Isambard Kingdom Boris in Crossrail photoshoot. ("Great. [click] A little more leg. [click] Good. Now pout a bit. A bit more. [click] Fantastic.")

"Crossrail's 26 mile tunnelling marathon entered the home straight today when the Mayor of London visited tunnel boring machine Victoria, 42 metres below ground at the new Liverpool Street Crossrail station.

Crossrail’s final tunnelling machines, Victoria and Elizabeth, are currently being prepared to complete the last two 750 metre tunnel drives between Liverpool Street and Farringdon. When they reach their destination and the big east-west breakthrough is complete, all 26 miles of Crossrail’s new train tunnels will have been created.

Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, said:
"These hardworking beasts have slowly but steadily been working their way across London underneath our feet. The last time I saw them they were at Canary Wharf, and now nearly six million tonnes of earth has been excavated and their work is almost complete. The project, the largest in Europe, will transform rail services across London and remains on time and on budget.

We must capitalise on its success and work to ensure Crossrail 2 becomes a reality. With the government confirming this week the Crossrail 2 route is now safeguarded, and businesses and the public showing overwhelming support for the plan, we are moving even closer to delivering another much needed new rail line for the capital."
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin, said:
"The scale and complexity of Crossrail's tunnelling works is astounding and shows British engineering at its best. I congratulate all involved and look forward to the completion of the project which will play a vital role in driving forward our long-term economic plan."
Terry Morgan, Crossrail Chairman, said:
"It's fantastic that the end of tunnelling is now in sight. For nearly three years, our machines have been inching their way forward beneath the streets of London. Once the tunnelling is complete, we will turn our attention to fitting out the tunnels with the tracks, cabling and all the systems needed to deliver a fully operating railway."


Until 12 Apr: Become an OPDC Planning Committee member. [Pity the corrupt Brent Cross Cricklewood planning consent wasn't handled in this way.]

Fifty Shades of Grey

"Salary: Unpaid - Expenses
Contract type: Part-time, fixed term
Reference: OPDC002
Interview Date: 22, 23 and 24 April 2015
Date posted: 25 March 2015
Closing date: 12 April 2015"

Make your mark on London
"Mayoral appointments to the Planning Committee of the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC)

"We are looking for Planning Committee members for a new Greater London Authority functional body – the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC), to help deliver one of the largest regeneration projects in the Capital.

"On 1 April 2015, OPDC will become the local planning authority for the whole of this new Mayoral Development Area and will take on all planning powers including: preparing planning policy, setting and collecting Community Infrastructure Levy and determining planning applications.

"OPDC Planning Committee will support the physical, social, economic and environmental regeneration at Old Oak and Park Royal, through high-quality, sustainable development and investment for the benefit of the area and the communities that surround it.

"Specifically the Planning Committee will lead on determining planning applications submitted to OPDC and will advise OPDC Board on emerging planning policy. A dedicated chair of the Planning Committee has been appointed and will also sit on OPDC Board.

Please download the full candidate briefing pack

"If you require a hardcopy application pack or have any questions regarding the application process, please contact the GLA resourcing team on 020 7983 5528 or by email at glajobs@london.gov.uk."
How to apply
"Candidates are invited to apply by submitting a CV and cover letter via the GLA’s online recruitment portal.  You will be asked to provide the following information
  • Contact details, eligibility, interview availability
  • If any GLA employees are known to you
  • Recruitment monitoring information
"Upload your most recent CV which includes:
  • Employment, public appointments and qualifications history
  • Names and details of two referees who are willing to provide a reference for you
  • Information regarding any Directorships you hold
"Upload a cover letter which answers the following questions, drawing on your previous experience where possible.
  • What would your unique contribution be in this role, and how would this contribution be seen in action?
  • How do you meet the role requirements as outlined in the person specification, and in which do you have substantial skills and experience?
"You should advise if you are able to represent those living and / or working in the Mayoral development area and of any conflicts of interest you may have or which may arise if you were appointed.

"Your CV and Cover Letter combined should be no more than 4 sides in length.

"Closing date for receipt of completed applications: 23:59 GMT Sunday 12 April 2015 

"Interviews will be held at City Hall, London on 22, 23 & 24 April 2015"

"London's diversity is its biggest asset and we strive to ensure our workforce reflects London's diversity at all levels. Applications from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic candidates will be particularly welcomed as they are currently under-represented in this area of our organisation."


Wed 1 April: Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation: Meeting of the Board (and we ain't sayin' who they are)

"The inaugural meeting of the Board of the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation will be held on Wednesday 1 April 2015, at 2.00pm in Committee Room 5, City Hall, London SE1 2AA. The meeting papers are shown below. [Except we are not saying who is actually on the board, until a press release at 9am on 1 April.]

"This first meeting of the Board will be an Extraordinary Meeting, in that the Board will receive the agenda and papers as urgent business. This is because the under applicable local government law, there is a requirement to give 5 days’ notice of the meeting; however, this is not possible in this instance, as the Corporation does not come in to formal legal existence until 1 April 2015.

"Agendas of business that will be discussed at a meeting and the reports on each topic for discussion (except any which contain confidential, personal or financial information) can generally be viewed on the website five days before the meeting.

"Meetings of the Board are open to the public; the public can obtain copies of the public papers, except for when confidential, personal or financial information matters are being discussed. These items will be marked on the agenda."

No expense spared there, eh?


[Reposted] Western Circus, East Acton, 1930 and now (A40 Western Avenue and Old Oak Common Lane junction)

Top: 'Britain from Above'

lookwestLondon: "Victoria Hills Interview"

"The designated head of the Old Oak & Park Royal Development Corporation, Victoria Hills, is keen to help Old Oak realise its potential without 'meddling with the success' of the wider Park Royal estate.

"Speaking during an exclusive interview at MIPIM, the new Director of the Old Oak & Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC) said that she saw the arrival of the new interchange between Crossrail and HS2 as a huge opportunity to leverage regeneration for the whole area.

"In a comment which will be welcomed by many businesses in Park Royal, Hills said, 'We’ve got tremendous interest from utlities companies in Old Oak, so we can lever that to help sort out, for example, broadband issues in Park Royal.' This is part of her goal to help Park Royal benefit from development at Old Oak. This same logic can be applied to energy and water, and hopefully will be.

"Hills said the chance to develop a new town centre with 24,000 homes at 'the most connected part of the UK rail network' did depend on the ability of the GLA to persuade the two rail operators – HS2 and Crossrail – to deliver 'more than just an interchange', something echoed later by speakers at a panel session. There would need to be accessibility to the station from outside, and from London Overground, and the ability to build over the station box, which engineers would need to be told to plan for. This was one of her key goals from her recent meeting with members of the HS2 Transport Select Committee.

"Overall, the most heartening strand of her comments for business already based on Park Royal is that she realises how important it is to the London economy. 'We don’t want to meddle with the success of Park Royal,' she said.

"Indeed, she is looking at other measures to assist Park Royal businesses. When asked about traffic congestion across the estate, she said she was looking at simple measures, such as traffic light rephasing, and simple improvement works at junctions.

"They are open to approach as well. Far from having a fixed idea of what goes where, the OPDC wants to hear suggestions and ideas. For example, she said: 'We’d be delighted to see anything coming forward from land owners along Scrubs Lane.'

"We turned inevitably to the much-publicised debate about the Cargiant site between the eponymous landowner and Queens Park Rangers. The latter wanted to build a new stadium on the former’s land. But Cargiant have, as yet, nowhere to move to, and besides are bringing forward plans with London & Regional for their own development which does not include any football facility.

"Ms Hills echoed Sir Edward Lister’s earlier indication that a CPO would not be likely, and that the best result would be reached by consensus. 'The OPDC’s role is to pull things together, to try to get the best result for London and Londoners,' she said.

"This story was played out in public a little later in the day, as Ms Hills joined a panel session with Geoffrey Springer of London & Regional – Cargiant’s development partner – and Steve Norris, former Transport Minister and now QPR adviser, both on the same platform.

"It was less of a fight than expected. Springer emphasised the importance of placemaking and quality design, while Norris concentrated on the opportunity to create a new location in London. In the end they all agreed that the early strong interest and competing schemes showed the potential of the site.

"Victoria Hills discussed the potential of the regeneration plans to deliver huge scale – 55,000 jobs as well as the 24,000 homes – by delivering certainty in planning, utilities delivery, and speed of decision.

"Pat Hayes of Ealing Council, also on the panel, talked about the challenges. In common with other panelists, he said, 'It needs to be so much more than an interchange, a real place, more like Malmo Western Docks than Nine Elms.' Unsurprisingly he wanted some of the isolation and severance issues around connecting Park Royal to North Acton addressed, so that Ealing communities could also benefit from the new rail connectivity.

"Hayes was also clear that the OPDC would need to set Community Infrastructure Levy at 'an appropriate level', and that the regeneration of Old Oak was 'not just a way to pay for HS2'.

"Hills said this was certainly not the case, and that the CIL was more intended to pay for just the sort of local connections Hayes was arguing for, although would only cover about half the gap between the estimated £1.5bn cost, and the available funding – more work remains to be done.

"Steven Norris echoed the sentiment that Old Oak was about more than connecting train sets. 'Clapham Junction is our busiest railway station, but that activity does not translate into the area outside the station,' he said. It’s true that if London spends 20 years and billions of pounds and produces the equivalent of St John’s Road it might be a disappointment. All the speakers believed that Old Oak could be more like Canary Wharf than Clapham.

"Ms Hills enthusiasm showed through with her final comment. 'It’s an exciting time, a busy time. We’ve got to crack on.' Quite right too."

Daily Telegraph: "The HS3 effect: What high speed rail in the North could do for your city" (sharing some infrastructure with HS2, no doubt)

Link to web site

"Derelict houses, boarded-up shops, and jobseekers leaving in droves to find employment. This was Liverpool in the late 1980s and early 1990s after the city was hit by the decline in manufacturing and port logistics were modernised.

"In more recent times, some vibrancy has returned to the centre, but it has been overshadowed as an inward investment centre by Manchester.

"Nearly 150 miles away, Hull – also reliant on maritime trade, and playing second fiddle to the leading Yorkshire city of Leeds – suffered a similar fate, with its property sector and investment market failing to fully recover after the most recent recession.

"Not only have these cities, along with Newcastle and Sheffield, fallen behind Manchester and Leeds economically but they are now incomparable to London and Birmingham in terms of inward investment.

"The Government’s plans to overhaul the North’s creaking railway infrastructure and build High Speed 3, unveiled on Friday, are at the heart of its long-term programme to create a “northern powerhouse”.

"But will the Chancellor’s overall, regional vision of a new high-speed railway across the Pennines, connecting Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Hull and Newcastle, address their specific needs?"


London Communications Agency let loose on the Cargiant web site (there is no examination in public of any public-sector Local Plan until 2016)

is building
behind the Mayor's vision for Old Oak Common
and Cargiant is making progress on the evolving plans for the site,
building stronger links with local communities after 35 years at its heart."

Link to Old Oak Park web site

"We want to work closely with local communities and its representatives to bring forward our proposals. Initial exhibitions introducing Old Oak Park [as an intended "single outline planning application"] and our team were held in venues around the Old Oak Common in White City, North Acton, Dalgarno and Harlesden in December 2014.

"Consultation on our masterplan for the whole site will continue throughout 2015 but our aim is to build close relationships with local communities to ensure that we are moving forward together as we plan for long-term growth, what it looks like and how it is delivered.

"We are also working closely with the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham and other neighbouring local authorities, as well as the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation who [sic] is building close links with the communities around the area and developing a Community Charter which will set the tone for engagement throughout the regeneration of the area. They will also have representatives of the local communities on their board and we look forward to working alongside them as our plans develop.


"We are still in the very early stages of our design process. Our world-class technical team are currently understanding the issues that surround the site and working on emerging ideas for the area. We will then be carrying out a full community engagement programme throughout the summer to ensure that local communities provide their comments and feedback that will help inform our designs.

"Following this, it is our intention to submit a [single?] planning application at the end of 2015 which will be determined by the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation, working with the site’s local authorities." [So, at worst, consent could be as corrupt as at Brent Cross!]

Planning Resource: Ealing big cheese: "Councils 'being bamboozled' by viability reports"

"Some councils are being 'bamboozled' by viability issues and are failing to get a good deal from developers, the head of regeneration at a London borough has said"

"Speaking at the MIPIM property fair in Cannes, Pat Hayes, executive director of regeneration and housing at the London Borough of Ealing, said some councils were being 'bamboozled' by viability reports:
"In the area around viability studies on affordable housing, some local authorities are still incredibly naïve and are still driven occasionally by the nose."

I think we’ve got to be pushing back and challenging some of the assumptions that are used around current viability discussions for example and effectively saying, ‘Look, we know what you paid for the land, we know what you’ll make from the land, we don’t really care about existing use value, what we care about is the delivery of a good scheme, and we will set the affordable housing target accordingly and we will set requirements for whether it's infrastructure, whether it's public realm, accordingly'.

I think often we get bamboozled by formulas and things and we’ve got to be much more dynamic in how we approach that."
"Hayes also said that councils should also be 'more sophisticated' in pre-planning discussions 'in terms of really giving a steer to developers in terms of what we want and what we're looking for'. He continued:
"Some authorities are still hands off and say ‘bring me another one, I don’t like that one’. We should be saying this is what we want, this is what we want to do and we’ll help you deliver it and I that’s the key to it."
"Elsewhere, Hayes said that London boroughs should act more like cities and have confidence in themselves to attract inward investment:
"The big thing for Ealing certainly and I think for London as a whole is that we are big places in our own right. Ealing, if it was outside London, would be one of the major cities in the country. We’ve got to think like a major city and act like a major city.

We've got to get out of the mindset that many of us have which is that we’re just here to regulate the planning process. We’re not just here to regulate the planning process, we’re here to change the place and to create better places and certainly the progressive boroughs like ourselves we see ourselves as being agents to bring inward investment."


Building: "Boris appointed [himself] as chairman of Old Oak Common Development Corporation"

"Mayor of London Boris Johnson has been appointed chairman of the new Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC).

[Sir Edward Lister is appointed Vice-Chairman.]

"The appointment of Johnson as chairman will see the Mayor take an active role in the redevelopment of the 46 hectare site which is expected to be home to a new HS2 interchange station and approximately 24,000 new homes.

"The OPDC will come into existence on 1 April and have development powers over the Old Oak Common site, which will be similar to the London Legacy Development Corporation's role in the Olympic Park.

"The appointment comes as the Mayor published the latest version of the London plan, which sets out how the capital will manage growth up to 2036.

"The Mayor of London has adopted a number of alterations to the existing plan including a commitment to build 42,000 homes per year, up 10,000 from the previous plan.

"Despite the rise the figure is however still short of the 49,000 homes which it is estimated are needed to meet London’s housing shortfall, with London’s population is expected to reach 10million people by 2036.

"The revised plan also includes measures for specialist housing for the elderly and measures to protect local pubs in each of London's 33 boroughs if it can be demonstrated that they are 'community assets'.

"The new plan will also increase the total number of Opportunity Areas – which are designed to maximise delivery of new housing and offices within London - from 33 to 38.

"The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson said:
"The London Plan is quite literally the capital’s planning Bible – driving development and setting out exactly what is and is not acceptable as we work to build a cleaner, greener, safer city that abounds opportunity, talent and economic activity.

As the capital continues to flourish over the next few years, we will need to create hundreds of thousands of new homes and jobs and the London Plan will be crucial in allowing us to sustain our position as the best big city in the world."


Ealing Times: "Acton railway cottage residents seek compensation for 10 years of HS2 disruption"

Link to web site

"ELDERLY residents, who have lived in Victorian cottages at Acton for 70 years, took to the streets last week asking the Government for compensation for the 10 years of disruption they will be caused by HS2.

"A Select Committee of MPs visited North Acton tube station on Wednesday morning, to see the potential damage that tunnelling and work on a proposed interchange station at Old Oak Common might cause.

"Many residents have lived in the street for 25-70 years, and around 10 of the homes are occupied by children of the original tenants."


Nick Gavron, London Assembly Member: "Assembly calls on Mayor to stop ignoring tall buildings issue"

"The London Assembly Planning Committee yesterday wrote to the Mayor calling on him to tackle the proliferation of tall buildings dramatically altering London and its skyline.

"I've written before on this blog about the tall buildings issue, which has been the subject of heated debate since the NLA exhibition 'London’s Growing Up!' last spring found that there are 236 more in the development pipeline. Despite the growing chorus of voices - from campaigners, from the London Assembly, and from citizens - calling on the Mayor to address the issue, he has steadfastly refused to even admit that there is a problem.

"The letter from the Committee, which I chair, lays out the evidence from experts in the fields of engineering, architecture, and heritage about the impacts of this unmanaged phenomenon. We then call on the Mayor to:
  • Establish a ‘skyline commission’ to advise on the design impact of tall buildings
  • Adopt more detailed and rigorous master planning in relation to tall buildings, especially within Opportunity Areas
  • Draw up a London Plan policy that formalises the ‘clusters’ policy for tall buildings
  • Undertake a review of existing protected views, with the intention of adding new viewing corridors
  • Support the development of a fully interactive 3D computer model of London’s emerging skyline
  • Adopt a requirement for all developers with proposals for tall buildings to consider other building configurations.
"The evidence base presented to the Mayor will make it difficult for him to ignore. Our solutions are also proportional and realistic - recognising the contribution that tall buildings can make to the city, whilst being designed to prevent the worst excesses that do nothing more than act as safety deposit boxes for rich, often international, investors."


PlanningResource: "Stadium proposal included in Old Oak/Park Royal planning framework"

"A football stadium could form part of the regeneration of the Old Oak and Park Royal areas of west London, according to a draft planning strategy published by the Greater London Authority.

"In the foreword to the Opportunity Area Planning Framework (OAPF), London mayor Boris Johnson, says that the area will 'play perhaps the most crucial role of any regeneration area in London over the next 20 to 30 years in delivering much needed new homes and jobs.'

"The draft OAPF, he wrote, 'sets out a proactive strategy to capitalise on this step change in transport accessibility to redevelop Old Oak and regenerate Park Royal', adding that Old Oak will provide 24,000 homes and 55,000 jobs while the Park Royal industrial estate will 'continue to be protected and enhanced to provide an additional 1,500 homes and 10,000 jobs'.

"There are currently two rival development proposals for part of the Old Oak Common area.

"Football club Queens Park Rangers (QPR), which wants to build a 40,000-seat stadium, is locked in a battle with used-car dealership Cargiant, which owns some of the land the football club wants for the proposed venue.

"The draft strategy lists the 'potential for large-scale catalyst uses such as a new educational facility, football stadium, sports complex, health, arts, leisure or cultural centre' as one of six key objectives for Old Oak North.

"The Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC) is due to come into existence on 1 April  2015 to spearhead the project.

"Old Oak and Park Royal are two of 38 Opportunity Areas identified in the capital's strategic planning document the London Plan.

"The GLA is consulting on the plans until 14 April. The draft document can be viewed here."

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