Mayor of London backs new city in Harlesden and Park Royal plans but calls them ‘a mess’
- Credit: Archant
The Mayor of London claims plans for a new city in the Harlesden and Park Royal area have been left in ‘a mess’ by his predecessor.
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.
He has given the proposals his full backing but has called on the government to reduce the financial burden that the plans will place on Londoners.
Under the 30-year long scheme a new city on the 950 hectare site will be called Old Oak Park and includes up to 7,000 new homes, 50 new buildings, community and sports facilities around a Central Square, shops and a new high street called Old Oak Walk which features a 25 metre wide pedestrian area.
A new primary school, community centre and a healthcare facility are also included in the plans.
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The new city also plans to include a new train station as a major transport hub where High Speed 2 meets Crossrail, creating super-fast links in and out of the area.
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.
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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.
The review found:
• Government funding for other areas along the HS2 Line was much greater than Old Oak, the agreement.
• The agreement from OPDC to take ownership of public land surrounding the proposed new station was hastily entered and should have been undertaken on more favourable terms.
• The positioning of a Crossrail Depot and maintenance facility in the development area meant valuable land has been lost and the ability to create an attractive place had been compromised.
The review made a series of recommendations including lobbying the government for financial support and only agreeing into a land deal if it will increase the amount of ‘genuinely affordable’ housing.
Mr 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.”
Responding to the Mayor’s review Geoff Springer, development director at Old Oak Park, said: “Old Oak is the largest single regeneration opportunity anywhere in London, we are delighted that the Mayor has given his full backing to the area’s transformation and it is absolutely right that he should seek the best possible deal from government.
“At Old Oak Park we will continue the excellent relations we have developed with the OPDC, the GLA and the local boroughs, and look forward to working with the new chair when appointed, as we seek to deliver an exceptional new piece of London, providing homes and jobs for Londoners and genuine benefits for the existing communities around us.”