London Assembly questions and New London Architecture: Rafting over the Old Oak Common's Crossrail depot (part of the OPDC's 'Old Oak Common Station and Crossrail Depots Technical Options Analysis'. Yes, really.)

Recent (and not so recent) Questions to the Mayor from London Assembly members...

Old Oak Common and Crossrail
Caroline Pidgeon (16-Mar-2016)
Sir Terry Farrell has said that the way Crossrail is being constructed at Old Oak Common is jeopardising the regeneration of this area.  How do you react to his claim?
The Mayor (16-Mar-2016)
I wholeheartedly reject Sir Terry Farrell's claims regarding Crossrail construction jeopardising the regeneration of Old Oak Common and completely disagree with the disparaging remarks he has made about Old Oak Common more generally. The Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC) are working hard to transform this area to create a brand new suburb with 25,500 new homes and 65,000 new jobs. The OPDC are working with TfL to review and finalise future options for the Crossrail depot site in a way that does not delay or disrupt Crossrail, which is critical to meeting London's transport challenge.

Crossrail (3)
Navin Shah (22-Oct-2014)
Will you make long-term efforts to find an alternative site for the Old Oak Common Crossrail depot, or at least reduce its capacity, which would allow a concrete raft to be built over it, in order to encourage the further regeneration of the Old Oak Common area?
The Mayor (22-Oct-2014)
Yes, I agree that the long-term aim should be to move the depot as soon as possible to support regeneration at Old Oak Common.

High Speed 2 lobbying
Darren Johnson (23-May-2012)
Which specific changes do you still want to see to the Government's HS2 proposals, and what are your plans to push for them?
The Mayor (23-May-2012)
There are number of changes I would like to see made to the Government's HS2 proposals, which were set out in my response to the HS2 consultation.

First, I would like to see provision for Crossrail 2 being made at Euston station. More than twice as many passengers are forecast to arrive at Euston station during the peak periods (compared to today) and this will require additional underground capacity. Without it, queues at Euston station will mean that station having to close on a regular basis.

Second, the proposed station at Old Oak Common must be compatible with the plans for the Crossrail depot at the site. The proposed layout at the site would pose significant challenges for Crossrail. In addition, further connections are required at Old Oak Common, to ensure this new interchange for west London is connected to the rest of London's transport network.

Third, the plans for a link to High Speed 1 must be altered to ensure that the link does not impact adversely on the North London Line through Camden. I am pleased that the Government has now agreed to revisit other options for this link.

Fourth, further environmental mitigation measures are required to reduce the impact of the scheme on London residents and businesses. I successfully fought to secure a new section of tunnel in the Ruislip area, but further mitigation is required. More people in London are affected by the scheme than anywhere else along the route, and the level of environmental mitigation needs to reflect this.

I plan to raise these issues with the Secretary of State again to ensure that the remit that she sets HS2 Ltd reflects Londoners' needs.

Old Oak Common
Navin Shah (9-Nov-2011)
Please detail the transport enhancements for Old Oak Common that you have asked the Department for Transport to include in the core HS2 scheme to ensure it is accessible to the wider area.
Boris Johnson (Chair, TfL) and Sir Peter Hendy (Commissioner, TfL) (9-Nov-2011)
Old Oak Common is currently a largely 'land locked' site with very limited access by road. Whilst lots of railway lines pass through the site, none of the services running on these lines currently stop at Old Oak Common. Locating a major new rail interchange at this point would require connections to the wider transport network to allow people to access the network and to help realise the wider economic benefits of HS2 for the local area and across outer London.

There are a number of options for achieving this, including those which are outlined in the Mayor's response to the DfT's HS2 public consultation. Options include connecting the station at Old Oak Common to the nearby London Overground network to allow better orbital connectivity from south, west and north London and connecting a branch of the Bakerloo line from Queen's Park to serve the new interchange.

Hammersmith and Fulham Council also have ambitious plans to regenerate the area, making the most of the opportunity provided by HS2. Whilst we are supportive in principle of the regeneration potential of the site, any new construction must be mindful of the operation and implementation of the committed Crossrail depot.

TfL is continuing to work with HS2 Ltd on these issues.

Old Oak Common Crossrail interchange
Murad Qureshi (17-Jun-2009)
I have been made aware of plans to develop land at Old Oak Common which provide for a major mixed use development including industrial, research, distribution, office based and bio-tech industries related to the Hammersmith Hospital research centre. I understand regeneration of this area, which forms part of the Park Royal industrial estate, has the long term potential to bring 5,000 new jobs and 3,000 extra homes. Do you support the redevelopment of land at Old Oak Common railway sidings as a future Crossrail station and West London hub to provide a national High Speed Rail Link to Heathrow airport?
The Mayor (17-Jun-2009)
We are willing to discuss proposals but we need to be clear that there is an agreed Crossrail scheme, with an agreed budget and construction has recently begun. The focus is ensuring that Crossrail is delivered on time and to budget and bring the huge benefits that the scheme will provide. Any proposals that could increase costs or delay the programme would therefore clearly need very careful examination before being considered.

Much of Old Oak Common is required for the Crossrail depot, and the land is safeguarded as such in planning guidance. There are significant constraints in constructing a station on the site. There is for example no appropriate location for 250 metre long station platforms either close to the Crossrail lines or within the depot without significant relocation of existing infrastructure which is of prohibitive cost.

Recently the DfT sponsored HS2 company began looking at the viability of the site as one of several options for a potential connection between a proposed new high speed line and Crossrail. Crossrail Ltd and HS2 are continuing to keep each other informed of respective plans and any opportunities which may arise.

The GLA and LDA are also continuing to work with the local boroughs to look at major development opportunities within the area including through the Opportunity Area Planning Framework for Park Royal, the initial draft of which was consulted on in 2008. This encourages the continued development of Park Royal as a major strategic industrial location, as well as identifying other locations for additional housing next to existing Tube and rail stations. However given the concentration of heavy industrial uses at Old Oak and in particular major waste handling facilities it is not identified as a suitable location for housing in the current Framework.

New London Architecture, 22 March 2016

Old Oak Common – creating ‘the Canary Wharf of the West’

The development of Old Oak Common represents a major opportunity to create the ‘Canary Wharf of the West’, with transport links such as Crossrail and HS2 at its heart.
But with a goal of around 25,000 new homes, 60,000 jobs and a newly revealed billion pound plan to deck over the area’s Crossrail depot, it must also protect its existing industry and guard against becoming just ‘a community of off-plan sales flats’.

The views came from a special pre-election update on the progress made at Old Oak Common held at NLA this morning. Sir Edward Lister, chief of staff and deputy mayor, policy and planning, said the development of the area was one of the things he was most proud of, and it was an ‘idea whose time has finally come’. If the plans in the east of the city were equivalent to fitting in a city the size of Glasgow, in west London it was the size of Cardiff, but whilst retaining the best elements of the ‘breadbasket of London’ – Park Royal. ‘We don’t want to lose a job, anywhere’, he said. All of a sudden, Lister added, the area will be home to a transport hub with a projected 270,000 people a day changing – the equivalent of numbers at Waterloo, so HS2 and Crossrail will be central to its success. To kick-start what is the biggest regeneration project in the UK, a mayoral development corporation has been created, with the initial vision from Boris Johnson ‘going into bat for this as he had to do with the Olympic Park’. ‘I’m a fan of MDCs’ said Lister. ‘They are the future.’

Lister also revealed that after extensive consultations about the Crossrail depot and visits overseas [Airmiles Eddie] it had been decided that the construction of ‘an enormous deck’ over it should be undertaken to enable over-site development.

OPDC director of planning Mick Mulhern said after the ‘huge amount of focus on the east in the last 10-15 years’ it was ‘very much shifting back’ to west London. The area has huge amounts of land ‘ripe for development’, with opportunities around what will be the largest station to be built this century where 200 trains an hour will pass through every hour, and Birmingham will be only 38 minutes away via HS2. Mulhern said the OPDC will soon commission a comprehensive masterplan team to look at the public sector land in the zone, development of which could deliver some £7billion a year for the UK economy.

A cautionary note was paid by Ealing’s Pat Hayes, however, who said his chief concern was that Old Oak Common ‘did not end up as Canary Wharf morphed with a bit of Nine Elms and Paddington’. Rather than just scale, it was important to create good links to communities in Harlesden and Willesden and avoid the problem of high land value resulting in very dense development and thence unaffordable prices.

Introduced as the ‘midwife’ to the regeneration of King’s Cross, Allies & Morrison director Peter Bishop said Old Oak had ‘fantastic potential’, with crucial moves including the reinforcement of its strong north-south axis, concentrating on streets, connecting the hinterland and perhaps building new canal basins to allow a mixture of densities and building heights around it. ‘The real challenge here is to create the scale of Canary Wharf with the inclusivity and quality of space of King’s Cross’, said Bishop. If that could be done it could set ‘completely new standards of what urbanism can do in this country’.

"The event also heard from speakers including London and Regional UK development director Geoff Springer on its plans for 9m sq ft of development including offices and workshops and a museum, and HS2 non-executive director Duncan Sutherland, who said models for Old Oak’s station environs included St Pancras and Lille rather than Gare du Creusot, whose TGV-based regeneration had never really arrived. Finally, Farrells partner Neil Bennett said the key challenges for Old Oak Common included the need for an economic vision, connectivity and achieving a sense of place in an area that is the planned location of a seventh of London’s new jobs and homes."

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