Planning: "Old Oak Crossrail depot revamp 'could cost £500m'"

"The cost of the necessary demolition and re-provision of a newly-built Crossrail depot to allow the planned Old Oak and Park Royal regeneration scheme to go ahead could reach £500 million, 'Planning' understands.

"The 25,000-home scheme promoted by the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC) claims to be the UK;s largest regeneration project, and aims to create accommodation for 65,000 new jobs.

"However, the OPDC was set up last year by then London mayor Boris Johnson despite the fact Crossrail had started building a £142 million depot and rolling stock stabling yard, vital to Crossrail’s operation, in the part of the site envisaged as the commercial heart of the scheme.

"Despite pleas to change the design of the stabling yard and depot prior to its construction in order to incorporate Old Oak’s developing plans, it was built in a way that means it is not able to support development above it.

"Two separate sources familiar with the situation said that a provisional proposal exists for allowing development above the depot without interrupting the operation of Crossrail. It involves relocating half of the rolling stock to a site close to the M25 at West Drayton. This allows the phased closure, demolition and rebuilding of the depot with the necessary structural underpinning and columns to support a development deck above it.

"One source said: 'The bill for this could be as much as half a billion pounds. But we need to know what government and the mayor are going to do about it.'

"The second source confirmed the figure, seen as very rough estimate, had been 'bandied around' in high-level discussions on the issue."


Secretary for State for Transport decisions on HS2 Phase 2b scheme

"Transport Secretary Chris Grayling announces decisions that take HS2 an important step closer to realising the full potential of the scheme"

Link to his nibs

"Today (15 November 2016) I am announcing the government’s preferred route for HS2 lines from Crewe to Manchester and from the West Midlands to Leeds – known as Phase 2b – helping to rebalance our economy beyond London and the south-east, ensuring economic prosperity and opportunities are shared throughout the country.

"It means that following on from the 2013 consultation and work we have done since, I am today confirming the majority of the route. There are also a number of cases, including the proposed route through South Yorkshire recommended by Sir David Higgins in a report earlier this year, where I am proposing substantial refinements. I am launching a consultation to seek the views of communities and other interested parties before reaching a decision on those sections next year.!

"... Mr Speaker, I also need to touch briefly on Phase One. I should report to the House that Phase One - from Birmingham to London - is progressing well. Construction work is due to start next year, subject to Royal Assent. Phase One will open in 2026.

"In a clear signal of how work is progressing Mr Speaker, this morning I have also announced the companies that have been awarded the Phase One enabling works contracts.

"These works include archaeology, site clearance and setting up construction compounds – ahead of the start of the main civil engineering work.

"These contracts are worth up to £900 million and cover the whole of Phase One, from London to Birmingham and the connection to the West Coast Mainline at Handsacre, as I say,work is due to begin in the spring."

Evening Standard: "'Crazy' plan to build Westway cycle superhighway scrapped by Mayor"

Link to web site

"Plans to remove a lane from the A40 Westway flyover to create a segregated cycle superhighway have been axed by Sadiq Khan, it emerged today.

"The 4.5-mile route was proposed by then-mayor Boris Johnson as an extension of his flagship east-west Victoria Embankment superhighway and would have linked Paddington and Acton, creating a safe route between west London and Tower Hill.

"The idea of removing one of three eastbound lanes attracted 71 per cent support in a Transport for London consultation but had sparked concern among motorists and taxi drivers."


London's deputy mayor for housing: "Towers and high rises are not the only answer to the capital's housing shortage"

Link to Evening Standard

"With developers jostling to build ever-higher skyscrapers, intent on cramming as many homes as the law will allow on to their land, London's deputy mayor James Murray thinks a proper debate is needed on how high-density housing is designed for the future. This could mean hiring an 'architecture czar' — Boris Johnson had Lord Rogers — but Murray says such decisions are not his to make.

"Personally he believes that the answer is to be found in some of the city's grander streets.

"'Towers and high rises are not the only answer,' he says. 'We need to decide what high-density accommodation will look like. At the moment we tend to think about towers but you can actually get very high density with six, eight, 10 storeys — like the terraces you see in Kensington'."


National Audit Office: "Modernising the Great Western railway" (oh, dear!)

Link to web site

"The cost of modernising the Great Western railway is currently estimated to be £5.58 billion, an increase of £2.1 billion since 2013, and there are delays to the electrification of the route of at least 18 to 36 months. Delays to the electrification programme will cost the Department up to £330 million.

"These cost increases and recent changes to the new trains order mean that the value for money of the programme needs to be reassessed, and the extent of electrification reconsidered, according to a report today by the National Audit Office.

"The Great Western route has some of the most overcrowded services in England and Wales and has forecast passenger growth of 81% between 2013-14 and 2018-19. The modernisation programme involves complex infrastructure works, new trains and service changes. These aim to improve services along the rail route, which connects London with west and south-west England and south Wales and passes through heritage areas and areas of outstanding natural beauty.

"Before 2015, the Department did not plan and manage all the projects which now make up the Great Western Route Modernisation industry programme in a sufficiently joined up way. The Department did not produce a business case bringing together all elements of the programme until March 2015, more than two years after ordering the trains and over a year after Network Rail began work to electrify the route.

"When the Department entered into a contract to buy the Intercity Express Trains, creating fixed deadlines for electrification, the infrastructure planning work was still at a very early stage of development. This is illustrated by the fact that Network Rail had only just identified that it would need to develop a new type of electrification equipment. The electrification timetable was not based on a bottom-up understanding of what the works would involve.

"Amyas Morse, head of the National Audit Office, said:
"The modernisation of the route has potential to deliver significant benefits for passengers but this is a case study in how not to manage a major programme. The Department's failure to plan and manage all the projects which now make up the Great Western Route Modernisation industry programme in a sufficiently joined up way, combined with weaknesses in Network Rail's management of the infrastructure programme, has led to additional costs for the taxpayer.

It is encouraging that since 2015 the Department and Network Rail have a better grip and put in place structures to manage the programme in an integrated way. However significant challenges to the timetable still remain and there is more to do to achieve value for money."


"Not electrifying the GWML line to Swansea, Mr Worthing, may be regarded as a MISFORTUNE; to not electrify to Bristol and Oxford either now looks like CARELESSNESS"

Written statement to Parliament:

Rail update: rail investment in the Great Western route

Department for Transport and Paul Maynard MP

"I wish to update the House on the programme of rail investment in the Great Western route and the steps we are taking to ensure this improves services to passengers while getting the best deal for taxpayers.

"We are continuing to invest £2.8 billion in this electrification programme to provide faster journeys, more services, and better stations while providing new or upgraded trains for passengers, with thousands more seats, and increasing capacity for freight. It will improve the experience on over 100 million rail journeys each year, stimulating economic growth from London through the Thames Valley, to the Cotswolds, West Country and to South Wales.

"It is a project unprecedented in scale that is building on and around ageing assets in constant use. This is an ambitious and challenging undertaking, but real progress is being made in delivering it. Projects completed successfully this year include the digital upgrade of large sections of signalling to improve reliability, the modification of over 100 bridges and structures, flood alleviation work, significant improvements to the resilience of the Oxford route and the introduction of the first Great Western electric services between Hayes & Harlington to Paddington which run between some of the busiest peak services in the country.

"Works on the Severn Tunnel this autumn made vital preparation for electrification between London and South Wales. Other enabling works include the progression of electrification towards the west, further re-signalling in Bristol, Cardiff and Cornwall, improvements at Bristol Temple Meads Station, enabling works at stations throughout the route, provision of better access for disabled passengers at selected stations, and enhancements to depots from West Ealing in the east to Penzance in the west.

[Enough of the flannel. Get on with it.]

"We have been clear that there have been difficulties with this programme. These were set out last year in the review of Network Rail’s delivery plan by Sir Peter Hendy. Following the re-planning of work that followed this review, the programme has been placed on a more efficient footing. A key part of this is the ongoing assessment of investment decisions so that passengers and taxpayers get maximum value.

"As a result of this scrutiny from the Hendy review I have decided to defer 4 electrification projects that are part of the programme of work along the Great Western route. The 4 projects being deferred are [here it comes!]:
  • electrification between Oxford and Didcot Parkway
  • electrification of Filton Bank (Bristol Parkway to Bristol Temple Meads)
  • electrification west of Thingley Junction (Bath Spa to Bristol Temple Meads)
  • electrification of Thames Valley Branches (Henley & Windsor)
"This is because we can bring in the benefits expected by passengers - newer trains with more capacity – without requiring costly and disruptive electrification works. This will provide between £146 million to £165 million in this spending period, to be focused on improvements that will deliver additional benefits to passengers. We remain committed to modernising the Great Western mainline and ensuring that passenger benefits are achieved.

"This decision underscores the government's approach to wider rail investment [incompetence?]; that passenger outcomes must be delivered in conjunction with achieving the best value from every pound spent."


"Crossrail the Musical" (good grief)

"Travel deep below the streets of London to the Crossrail tunnels - Europe's biggest construction project - for an unforgettable musical tour in 360. From the ghosts of the plague pit to the platforms of future stations, this provides a unique glimpse of the tunnels that will carry 200 million people across London in 2018.

"This 360 film premiered at the Future of Storytelling Festival in New York in September 2016."!


Created by BBC R&D/NewsLabs
Director: Peter Boyd Maclean
Song composed and performed by Matthew Robins
Executive Producer: Zillah Watson

HS2 Ltd.: Meet the Teams

Evening Standard: London Overground: Connecting Old Oak Common to outer London


Brent & Kilburn Times: "Mayor of London backs new city in Harlesden and Park Royal plans but calls them 'a mess'"

Link to web site
('Old Oak Park' is not the whole site)

"Sadiq Khan has criticized Boris Johnson following a review into the £10 billion regeneration of Old Oak Common amid concerns over the cost and whether it offers value for money to Londoners.

"... As part of the plans, Mr Johnson set up a new body, known as the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC), to lead the transformation which was approved by the government last year.

Mr Khan slammed Mr Johnson saying he 'rushed headlong' into an agreement with the government to transfer land at Old Oak as it was made on unfavourable terms compared to other major regeneration schemes in the country.


"Mayor reveals 'mess' left at Old Oak Common in review findings" - The Press Release, the Full Monty, and the Evening Standard

01 November 2016

"The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has today revealed that the plans to regenerate Old Oak in West London were left in ‘a mess’ by his predecessor as he announced the findings of his review of the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC).

"Sadiq Khan today gave his full backing for the regeneration of Old Oak, but called on Government to reduce the financial burden that the plans will place on Londoners.

"The Mayor criticised his predecessor, Boris Johnson, for 'rushing headlong' into an agreement with Government to transfer land at Old Oak that was made on unfavourable terms compared to other major regeneration schemes in the country.

"A new High Speed 2 (HS2) and Crossrail Station is due to be constructed at Old Oak Common by 2026. OPDC was established in April 2015 to oversee development for the wider area and has full planning powers within its 650 hectare boundary that includes land in the boroughs of Hammersmith & Fulham, Ealing and Brent.

"Sadiq Khan announced a formal review of OPDC in June to ensure Londoners reap the maximum benefits ‎of the huge regeneration opportunity in this part of the capital.

"The review found that:

  •  A Memorandum of Understanding agreed by Boris Johnson and Government that paved the way for OPDC to take ownership from Government of public land surrounding the proposed new station was hastily entered into and should have been agreed on more favourable terms.
  • There is evidence that a greater level of Government funding has been made available to other areas along the HS2 line. For example, Birmingham will receive significant Government-led investment for a new Metro station.
  • The positioning of a Crossrail Depot and maintenance facility in the core development area and the failures of the previous Mayor either to find a suitable relocation site or to invest in engineering solutions that allow 'decking' over the facility have meant that valuable development land has been lost, land values for adjacent sites depressed and the ability to create an attractive place has been compromised.
"A series of recommendations were made, including:
  • Sadiq Khan will make a clear case to government that he will only agree to a land deal that is in the best interests of London. He believes the current offer could restrict the amount of genuinely affordable housing at Old Oak.
  • The Mayor should continue to make a strong case to government to provide financial support and devolve further fiscal powers to London to meet the cost of infrastructure, which should not be the capital’s burden alone.
  • Discussions should take place with government to determine if there are parcels of land in the north of Old Oak that can be transferred to the Mayor early and ahead of the main deal being concluded to speed up development.
  • A credible longer-term plan must be put in place for bringing forward a new commercial centre at Old Oak South, and TfL should conduct and present the Mayor with a thorough options appraisal for repositioning or retrofitting the Crossrail depot.
  • A new Chair must be appointed to signal the Mayor’s intent to bring forward development and that residents and businesses should be involved in the planning process.
  • Unnecessary cost and bureaucracy can be avoided by bringing some OPDC functions within the Mayor’s proposed new Homes for Londoners organisation.
"The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said:
"Old Oak and Park Royal is one of the most important regeneration projects in London but it has been left in a mess by my predecessor.

We need to make sure the fundamentals are in place now so we get the best deal for Londoners.
It is clear from this review that Boris Johnson was rushing headlong into agreeing a land deal with Government that was not in the city’s best interests, potentially reducing the amount of affordable housing that can be obtained from the site. I will continue to lobby Government to ensure this scheme meets the needs of the city and that we squeeze every drop of potential out of this opportunity.”
"Since Sadiq Khan announced this review, in his first three months as Mayor, the pace of development at Old Oak has increased and development to the north of the Grand Union Canal has come forward at a faster rate than expected.

"Planning permission for the Oaklands development was granted in August, providing 605 new homes. A target of 50 per cent affordable housing has been agreed with the developer, Genesis Housing Association, and Queens Park Rangers FC following an intervention by the Mayor to boost the number of affordable homes through investment and a profit-sharing mechanism.

"In addition, a planning application for the North Kensington Gate development has just been submitted."


'The Future of Park Royal' - and a Post-it note mentioning the Harlesden Bypass

Tue 1 Nov, 1.30pm: "Future Park Royal"

November 1, 2016 – Abbey Manor Conference Centre

Register now

"Park Royal has a unique opportunity on the horizon with the  advent of the HS2/Crossrail interchange at Old Oak. Not only that but the arrival of the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC), puts Europe’s largest industrial park at the centre of the UK’s biggest regeneration project.

"This brings with it the chance  to transform the physical and business environment tangibly, whilst generating thousands more jobs in the process.  The intended intensification on Park Royal aspires to add 10,000 new jobs to the tens of thousands already there.

"OPDC exists both to grow and to protect the business environment. It aims to strengthen Park Royal, and is drafting visions, plans and policies that aim to do just that for the area.

"We’d like to invite you to an event that gives you the  opportunity to take part in the formation of those plans in a significant and meaningful way.

"The event is free to attend for qualifying companies."

Issues Exchange and more

At the event, we’ll host an ‘issues wall’, which is an actively moderated space where delegates can post any issues and thoughts, and then other delegates can react by adding notes, discussions, comments and other contributions. Over the course of the afternoon the wall will build in to a live ‘heat map’ of the important issues and generate a depth and breadth of understanding around the issues raised.

Questions we’ll be asking on the day include: What should OPDC be doing? Have OPDC identified the key interventions? How can we build a great community?

There will also be a chance to view a gallery of plans and ideas, and the Old Oak and Park Royal model, and a small exhibition featuring stands from local colleges and councils

1.30pm Registration, refreshments, and networkingIssues Exchange: What should OPDC be doing?

2pm Welcome from the chair

2.05pm Vision: Old Oak & Park Royal – Victoria Hills, CEO, OPDC
An overview of the whole of the OPDC planning area and vision, with insight in to the changes Park Royal can expect to see in roads, buildings, utilities, and more, and a look at the possible construction programme.

2.30pm Park Royal: Making The Difference  – Lauren Laviniere Senior Planning Officer for Park Royal, OPDC
  • We have the opportunity to make the new Park Royal an example of what can be achieved in flexible, programmed regeneration, such that it delivers a place fit for work, life, and leisure for many decades to come.
  • How can we programme for the Smart Technologies that will be common in 20, 30 and 50 years? How can we build a place with health and wellbeing embedded? How can we be sure we are learing the best lessons from around the World?
  • How can we design Future Park Royal so that it is an example of how to deliver urban regeneration now and in the future?
2.55pm Planning Park Royal – Stephie Joslin (OPDC Director of Regeneration & Partnerships)
We will take a spin through the current plans for the four key areas.
  • Infrastructure – Peter O’Dowd (OPDC Head of Infrastructure)
  • Transport – Clare Woodcock (OPDC Senior Transport Planner)
  • Skills – Lori Hoinkes (OPDC)
  • Building a strong estate team – Lori Hoinkes (OPDC)
3.30pm Coffee breakIssues Exchange: Have OPDC identified the key interventions?

4.00pm Community: Stronger Together?
We will hear from Park Royal businesses about how together we can build a stronger community on the Estate.

4.30pm Learning from elsewhere
  • Ilker Dervish (Chair of Industrial BIDs) – how industrial estates like Park Royal can and must benefit from regeneration projects. He will encourage Park Royal businesses to form a strong voice and to lobby hard for their interests
  • Garry Phillips, EHWLC – how businesses can leverage programmes from FE Colleges to meet their current and future skills needs.
  • Blackhorse Lane industrial area, plus examples of workspace creation – Pooja Agrawal from the GLA Regeneration team
  • 5pm Thanks from the chair, and close
5.15pm Drinks. Issues Exchange: How can we build a great community?

6pm Close

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