Consultation until 31 Oct: "London Infrastructure Plan 2050"

Link to web site

"The Mayor has launched London's first long-term infrastructure plan. This is a consultation about London’s growth and how we can make the city better for everyone.

"Infrastructure is fundamental to every Londoner, every day, from turning on the taps in the morning, to travelling to work, to switching off the lights at night.

"The document sets out what infrastructure London requires. It is the first ever strategic attempt to set out London's infrastructure needs, how much it might cost and how we pay for our needs. The aim is to prepare for, and benefit further from, London's growth: bringing fresh thinking into the city's infrastructure needs now, in order to meet them more costs effectively in the long term.

"By its very nature, infrastructure underpins everything you do. You make London and we want to hear from you. Let us know what you think by completing the consultation questions by 31 October 2014. If you prefer a standalone document please send it to infrastructureplan@london.gov.uk."


This-is-Money: "High speed rail 'tsar' to spark fresh controversy with new HS2 route and stations recommendations"

Link to web site

"The Government’s high speed rail 'tsar' Sir David Higgins will spark fresh controversy on Monday when he sets out details of his recommended route and stations for the Northern half of the controversial £50billion HS2 line.
"The Y-shaped second phase of the route is to run from Birmingham to Leeds in the East and Manchester in the West.

"But Sir David is also set to outline plans for an additional West to East express train route - dubbed 'HS3' - linking Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds and Hull. The idea has the support of Chancellor George Osborne who wants to stimulate economic growth in the region.

"Using it as a 'centrepiece' of his Autumn statement, he is expected to announce investment of up to £15billion to turn the North of England into an economic 'powerhouse'.

"Significantly Sir David will unveil his report – called 'Rebalancing Britain - Towards a national transport strategy' – in Leeds on Monday."

Brent & Kilburn Times: "Cargiant invest £15 million into Old Oak Common site planning" [although car-obsession and "multi-storey car parks" misunderstands what will be acceptable]

Link to web site

"QPR chairman Tony Fernandes faces an uphill battle to build a new stadium at Old Oak Common, with Cargiant currently working on their own regeneration plans.

"... Tony Mendes, managing director of Cargiant, said:
"We are moving ahead with extensive plans for the Hythe Industrial Estate in NW10, which has been earmarked as a future regeneration site by the Mayor of London.

As a significant land owner and employer in the area for more than 35 years, we are fully committed to develop plans that will benefit the local community by creating thousands of new homes, significant commercial space, vibrant and attractive public realm, community amenities and thousands of jobs for local people.

Cargiant had partnered with experienced developers First Base and Lipton Rogers to develop our plans, and we have already committed contracts up to the value of £15 million to progress the application for outline planning permission."

Link to web site

Evening Standard:
"QPR’s plans have run aground"
"Queens Park Rangers has come up against a formidable opponent in the pugnacious shape of Geoff Warren.

"He is the owner of 47 acres of land at Old Oak Common, used by his car sales company Cargiant.

"QPR wants to embed a stadium within 10,000 new homes Warren plans on the land. A lot has been heard from the club since it unilaterally announced its intentions last December. Nothing has been heard from Warren directly, until today. It's no deal."


New Civil Engineer: "Hammersmith ‘flyunder’ construction could begin by end of decade"

"Construction of the proposed Hammersmith ‘flyunder’ could begin within five years, assuming various planning and financing hurdles are overcome.

" 'We are about two to three years behind the Silvertown Tunnel, which has an estimated start date of 2017,' said Nick Boyle, transportation and development manager for the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham (LBHF).

"He was speaking at a briefing on the progress of the flyunder scheme. LBHF is proposing construction of a tunnel to replace the Hammersmith Flyover, which was closed for emergency repairs in 2011. "

"A Halcrow-produced feasibility study published in March suggested three options: a 15m-deep, cut-and-cover tunnel, costing £218M, and running along the 1.6km route of the existing flyover; a longer, more expensive twin-bore tunnel, costing up to £1.7bn and stretching for 4.1km between Chiswick and Earl’s Court; and another twin-bore tunnel, 3.5km long, which would emerge at North End Road.

"The report found no subterranean ‘showstoppers’, and the twin-bore tunnel would run through London clay at a depth of up to 25m.

"Since the study was published, the Conservatives have been replaced as majority party in LBHF by Labour. However, Boyle said the new administration was supporting the flyunder plans. Councillor Andrew Jones, cabinet member for economic development and regeneration, is now responsible for progressing the project."

Financial Times: "Cargiant and Queens Park Rangers battle to build thousands of London homes"

"Two businesses have unveiled rival plans to build thousands of homes on the last big undeveloped site in London – even though neither has ever built a single house.

"Cargiant, the car dealership, and Premier League football club Queens Park Rangers may not be builders but they have lined up teams of planners, architects and property developers as they try to cash in on the capital's housing market.

"The prize is a semi-industrial site of more than 100 acres called Old Oak Common, in west London. At first glance, it does not look a promising site for real estate, flanked by the unremarkable districts of Acton and Harlesden, with Wormwood Scrubs prison to the south and the Grand Union Canal running through the middle.

"Yet this is London’s biggest regeneration opportunity since the Olympics. A Crossrail and HS2 superstation the size of Waterloo will help create what Boris Johnson, mayor of London, called 'an entirely new city quarter for London'. Sir Edward Lister, deputy mayor, has hailed it as 'one of the largest and most exciting schemes of its kind in London for decades' and 'a once-in-a-lifetime pportunity to transform a vast area, the size of a small London borough'.

"Whoever wins will hope to emulate developers that are building big housing projects on land that was long derelict, such as King’s Cross, Battersea Power Station, Earls Court and Royal Docks. As Cargiant is already the biggest landowner and the major employer on Old Oak Common, it would appear to have the upper hand in the contest.

"QPR and the club’s owners own not a square inch of the land but they bring clout, profile and deep pockets. AirAsia entrepreneur Tony Fernandes, QPR chairman, is part of a consortium that includes the scion of the billionaire Gnanalingam family, which is the major shareholder of Malaysian ports operator Westports Holdings.

"The QPR team believe their plan to move out of their 18,000-seat ground in Shepherd’s Bush for a new, multipurpose stadium seating 40,000 on the Old Oak Common site is in tune with the regeneration policies of the mayor and local politicians. Their scheme promises 24,000 homes and 55,000 jobs in a project they call 'New Queens Park' – what Mr Fernandes describes as 'much more than just a stadium'.

"The master plan will be produced by Farrells and Tony Spencer, the property consultant who found Arsenal the site for its Emirates stadium and helped the club to become a one-off property developer to help fund the project.

"But Cargiant’s trump card is that it is already on Old Oak Common, where it employs 700 people and sells 40,000 cars a year, and has been there for 35 years. With PLP in charge of its master plan and First Base and Lipton Rogers its developers, Cargiant’s scheme would see it relocate its dealership and build 9,500 homes.

"The Greater London Authority sees the potential of a stadium as part of any redevelopment and has talked to QPR. But it will not attempt to strong-arm Cargiant to give way. 'The mayor hopes that an agreement between all parties can be reached,' Sir Edward said.

"Property industry figures downplay QPR’s chances of snatching Cargiant’s land out from underneath them. The club has little chance of obtaining a compulsory purchase order to force Cargiant to sell, according to one experienced planning adviser who did not want to be named because of his involvement in previous plans for the site. 'If the Cargiant plan is consistent with the mayor’s vision and they are making progress, then there would be no grounds [for an order],' he said.

"Cargiant is owned by Geoffrey Michael Warren, who is not a football fan – though his company once sponsored QPR and the company’s managing director, Tony Mendes, is a season-ticket holder. 'They [QPR] don’t own a blade of grass on Old Oak Common,' said Mr Mendes, adding that a football stadium in the middle of the site would 'sterilise' the area.

"QPR has responded by saying the future of Old Oak requires all to work for the common good, not in 'unco-ordinated and piecemeal development of individual land holdings', pointing out that Arsenal did not own any of the land it eventually acquired for its north London stadium.

"However, despite property industry speculation that Mr Warren is merely trying to inflate the price Cargiant will eventually get for the land, Mr Mendes dismisses any thought of the company being bought out. There were talks at one stage but no more, he says. 'We won’t engage with them again – we are too far down the road'."


GetWestLondon: "Protestors gathered outside the UK’s biggest property trade show today to campaign against the sell-off of social housing in the capital"

Link to web site

"About 100 protesters from all over London and even some from Spain rallied the inaugural MIPIM UK conference which started today at Olympia, and is normally held in Cannes, France.

"There were chants of ‘homes for people not for profit’ and ‘social housing not social cleansing', as around 4,000 property developers, architects, investors, agents and local government representatives queued up to make their way into the conference centre.

"Mayor of London Boris Johnson gave the opening speech at 10am, but protesters hoping to catch a glimpse of the mayor, who much of their vitriol was directed at, were disappointed when he chose not to enter through the main door."

The Guardian: "At yacht parties in Cannes, councils have been selling our homes from under us"

"Property developers wining and dining town hall executives - it’s a jaunt so lavish as to be almost comic"

Link to web site

"Starting [today], 4,000 men - and, yes, they’ll mainly be men - will gather in a giant hall in London. Among them will be major property developers, billionaire investors and officials of your local council or one nearby.

"And what they’ll discuss will be the sale of public real estate, prime land already owned by you and me, to the private sector. The marketing people brand this a property trade show, but let’s drop the euphemisms and call it the sales fair to flog off Britain.

"For the past 25 years, this conference – Mipim for short – has been held in Cannes. It’s a jaunt so lavish as to be almost comic – where big money developers invite town hall executives for secret discussions aboard private yachts, and whose regulars boast that they get through more champagne than all the liggers at the film festival.

"Suitably oiled-up, local officials open talks with multinational developers to sell council housing estates and other sites. All this networking is so lucrative for the builders that they even fly over council staff. Last year, Australia's Lend Lease paid for Southwark’s boss, Peter John, to attend Cannes.

"This is the same Lend Lease to which Southwark sold the giant Heygate estate at a knockdown price: 1,100 council flats in inner London to be demolished and replaced with 2,500 units, of which only 79 will be for 'social rent'.

"... Against that backdrop even the smallest victory looks historic. Up on the northwestern perimeter of London, in West Hendon, other council residents are fighting the borough of Barnet over the redevelopment of their estate on terms that suit the developer, Barratt Developments, not locals. Just under 700 homes are to be smashed up to make way for 2,000 new units. Just under 1,500 will be sold privately: the rest will be “affordable”, which in the doublespeak of housing means unaffordable.

"Barnet council cannot say how many social-rental homes will be provided, but it is clear that whatever provision there is will be grudging. With a quick Google you’ll find a video of the chair of Barnet’s housing committee, Tom Davey, claiming that his council is providing affordable housing because people are buying them. An objector points out that only the wealthy can afford them and the young Conservative thumps the desk and says: 'Those are the people we want'."

Old Oak Common: Transport Super Hub

(8 October)

Evening Standard: Call to make rail hub 'Stratford of West'

THE planned rail hub at Old Oak Common needs to be the anchor for a 'Stratford of the West' and not just a place to change trains, a Transport for London official has said.

Michele Dix, TfL’s managing director of planning, told the Standard that good local rail connections would be just as important to the area as the HS2 and Crossrail stations.

She said:
"It needs people who live in the west and south-west of London to get to it not just to get on to HS2 but to get to work.

"[We don’t want the junction at Old Oak Common] just being a great big railway interchange like Crewe where you just change trains.

We want to ensure it supports homes and jobs and so we are working with colleagues to ensure that space for development can be made available but also the local connections.

We are consulting on the Overground. We are very keen to have a connection to link it to HS2 and Crossrail. That makes the whole area more of a centre, a bit like Stratford, which has a lot of connections into it."
"When HS2’s Birmingham-to-London section opens in 2026, around one third of the southbound passengers will change at Old Oak Common to connect to Crossrail.

"Old Oak’s proposed Crossrail station, on the new £16 billion line between Paddington and Acton Mainline, could be built in the early 2020s"

(14 October)


Habita: "Protest against MIPIM in London: Homes for people, not for profit"

"The world’s largest property fair, known as MIPIM, is coming to London for the first time in its 25-year history. Hundreds of property developers, financiers and politicians will be welcomed by the Mayor of London when they converge on Olympia to do deals that allow them to profit from our land and our neighbourhoods.

"This is creating unaffordable, insecure housing and contributing to the corporate takeover of our community space and public services. It means big profits for the richest 1% whilst destroying our communities and keeping millions in poverty.

"We don't need more luxury housing, office blocks and shopping centres. We don't want our neighbourhoods to be gentrified and entire communities evicted. We want quality genuinely affordable housing and public services for all.

"Join affected communities, the Radical Housing Network, the European Action Coalition for the Right to Housing and the City, trade unions, tenants groups and many others to say 'Our communities are not for sale!'

"London Mayor Boris Johnson will be giving an opening address welcoming the property developers and financiers who have come to profit from our communities. #BlockBoris on Wednesday 15 October, 9am.

"Meet outside Kensington Olympia tube, Olympia Way, W14 0NE."


Evening Standard: "Revealed: Plans for £5bn new town on Grand Union Canal to spark battle with QPR"

Link to web site

"A £5 billion new town on the banks of the Grand Union Canal is being planned for the vast Cargiant supermarket site at Old Oak Common, the Standard has learned.

The world’s biggest motor dealership wants to build around 9,500 homes and a new high street on the sprawling 45-acre site in west London it has occupied for 34 years.

Other elements of the vision include a 'cultural hub' in the Art Deco former Rolls-Royce car maintenance works building that now serves as Cargiant’s HQ, a primary and secondary school and a new dock on the canal for leisure craft."

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