Financial Times: "Plans to regenerate London’s Old Oak Common clear hurdle"

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"Plans to build 'the Canary Wharf of west London', including thousands of homes and a railway hub capable of handling 250,000 passengers a day, have taken a big stride forward with the Mayor of London about to be handed overall control of the project.

"Old Oak Common is one of the capital's biggest regeneration opportunities since the Olympics. Bordered by Wormwood Scrubs to the south and Willesden Junction to the north, it is a semi-industrial, semi-derelict site of 155 hectares that straddles three London boroughs.

"... On Tuesday Eric Pickles, the communities and local government secretary, approved the creation of the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation to take control of the site. If parliament approves the body, as expected, it will come into being on April 1 and will be granted full planning powers shortly after.

"... Sir Edward Lister, London’s deputy mayor for policy and planning, said:
"We will be approaching central government for assistance with building some of the infrastructure or to . . . create an enterprise zone and capture the uplift in business rates."


'Building': "Old Oak Common development corp set for spring debut"

"Plans to set up a new development corporation tasked with building 24,000 new homes and creating 55,000 jobs in the Old Oak Common and Park Royal area of west London have been formally submitted to the government.

"The proposals for overseeing the redevelopment of the 950ha site surrounding the huge HS2 and Crossrail interchange earmarked for Old Oak Common won support from London Assembly members last month.

"Now Mayor of London Boris Johnson has asked communities secretary Eric Pickles to lay an order for the mayoral development corporation’s establishment before Parliament, with the expectation that it will come into effect on 1 April.

"The corporation would take over planning responsibilities from the local authorities currently responsible for the area in a bid to better co-ordinate development.

"Two rival development teams are vying to redevelop Old Oak Common.

"Last month auto-retailer Car Giant, which owns 47 hectares of land in the development corporation zone, entered into a collaboration with developer London & Regional Properties to redevelop its holding.

"The move plunged football Club Queens Park Rangers' earlier plans for a new stadium on the site and a wider regeneration scheme into jeopardy.

"Johnson said the corporation would look to 'emulate the success' of the London Legacy Development Corporation in east London, which is redeveloping the London 2012 Olympic Park. He said
"By 2030 the sprawling industrial land at Old Oak Common could be a thriving new district teeming with tens of thousands of new homes and jobs and a rail station the size of Waterloo.

This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to transform this site and there is no doubt that a Mayoral Development Corporation is the best way to unlock its enormous potential."
"Once it is established, the development corporation will be chaired by the mayor of London or a designate.

"It will have a board that include [sic] councillors from Hammersmith & Fulham, Brent and Ealing councils, all of which currently have jurisdiction over parts of the site."


The Observer: "The last thing east London needs is another seven towers (from Hammerson and Ballymore)

"Boris Johnson’s support for a luxury high-rise development on Bishopsgate Goodsyard illustrates his contempt for localism"

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"The 11.6-acre site is one of the largest left in central London, a piece of redundant Victorian railway infrastructure that is partly listed, a thick sliver running eastward from the edge of the City, through the territories of the boroughs of Hackney and Tower Hamlets, and crossed by the hipster high street of Brick Lane. The proposal, by a joint venture of Hammerson and Ballymore, is of a kind now familiar in London: a row of towers stuffed with luxury housing. At their highest they will reach the level of the Gherkin or the Walkie Talkie.

It is better than some such proposals, to the extent that it offers something more than a wasteland of Chinese granite at its base. A preserved section of brick viaduct will be converted into a shopping area, with a small park on top designed by some local architects. When it comes to placebo greenery, this is more convincing than the Walkie Talkie’s 'Sky Garden' or the urban parsley of the Garden bridge. It will, however, thanks to the proposed towers, be cast into shadow on late summer afternoons, which is when it is most likely to be in use.

"The Tech City people oppose it because it offers little of the kinds of flexible space that small- and medium-sized enterprises need, and disrupts the “cluster” effect – the benefits of having many businesses in close proximity on which they thrive. Conservationists oppose it because the towers will crash into views down Victorian and Georgian streets in neighbouring conservation areas, because the design of the new work is could-be-anywhere generic, and because the relationship of the new to the old is clumsy. Local residents oppose it because it will cast a slab of shadow hundreds of yards to the north, including on the 1890s Boundary estate. This is poignant: the estate was a world-leading pioneer of council housing, whose charming arts-and-crafts architecture was based on maximising daylight to its homes, whose light will now be reduced."


Old Oak Common Flickr group "dedicated to capturing the area as it undergoes regeneration"

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"Old Oak Common is an area of west London between Harlesden and Acton known for its railway depots,

"Old Oak Common is set to undergo major regeneration on the same sort of scale such as shown in Canary Wharf and Stratford.

"The primary objective of this group is to document via the medium of images this transformation which will unravel over the course of the coming decades, and of course, to have fun whilst doing it."


Property Week: "Prologis sells North Wembley shed to Cargiant" (Just for its tenants though?)

"Used car dealership Cargiant has bought a Prologis shed in Wembley for £38m at a record 4.1% yield.

"The H&M-let 140,000 sq ft unit is likely to be used by Car Giant to house tenants should they be displaced at Old Oak Common – where it is battling Queens Park Rangers Football Club over the redevelopment of the site.

"The deal betters the 4.6% yield Legal & General paid for the forward funding of Waitrose facility at Magna Park, Milton Keynes. [Whatever.]

"DTRE advised Prologis, Cargiant was unrepresented." [Probably for the best.]


Planning Resource: "Government moves to hand London mayor new planning powers"

"The government has added a new clause to the Infrastructure Bill which would give London mayor Boris Johnson powers to make development orders granting planning permission for development on specified sites within the capital.

"Speaking during the bill's committee stage earlier this week, communities minister Stephen Williams said that the government had introduced the new clause to 'recognise the opportunity to plan proactively for housing and growth in London'.

"Williams said that mayoral development orders have been 'closely modelled' on existing local development orders.

"He said the process of making a mayoral development order 'would be initiated by the relevant local planning authorities, which would be any London boroughs in whose area any part of a site is located, and which would apply to the mayor to ask him to make a mayoral development order'.

" 'Thereafter, those London boroughs would have to agree before the draft order is published for consultation and the final order is brought into force,' Willliams added.

"Chancellor George Osborne announced in June 2014 that the London mayor would be able to grant new powers in housing zones, called mayoral development orders, to 'remove planning obstacles' and speed up developments.

"A prospectus, published by the mayor's office last June, invited London boroughs to submit proposals for housing zones, where housebuilding will be accelerated.

"Shadow planning minister Roberta Blackman-Woods told the committee that a 'number of questions' remain over the proposed orders.

" 'Local development orders do not have to have section 106 agreements applied to them,' she said.

" 'That has caused us and a number of organisations concern that the housing zones that the mayor of London is setting up, and to which mayoral development orders will apply, will not have any affordable housing attached to them'."


'London Enterprise Panel' launches "London 2036: An Agenda for Jobs and Growth"

" 'London 2036: An Agenda for Jobs and Growth' is the most significant business-led consultation project undertaken to help drive jobs and growth in a UK city. The report sets out a formula for the capital to achieve world-beating income growth, greater job opportunities than rival cities, a diverse and shock-proof economy, more homes and better transportation, as well as more balanced economic growth across the UK.

"As part of that formula, it says greater control of taxes and expanding the capital’s ability to capture the uplift in property values from transport investment will be crucial to securing the long-term infrastructure investment that will help drive the city’s growth.

"The report also concludes that 'London’s fundamental strengths in research, talent, creativity and finance should make it an unparalleled location for commercial innovation'.

"The study was produced by London First on behalf of the London Enterprise Panel, with detailed analysis undertaken by McKinsey & Co. It is the result of over 12 months’ work involving over 400 stakeholders from business, London government, central government, universities and others, and highlights three core themes for successfully developing and safeguarding London's economy:
  • cementing London’s existing strengths as the world’s leading economic and business hub;
  • fuelling more diverse growth by capitalising on the city’s strengths in tech and creativity; and
  • addressing the challenges to London’s basic foundations.

"The report found that London is already the world’s business and talent hub while also being a centre for creativity and innovation, but it comes with the clear message that the strengths and assets that have got the capital to where it is now are not enough to maintain the city’s global leadership position, and swift and decisive action is needed to address the challenges the city faces today."

The London Enterprise Panel is the local enterprise partnership for London.
Chaired by Mayor of London Boris Johnson, the LEP is the body through
which the Mayoralty works with London’s boroughs, business and
Transport for London to take a strategic view of the regeneration,
employment and skills agenda for London.


The Guardian: "Boris's Budget 2015-16: how the London mayor will makes ends meet"

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"Two things always strike me at this time of year, when the mayor's draft budget is unveiled and probed: one, what a lot of money this tier of London government gets; two, how relatively little power comes with it. Boris Johnson’s proposals for 2015-16 and the London Assembly's initial views on it have again inspired that response.

"What's changing, though, is the intensifying impact of the government’s spending cuts and the mayor’s need to adjust to it. Then there’s the big, big, background context - a Greater London population about to top its previous record of 8.6 million, set way back in 1939, and surge towards nine million and beyond.

"... Meanwhile, and significantly, Transport for London's range of uses to the mayor is expanding. In his (recommended) foreword to [a draft budget] committee report, its chair John Biggs notes that TfL has become one of Mayor Johnson's main tools for encouraging jobs and economic growth in London. The controversial garden bridge plan, primarily a privately-owned tourist attraction, is one example of this, with TfL required to put £30m towards building it. The commuter-free Thames cable car is an earlier one.

"This could be just the start. Biggs writes that it is easy to imagine a future mayor 'calling on TfL’s capital budget to kick-start development work on the Old Oak Common site', the biggest mayor-led redevelopment scheme since the Olympic Park."


Planning Resource: "Holding jobs that will put them at the heart of change, these ten individuals will step further to the fore in 2015"



Mick Mulhern, Head of planning, Old Oak Common and Park Royal Development Corporation
"The development of former industrial and railway land at Old Oak Common in west London is the capital's largest upcoming regeneration project. Proposals include building 24,000 homes and the creation of 55,000 jobs as part of a scheme on a scale equal to the Olympic site and the redevelopment of King's Cross.

"Previously principal regeneration officer at the Greater London Authority (GLA), where he worked on plans for Tottenham and Croydon, Mulhern has been appointed head of planning at the recently established mayoral development corporation for Old Oak Common and Park Royal.

Both the scale of the project and Mulhern's 'significant role' mean that he will be a key figure in the coming year, according to one consultant. 'Old Oak Common is going to be important for all sorts of reasons,' adds a lawyer [Sue, Grabbitt and Runne?], pointing to plans to make it the site of a major station for both Crossrail and High Speed Two (HS2). Plans to connect HS2 to London Overground could make Old Oak Common the capital's largest transport hub, according to the GLA and mayoral agency Transport for London."


The Guardian: "London transport enters year of big unknowns"

"With uncertainty over funding, rising traffic levels and a mayor whose attention might be wandering, 2015 could be a tricky year for transport in the capital"

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"The London New Year has brought the annual delight of an increase in public transport fares. These include the price of single bus journeys being hiked to the symbolic height of £1.50. Ten years ago, using Oyster, these cost just £1. Yet 2015’s increase is one of the gentler adjustments of recent times. The average rise is 2.5% compared with the inflation-plus new tariffs Boris Johnson has previously introduced.

"Daily caps on pay-as-you-go fares have been lowered to help some of those many Londoners with part-time jobs or unpredictable work patterns. Such blessings may seem small in the greater scheme of things. But maybe we should enjoy them while they last.

"The next twelve months will be a journey into uncertainty for the capital’s transport chiefs. The biggest doubt will be about the Treasury’s money stream. By autumn the next public spending review will be underway, including decisions about funding for Transport for London (TfL) until (probably) 2020. What species of government will be in charge? How long will it last for? And how will the mayor be passing his time by then?"

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