The OPDC Local Plan - first draft is published (as well as the Statement of Community Involvement)

Rail Engineer: "T2 at North Pole" (Ho, ho, ho!)

Link to web site

"When Rail Engineer was invited to visit North Pole in early December, it seemed like a good opportunity to sort out Christmas presents. When the itinerary arrived, the route was found to be via St Pancras and Paddington. However, it was not then to catch a plane at Heathrow for the snow-covered North. Instead the next leg of the journey would be by bus.

"For the trip wasn't to Santa’s North Pole at all, but to Hitachi’s new depot at the edge of Wormwood Scrubs.

"North Pole depot opened in 1994 as the maintenance facility for Eurostar trains, then operating out of Waterloo. A six-road, 400 metre long light maintenance shed and a four- road heavy maintenance workshop were built, along with separate buildings for a wheel lathe and a carriage wash.

"When Eurostar moved to St Pancras in November 2007, maintenance moved to Temple Mills near Stratford and the North Pole facility became surplus to requirements."


[Reposted] Why no progress on Boris's Dudding Hill Line London Overground service to Thameslink? (Site of the London Borough of Barnet's corrupt Brent Cross Cricklewood planning consent)

What we will actually get:

(That's enough blow-back from Barnet's corrupt Brent Cross Cricklewood planning consent. Ed.)

Boris's aspirations:

Sky: "Many New-Build Homes Like 'Rabbit Hutches'" (including by Genesis Housing Association's General Woundwort?)

"The Royal Institute of British Architects says space standards that are currently optional should apply across the board"

Link to Sky web site

"Many new family homes being built in England are like rabbit hutches because they are too small to live in comfortably, a report has warned.

"It found that on average a new three-bedroom home sold outside London is four square metres short of what buyers need – equivalent to the size of a family bathroom.

"The study by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) compared the sizes of new three-bedroom homes on more than 100 developments across England against new, optional space standards introduced in October."

Rail Engineer: "Crossrail gets its rails"

Link to web site

"The tunnelling is finished. It's time to start building a railway. Ok, here at Rail Engineer we've taken an interest in the Crossrail tunnelling machinery. We've marvelled at the wonders of steering a delicate path through all the services and foundations beneath London. We've looked at the logistics of shifting all the spoil and the creation of a wetland nature reserve twice the size of the City of London at Wallasea Island in Essex.

"But we're really railway engineers, not tunnellers, and so it's now, with the tunnels completed, that our enthusiasm for the project really kicks in. Over the coming months we’ll be looking at how an almost bare tunnel will be kitted out with the paraphernalia of a railway and how all that stuff is integrated to form a complete system capable of running a service of up to a train every two minutes.

"This month, David Bickell covers the signalling and the transition from Network Rail to the Crossrail system and back again. In future issues, we’ll be looking in detail at the track installation equipment and how everything fits together, as well as delving into the power requirements and the overhead power delivery system.

"And amongst all this there will be coverage of the logistics involved in not only feeding this voracious project but how all the various sites are kept safely apart. Of course, everything will depend on telecoms right through and beyond the construction phase.

"But this is all to come. In the meantime we look at how things are at the moment with the rumble of the tunnelling machines now a thing of the past."


Metro: "Amazing pictures show how Crossrail is being made"

"Crossrail is nearly here and it already looks fabulous.

"New images show how well the project is coming together, with the vast tunnels now fully carved.

"But there’s still quite a bit to do."

[This is the Noddy school of journalism.]


Look what Santa's brought you: The Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation Local Plan Integrated Impact Assessment Scoping Report. (It was either that or an exploding hover-board.)

Railway Gazette: "Funding to develop Old Oak Common station plans"

"The European Commission is providing €4m to Transport for London towards planning new stations at Old Oak Common in west London. The funding comes from the Connecting Europe Facility and will be match-funded by TfL.

"The funding will support development of options for new stations on Old Oak Common Lane and Hythe Road. These are intended to provide interchange between Crossrail, High Speed 2 and London Overground's West London and North London lines."

Er, that's it.

Crossrail: "Bakerloo Line Link Project Tunnelling Works at Paddington"

"You may be aware that as part of the Crossrail project, London Underground (LU) has started the construction of the Bakerloo Line Link (BLL).

"The BLL is a passenger subway between the new Crossrail Paddington station platforms on Eastbourne Terrace and the LU Bakerloo line platforms.

"The BLL is scheduled to open in 2018 along with the Crossrail central London service. The contractor carrying out the work on behalf of LU is Costain Skanska Joint Venture.

"A temporary shaft has already been constructed within the RMG building on London Street to provide access for the personnel and machinery required to tunnel the deep level BLL connection.

"The tunnelling process started in November 2015 and will continue until January 2017, when the fit-out works will commence.

The team is working 24 hours, 7 days a week during the tunnelling works to fulfil safety regulations. The project will shut down for the Christmas holidays between 25th December 2015 to 4th January 2016.

The construction site contained within the Royal Mail building gives the opportunity to ensure that disruption to the local community is kept to a minimum."


Architecture Foundation: "The Architecture of High Rise"

"A first look at the architecture of Ben Wheatley's upcoming dystopian thriller"

"The first trailer for Ben Wheatley's upcoming film adaptation of J G Ballard's 'High Rise' has been released. It contains a smattering of architectural insights into characters' world - a Brutalist(ish), Corbusian(ish) tower marooned in an ocean of car parking. The story was in part inspired by the wave of ambitious post-war housing developments across the UK and Europe.
High Rise is set in Outer London far removed from the city proper. [Old Oak Common?] Roughly where the ExCel Centre now is. [Oh.] Events unfold in the first tower to be completed of a new masterplan by Royals' firm. We think these towers are jointly inspired by Abalos & Herreros' Torre Woremann in Gran Canaria mixed with Neave Brown's Alexandra Road Estate in Camden.
"A central character, Anthony Royal, the fictional architect of the tower dwells in its penthouse - a thinly veiled reference to Hungarian-born architect Ernő Goldfinger who famously took a flat at the top of Balfron Tower in Poplar which he designed.

Rail Magazine: "Western Route Study: Network Rail predicts new route requirements"

"Destination boards at London Paddington could be displaying services for Southampton via Heathrow Airport in future years, Network Rail suggests in one of it latest route studies.

"NR’s Western Route Study looks through Control Period 6 (2019-2024) and on to 2043 to assess what the railway must do to accommodate the increase in passengers and freight it expects. For the lines from Paddington, there’s the prospect of a new interchange station at Old Oak Common for High Speed 2 in 2026, as well as CP6’s proposed new line into Heathrow from the west.

"Improving connections to these two transport hubs drives many of NR’s proposals across three recently published route studies covering Western, Wessex and Sussex. Providing better access from places such as Southampton to Heathrow and HS2 would need extra capacity, with NR suggesting flying junctions at Southcote Junction and Basingstoke. In addition, it suggests a third line between Southcote Junction and Oxford Road Junction (both near Reading) to cope with more container trains.

"Brighton Main Line trains could run to Old Oak Common via the West London Line to provide access to HS2. NR notes that this might need a flying junction around Clapham, which is something it says only tunnels could provide. This could harm capacity into Waterloo because NR suggests that dedicating fast line paths onto the West London Line would lead to other trains diverted from the fast lines being restricted to eight cars, rather than 12.

"Ladbroke Grove Junction, just outside Paddington, may also require rebuilding as a flying junction, as part of a re-modelling of the approach to Paddington. Looking towards 2043, NR predicts that Paddington-Reading will need 24 trains per hour on its two main lines in the high peak, compared with the 20tph needed in NR’s 2019 base year.

"NR expects these paths will need longer trains, too. It suggests high peak trains for Newbury and Oxford will need to be 12 cars rather than eight, and that Intercity Express Programme (IEP) trains be increased to 11 or 12 cars.

"There’s pressure too on the relief (slow) lines from Paddington, with NR estimating an increase in demand between 2012 and 2043 of 298%. The equivalent figure for the main lines is 99%. Main line services will have only standing room east of Reading in the morning peak hour from 2023 if nothing beyond the current plans is delivered. By 2043, it will be standing room only, from Oxford, Swindon and Newbury on the same basis.

"Even in the West Country will require extra capacity. If no extra capacity is provided into Exeter, then by 2043 passengers will be standing from Umberleigh on the Barnstaple Line, from Lympstone on the Exmouth branch and from Feniton on the old South Western Main Line for 0800-0859 arrivals.

"More capacity is also needed on NR’s Wessex Route, adjacent to the Western. In addition to re-modelling Basingstoke to cope with Paddington-Southampton trains, NR argues that Woking’s flat junction should be replaced by grade-separation in CP6. The London Waterloo-Southampton route needs longer trains and more seats to cope with demand. NR suggests that trains on the route switch to 2+3 seating (most today have 2+2 seating).

"Beyond CP6, rail funders will need to decide on more radical upgrades. NR predicts that the choices available could be some or all of the following: a fifth line from Surbiton to Clapham Junction, Crossrail 2 or cab signalling (ETCS Level 3) plus automatic train operation (ATO).

"For the inner suburban area, NR argues that only Crossrail 2 'looks to have the potential to get close to the long-term target train numbers to cope with growth', although it says that accelerating ETCS/ATO could help, and would bring better value for money than the fifth track.

"In Sussex, in addition to Thameslink improvements, CP6 should include capacity improvements where the routes from Victoria and London Bridge converge just north of East Croydon, extra platforms at East Croydon and Reigate, and grade-separation at Coulsdon."


The Guardian: " 'A tortured heap of towers': the London skyline of tomorrow"

Link to web site

" 'The last piece in the jigsaw' is how architect Eric Parry described his design for 1 Undershaft, the tallest building in the City of London, when it was unveiled this week. It will crown the planned 'cluster' of towers, standing right between the Cheesegrater and the Gherkin. But it's far from the final piece – in fact, it's only the beginning of another building boom.

"In an anonymous basement a few streets from the 1 Undershaft site stands a chessboard showing the City of London's future skyline. The Perspex peaks cluttering this planning office model glow greenish-grey, like a malevolent crystal formation from the planet Krypton.

"Dreamed up during the banking bubble, most of these novelty chess pieces were stopped dead by the recession. But now, with the global property investment industry booming and the City's vacancy rates at their lowest for 15 years, the tabletop fantasy is fast becoming reality."


The Observer: "Is the only way up for London's skyline?"

"The Shard, the Cheesegrater, the Walkie Talkie… and there are more towers to come. So how do we judge what's blight and what's beautiful?"

Link to web site

"Tall buildings in London, say various forms of official policy on the matter, should be well-designed and in the right place. Well I never. Who could possibly disagree with that? Hands up all those who want badly designed skyscrapers in the wrong places.

"Yet, if you survey the hundreds of plans for towers at various stages of planning and construction in London, it's hard to find those elusive beings that have both or even either quality, projects that are unequivocally Well-designed And In The Right Place – let’s call them WDAITRPs.

"The Walkie Talkie? No on both counts. The St George tower in Vauxhall, and the Strata in Elephant and Castle? Ditto. The Shard? Arguably one but not the other."

Daily Telegraph: "The Tube of the future has been unveiled - and it's blue"

"London Underground stations in the future will feature shiny blue-panelled walls and gold-coloured ceilings, ambient lighting, and illuminated escalator portals."

"Transport for London’s extensive plans to build new Tube stations that 'represent London's rich heritage and contemporary culture' while providing 'simple, clean and uncluttered spaces' and an 'uplifting and inspiring' customer experience, have been realised in designs by the London-based group Studio Egret West."

The Guardian: "How do you create a city for all? The answer lies in West Norwood ..."

"Can local community cooperation be scaled up to create a participatory city? Neighbourhood-led pilot project the Open Works thinks so"

Link to web site

"In February 2014, a pilot project was launched in West Norwood, south London, mobilising 1,000 people to reconfigure their neighbourhood for everyday benefit. In partnership with Lambeth Council, the Open Works united residents of the neighbourhood to create 20 new, community-led initiatives – from orchards and gardens to a youth ideas incubator; from craft groups to communal kitchens.

" 'The idea was to test whether high-density, mass community participation can be scaled up to create a participatory city. And we believe it can,' says Laura Billings and Tessy Britton, co-founders of the Open Works. 'Community participation should be the starting point in any community development, not an afterthought.'

A follow-up report found that the small amount of seed-funding from Lambeth Council had indeed been successful in achieving 'bottom-up' change, building valuable social capital between those usually outside of each other's networks. But amid a backdrop massive cuts to council funding across the country – Lambeth has lost over 56% of its budget since 2010 – the project’s funding ended earlier this year."


English Heritage: Old Oak Common: The Calm before the Storm (Après Boris le déluge)

"The development of the Old Oak Common area in the nineteenth century was dominated by a un-coordinated succession of linear routes driven through an agrarian landscape." [There were farms.]

"... The decline of heavy industry and changes to the rail network have left parts of the study area with the appearance of an exposed or semi-derelict post-industrial landscape." [It's a dump.]

"... Recent developments around North Acton Station complete the picture, hinting at new land uses including housing, retail and offices." [North Acton has been rebuilt as a dump.]

Create streets; "High-Rise Buildings: Energy and Density"

"High-Rise Buildings: Energy and Density Professor Philip Steadman of UCL sets out some of the existing evidence on density and energy usage for high-rise buildings"

Link to PDF

"As is well known, large numbers of high-rise buildings are under construction or planned for London. A survey last year by New London Architecture showed that 236 buildings of more than 20 storeys are planned, of which 80% are residential.

Today there are extra concerns about high-rise buildings, to do with their sustainability and use of energy. In this context a new research project at University College London’s Energy Institute will try to answer two questions:
1. Are high-rise buildings more energy-intensive – all other things being equal – than equivalent low-rise buildings?

2. Is it possible to provide the same total floor area on the same sites as high-rise buildings, but on a much-reduced number of storeys?"


2015 Autumn Spending Review: Land transfer from grubby hands of Network Rail

"1.252: The Autumn Statement and Spending Review supports local Growth Strategies to ensure that areas benefit as much as possible from HS2, enabling regeneration around stations and the improvement of connections to HS2 stations. This includes support for development around the new HS2 stations at Old Oak Common and Birmingham Curzon Street.

"1.271: ... Support includes ... bringing together the publicly-owned land around the Old Oak Common HS2 station into single control."

The fully monty

HS2 Ltd. plans for Euston Station


GetBucks: "Council leaders urge government to protect rail line from HS2" [at Old Oak Common]

Link to web site

"Leaders of councils representing Bucks have hit out at plans to close a rail line in the county because of HS2.

The HS2 hybrid bill, which lays out the plans for the development of the first phase of HS2, would involve closing the High Wycombe Single Line (HWSL) which links parts of Bucks with London.

"In a letter to the Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin, the leaders of five councils in Bucks say:
"This would ensure that Buckinghamshire residents, who otherwise might be said to be amongst those most negatively affected by the Bill proposals, are able to benefit from the HS2 scheme.”

The HWSL is a route that we consider of great importance to the long-term economic prospects of the communities we represent."


The OAPF Part Works (The separate installments can be bound together in an attractive binder you can cherish for years to come)

"The Old Oak and Park Royal Opportunity Area Planning Framework (OAPF) was adopted by the Mayor on 4th November 2015. The OAPF is Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG) to the Mayor’s London Plan (2015). The framework has been produced by the Greater London Authority with contributions from Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC), Transport for London and the London Boroughs of Brent, Ealing and Hammersmith & Fulham.

"The framework sets out an ambitious vision and planning guidance to capitalise on future transport improvements to deliver transformative change at Old Oak, regeneration of Park Royal and continue the protection of Wormwood Scrubs.

"The adopted Opportunity Area Planning Framework and its supporting documents are available on the below links."

Old Oak and Park Royal Opportunity Area Planning Framework

The document has also been split into individual contents sections:
0. Foreword

1. Introduction

2. Vision and Objectives

3. Land use strategy

4. Design strategy

5. Old Oak strategy

6. Park Royal strategy

7. Wormwood Scrubs strategy

8. Transport strategy

9. Environment strategy

10. Delivery strategy

Appendix 1 - Contextual Analysis

Supporting documents

The final supporting documents for the OAPF will be uploaded in this section w/c 16 October. [sic.]

Related documents [Are these the 'final supporting documents?]

I-Spy on Grand Union Street [sic]

Can you spot:
  • the flying delivery drone?
  • the translucent bus stop screen?
  • the robot? (clue: it's hiding a bit!)
  • the weird bicycles?
  • the lack of segregated cycle paths?

Just Space: "Vision for the next London Plan"

Link to web site

"The Just Space network of community groups and London-wide organisations works to influence London’s strategic planning document, The London Plan, and today issues a set of 'key demands' which will form the basis of more detailed Community Visions for the next London Plan

"... Just Space Co-ordinator, Richard Lee said:
"While the Mayor's staff are preparing their new version of London's strategic planning document that will affect the lives of all Londoners, Just Space groups have seized the initiative and are putting forward ideas of what local people want to see included.

For too long, London’s planning system has failed to deliver for Londoners on issues such as air pollution and inequalities, has not developed a rounded economy, and has failed to tackle the affordable housing crisis. Local people are demanding a better future for London and all Londoners."


HS2: the human cost of Britain’s most expensive ever rail project

Link to web site

"Prideaux and his wife live in a low-ceilinged farmhouse to which they moved so their son and his family could reside in their spacious old hall. Prideaux was smartly turned out in a blue checked shirt, red tank top and mustard cords, but drove me around his 1,400 acres in a middle-aged Subaru estate with tattered newspapers in the footwell. HS2 will pretty much divide his land down the middle. One of his two tenant farms will cease to be economically viable. He will lose farm buildings and a lodge.

" 'In an estate agent’s patter, it's "a fine rural location" and all that sort of garbage,' he said. The new line will pass shudderingly close to the hall, which is listed as Grade II* – the most protected category of building. 'It's an architectural mix-up of Elizabethan, Jacobean and William & Mary. Everybody’s had a go at it,' he said, which did not really do justice to the gracefully proportioned house. He then added: 'It's one of the three or four most important houses on the line between London and Birmingham'."


The Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC): Opportunity Area Planning Framework (OAPF): The Full Monty (FM)

"The Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation's planning framework, to deliver 25,500 new homes and 65,000 jobs at Old Oak and Park Royal, was approved and adopted by the Mayor of London on 4 November 2015. 

"Earlier this year, the Mayor published the framework document for consultation, and following a process of fine-tuning working with London boroughs, partners and strategic stakeholders, the OPDC Board and now the Mayor has approved the document to inform the strategic planning direction for the area. 

"The Opportunity Area Planning Framework (OAPF) aims to:
  • Capitalise on the new HS2, Crossrail and National Rail interchange to regenerate the area and contribute significantly to London’s competitiveness
  • Create a new urban neighbourhood at Old Oak, supporting a minimum of 24,000 new homes and an additional 1,500 in non-industrial locations in Park Royal
  • Support the creation of 55,000 new jobs at Old Oak and a further 10,000 at Park Royal
  • Protect and enhance Park Royal as a strategic industrial location
  • Ensure new development safeguards nearby amenity assets such as Wormwood Scrubs and the Grand Union Canal
  • Work with communities, residents and businesses to realise the strategy."

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