Spatial Vision feedback, made during that consultation, has been woven into the updated version as OPDC wants the development and regeneration to integrate both the existing and future communities together.

"The planners described how the Spatial Vision needs to balance both the local community nature of the place being created in Old Oak, with the national character of being a transport super hub with a High Speed 2 (HS2) and Elizabeth Line (Crossrail) station. This has been interpreted in the vision as one overarching theme with two ‘narratives’: Going Local and Thinking Big.

"This new three-part spatial vision is the golden thread running throughout the Local Plan and has been used to create a distinct and clear link into a new section, Strategic Policies. These polices will provide the high level direction that OPDC wants the regeneration and development to aspire to and achieve. There are nine strategic policies in total:
  • City in the west
  • Excellence and innovation
  • Thriving communities
  • Resilient economy
  • Places and destinations
  • Connecting people and places
  • Green and blue infrastructure
  • Built environment
  • Integrated delivery

"These Strategic Policies have been created from the March 2016 consultation feedback and are further supported with over 50 evidence base research findings carried out as part of the planning process. They will form an integral role within Regulation 19 Local Plan and contain high-level, less technical, information but set out clear parameters which must be adhered to.

"The evening was incredibly informational and engaging [so the OPDC says of itself!], with almost 60 slides and over 20 questions asked from the community.

"You can view all the slides from the presentation [also below] and if you would like to be informed of future events, including the second Local Plan Update, which will focus on explaining the differences with the Regulation 19 Local Plan you can sign up to receive our newsletter. Sign up to receive OPDC's newsletter





High Speed 2: Design Panel Report (nicely laid out)



Influence People! Become Well-known and Powerful! Take on the Thankless Burden of being Chair of the OPDC Board!





NLP Planning: "Start to Finish: How Quickly do Large-Scale Housing Sites Deliver?"



"There is a growing recognition that large-scale housing development can and should play a large role in meeting housing need. Garden towns and villages – planned correctly– can deliver sustainable new communities and take development pressure off less sustainable locations or forms of development.

"However, what looks good on paper needs to deliver in practice. Plans putting forward large sites to meet need must have a justification for the assumptions they make about how quickly sites can start providing new homes, and be reasonable about the rate of development. That way, a local authority can decide how far it needs to complement its large-scale release with other sites – large or small – elsewhere in its district.

"Nathaniel Lichfield & Partners' latest research looks at the evidence on speed and rate of delivery of large-scale housing based on a large number of sites across England and Wales (outside London)."




2016-12-14

Evening Standard: "Sadiq Khan: People, not buildings, at the heart of estate regeneration"


Link to web site

"Sadiq Khan today set out plans to put local people, not buildings, at the heart of his estate regeneration plans. 

"The Mayor published draft guidelines for all new developments which suggest that Londoners should be involved in shaping proposals from an early stage.

"The plans, drawn up with boroughs, housing associations and residents' groups, recommend tenants get full rights to be rehoused on their estates after they have been modernised.

"City Hall aims to avoid the type of controversy that surrounded regeneration schemes such as Heygate Estate and Earl's Court, [not to mention Barnet's corruption around Brent Cross] in which residents claimed they were being forced out."

2016-12-13

LookWest: "Mayor announces plans to help secure London’s affordable workspace"



"The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has announced plans to recruit a team of entrepreneurs and business leaders to help protect London’s workshops, studios and workspaces.

The Workspace Providers Board will advise on securing workspace, including through the planning process, and creating new space, for example through identifying sites for building new developments or re-fitting empty space in existing buildings.

"The Board will also advise the Mayor on wider challenges and issues around workspace, such as permitted development rights and general affordability.

"Research published recently by The Institute for Public Policy Research estimates that London’s open workspaces host 31,000 people and generate £1.7 billion for the capital’s economy. The report recommends continuing to protect workspace through the planning system and using surplus public sector assets to create new workspaces in areas of employment growth.

"The Mayor says he will write to all of London’s boroughs asking them to support and help create affordable workspace in their local areas. Sadiq will ask the boroughs to signal their commitment to protecting workspace by signing up to a workspace pledge.

"The pledge will ask boroughs to support the important role of workspace for start-ups, small businesses and artists in London by implementing a number of measures, including:
  • Limiting the conversion of office space to residential space through permitted development rights
  • Encouraging the provision of affordable workspace through planning policy and good practice
  • Ensuring new developments include non-residential space suitable for the needs of small businesses
  • Seeking funding and partnerships to create new space for start-ups, small businesses, the creative industries and artists.
"The Mayor continues to urge ministers to give London greater control of permitted development rights and business rates in his continuing drive to help small businesses.

"The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said:
"I promised to be the most pro-business Mayor London has ever seen – and now I’m delivering on that promise by protecting workspace for the use of local entrepreneurs and small businesses.

When we give Londoners with skills and talent the space they need to fulfil their potential, we pave the way for the great businesses of tomorrow.

Whether you are an entrepreneur looking to expand your business or a creative start-up that needs more space to work, my message to you is that London is open for those with ideas and passion."
"Clare McNeil, IPPR Associate Director for work and families said:
"Affordable workspaces are vital to sustaining London’s start-ups and creative and social enterprises. They are the lifeblood of London’s economy, with over thirty thousand people working in them, including growing numbers of London’s self-employed in need of flexible workspace.

However in many cases rents for these workspaces are becoming unsustainable. The government’s relaxation of planning rules for office to residential conversions is also leading to a shortage of affordable workspace in some areas, as well as little in the way of affordable housing.

Action needs to be taken if London’s rich and diverse micro businesses are not to be squeezed out. The Mayor is announcing important measures today, but central government should devolve extra powers as well to make sure these workspaces are properly nurtured."

2016-12-03

Rail Engineer: "Crossrail - approaching the final stages"


Link to web site

"As autumn approached, Crossrail announced that, following a very intense and busy period, the project had reached yet another milestone – declaring that 75 per cent of the work was now complete. To understand better just what '75 per cent complete' actually means for the engineers involved, Rail Engineer caught up with Chris Binns, chief engineer for the £14.8 billion project.

"First, a recap on the project. Crossrail extends from Reading and Heathrow in the west to Abbey Wood and Shenfield in the east, a route that is 118km long. It includes a new central core consisting of 42km of new bored tunnels.

"There are 40 stations on the route, including 10 new Crossrail stations that are entering their final stages of construction. Some are in very complex locations – Paddington, Bond Street, Whitechapel and Liverpool Street to mention a few. In addition, there are complex, redesigned track layouts both west and east of the capital.

"Bombardier is currently building 66 new trains at its factory in Derby. Each train is 200 metres long and designed to carry 1,500 passengers. The first trains are now coming off the production lines for trials and testing, ready to be introduced to services on the route between Liverpool Street and Shenfield by May 2017. This deadline will be followed by further targets of May 2018 from Heathrow to Paddington, then Paddington to Abbey Wood by December 2018."


2016-11-21

Planning: "Old Oak Crossrail depot revamp 'could cost £500m'"



"The cost of the necessary demolition and re-provision of a newly-built Crossrail depot to allow the planned Old Oak and Park Royal regeneration scheme to go ahead could reach £500 million, 'Planning' understands.

"The 25,000-home scheme promoted by the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC) claims to be the UK;s largest regeneration project, and aims to create accommodation for 65,000 new jobs.

"However, the OPDC was set up last year by then London mayor Boris Johnson despite the fact Crossrail had started building a £142 million depot and rolling stock stabling yard, vital to Crossrail’s operation, in the part of the site envisaged as the commercial heart of the scheme.

"Despite pleas to change the design of the stabling yard and depot prior to its construction in order to incorporate Old Oak’s developing plans, it was built in a way that means it is not able to support development above it.

"Two separate sources familiar with the situation said that a provisional proposal exists for allowing development above the depot without interrupting the operation of Crossrail. It involves relocating half of the rolling stock to a site close to the M25 at West Drayton. This allows the phased closure, demolition and rebuilding of the depot with the necessary structural underpinning and columns to support a development deck above it.

"One source said: 'The bill for this could be as much as half a billion pounds. But we need to know what government and the mayor are going to do about it.'

"The second source confirmed the figure, seen as very rough estimate, had been 'bandied around' in high-level discussions on the issue."

2016-11-15

Secretary for State for Transport decisions on HS2 Phase 2b scheme



"Transport Secretary Chris Grayling announces decisions that take HS2 an important step closer to realising the full potential of the scheme"

Link to his nibs

"Today (15 November 2016) I am announcing the government’s preferred route for HS2 lines from Crewe to Manchester and from the West Midlands to Leeds – known as Phase 2b – helping to rebalance our economy beyond London and the south-east, ensuring economic prosperity and opportunities are shared throughout the country.

"It means that following on from the 2013 consultation and work we have done since, I am today confirming the majority of the route. There are also a number of cases, including the proposed route through South Yorkshire recommended by Sir David Higgins in a report earlier this year, where I am proposing substantial refinements. I am launching a consultation to seek the views of communities and other interested parties before reaching a decision on those sections next year.!

"... Mr Speaker, I also need to touch briefly on Phase One. I should report to the House that Phase One - from Birmingham to London - is progressing well. Construction work is due to start next year, subject to Royal Assent. Phase One will open in 2026.

"In a clear signal of how work is progressing Mr Speaker, this morning I have also announced the companies that have been awarded the Phase One enabling works contracts.

"These works include archaeology, site clearance and setting up construction compounds – ahead of the start of the main civil engineering work.

"These contracts are worth up to £900 million and cover the whole of Phase One, from London to Birmingham and the connection to the West Coast Mainline at Handsacre, as I say,work is due to begin in the spring."


Evening Standard: "'Crazy' plan to build Westway cycle superhighway scrapped by Mayor"


Link to web site

"Plans to remove a lane from the A40 Westway flyover to create a segregated cycle superhighway have been axed by Sadiq Khan, it emerged today.

"The 4.5-mile route was proposed by then-mayor Boris Johnson as an extension of his flagship east-west Victoria Embankment superhighway and would have linked Paddington and Acton, creating a safe route between west London and Tower Hill.

"The idea of removing one of three eastbound lanes attracted 71 per cent support in a Transport for London consultation but had sparked concern among motorists and taxi drivers."

2016-11-14

London's deputy mayor for housing: "Towers and high rises are not the only answer to the capital's housing shortage"


Link to Evening Standard

"With developers jostling to build ever-higher skyscrapers, intent on cramming as many homes as the law will allow on to their land, London's deputy mayor James Murray thinks a proper debate is needed on how high-density housing is designed for the future. This could mean hiring an 'architecture czar' — Boris Johnson had Lord Rogers — but Murray says such decisions are not his to make.

"Personally he believes that the answer is to be found in some of the city's grander streets.

"'Towers and high rises are not the only answer,' he says. 'We need to decide what high-density accommodation will look like. At the moment we tend to think about towers but you can actually get very high density with six, eight, 10 storeys — like the terraces you see in Kensington'."

2016-11-10

National Audit Office: "Modernising the Great Western railway" (oh, dear!)


Link to web site

"The cost of modernising the Great Western railway is currently estimated to be £5.58 billion, an increase of £2.1 billion since 2013, and there are delays to the electrification of the route of at least 18 to 36 months. Delays to the electrification programme will cost the Department up to £330 million.

"These cost increases and recent changes to the new trains order mean that the value for money of the programme needs to be reassessed, and the extent of electrification reconsidered, according to a report today by the National Audit Office.

"The Great Western route has some of the most overcrowded services in England and Wales and has forecast passenger growth of 81% between 2013-14 and 2018-19. The modernisation programme involves complex infrastructure works, new trains and service changes. These aim to improve services along the rail route, which connects London with west and south-west England and south Wales and passes through heritage areas and areas of outstanding natural beauty.

"Before 2015, the Department did not plan and manage all the projects which now make up the Great Western Route Modernisation industry programme in a sufficiently joined up way. The Department did not produce a business case bringing together all elements of the programme until March 2015, more than two years after ordering the trains and over a year after Network Rail began work to electrify the route.

"When the Department entered into a contract to buy the Intercity Express Trains, creating fixed deadlines for electrification, the infrastructure planning work was still at a very early stage of development. This is illustrated by the fact that Network Rail had only just identified that it would need to develop a new type of electrification equipment. The electrification timetable was not based on a bottom-up understanding of what the works would involve.

"Amyas Morse, head of the National Audit Office, said:
"The modernisation of the route has potential to deliver significant benefits for passengers but this is a case study in how not to manage a major programme. The Department's failure to plan and manage all the projects which now make up the Great Western Route Modernisation industry programme in a sufficiently joined up way, combined with weaknesses in Network Rail's management of the infrastructure programme, has led to additional costs for the taxpayer.

It is encouraging that since 2015 the Department and Network Rail have a better grip and put in place structures to manage the programme in an integrated way. However significant challenges to the timetable still remain and there is more to do to achieve value for money."

2016-11-08

"Not electrifying the GWML line to Swansea, Mr Worthing, may be regarded as a MISFORTUNE; to not electrify to Bristol and Oxford either now looks like CARELESSNESS"



Written statement to Parliament:

Rail update: rail investment in the Great Western route

Department for Transport and Paul Maynard MP

"I wish to update the House on the programme of rail investment in the Great Western route and the steps we are taking to ensure this improves services to passengers while getting the best deal for taxpayers.

"We are continuing to invest £2.8 billion in this electrification programme to provide faster journeys, more services, and better stations while providing new or upgraded trains for passengers, with thousands more seats, and increasing capacity for freight. It will improve the experience on over 100 million rail journeys each year, stimulating economic growth from London through the Thames Valley, to the Cotswolds, West Country and to South Wales.

"It is a project unprecedented in scale that is building on and around ageing assets in constant use. This is an ambitious and challenging undertaking, but real progress is being made in delivering it. Projects completed successfully this year include the digital upgrade of large sections of signalling to improve reliability, the modification of over 100 bridges and structures, flood alleviation work, significant improvements to the resilience of the Oxford route and the introduction of the first Great Western electric services between Hayes & Harlington to Paddington which run between some of the busiest peak services in the country.

"Works on the Severn Tunnel this autumn made vital preparation for electrification between London and South Wales. Other enabling works include the progression of electrification towards the west, further re-signalling in Bristol, Cardiff and Cornwall, improvements at Bristol Temple Meads Station, enabling works at stations throughout the route, provision of better access for disabled passengers at selected stations, and enhancements to depots from West Ealing in the east to Penzance in the west.

[Enough of the flannel. Get on with it.]

"We have been clear that there have been difficulties with this programme. These were set out last year in the review of Network Rail’s delivery plan by Sir Peter Hendy. Following the re-planning of work that followed this review, the programme has been placed on a more efficient footing. A key part of this is the ongoing assessment of investment decisions so that passengers and taxpayers get maximum value.

"As a result of this scrutiny from the Hendy review I have decided to defer 4 electrification projects that are part of the programme of work along the Great Western route. The 4 projects being deferred are [here it comes!]:
  • electrification between Oxford and Didcot Parkway
  • electrification of Filton Bank (Bristol Parkway to Bristol Temple Meads)
  • electrification west of Thingley Junction (Bath Spa to Bristol Temple Meads)
  • electrification of Thames Valley Branches (Henley & Windsor)
"This is because we can bring in the benefits expected by passengers - newer trains with more capacity – without requiring costly and disruptive electrification works. This will provide between £146 million to £165 million in this spending period, to be focused on improvements that will deliver additional benefits to passengers. We remain committed to modernising the Great Western mainline and ensuring that passenger benefits are achieved.

"This decision underscores the government's approach to wider rail investment [incompetence?]; that passenger outcomes must be delivered in conjunction with achieving the best value from every pound spent."


2016-11-07

"Crossrail the Musical" (good grief)


"Travel deep below the streets of London to the Crossrail tunnels - Europe's biggest construction project - for an unforgettable musical tour in 360. From the ghosts of the plague pit to the platforms of future stations, this provides a unique glimpse of the tunnels that will carry 200 million people across London in 2018.

"This 360 film premiered at the Future of Storytelling Festival in New York in September 2016."!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/taster/projects/crossrail-the-musical?preview=true

Created by BBC R&D/NewsLabs
Director: Peter Boyd Maclean
Song composed and performed by Matthew Robins
Executive Producer: Zillah Watson




HS2 Ltd.: Meet the Teams




Evening Standard: London Overground: Connecting Old Oak Common to outer London



2016-11-03

Brent & Kilburn Times: "Mayor of London backs new city in Harlesden and Park Royal plans but calls them 'a mess'"


Link to web site
('Old Oak Park' is not the whole site)

"Sadiq Khan has criticized Boris Johnson following a review into the £10 billion regeneration of Old Oak Common amid concerns over the cost and whether it offers value for money to Londoners.

"... As part of the plans, Mr Johnson set up a new body, known as the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC), to lead the transformation which was approved by the government last year.

Mr Khan slammed Mr Johnson saying he 'rushed headlong' into an agreement with the government to transfer land at Old Oak as it was made on unfavourable terms compared to other major regeneration schemes in the country.


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