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Cargiant promises to fight purchase of its land by Old Oak and Park Royal chiefs

PUBLISHED: 08:00 10 July 2019

Cargiant sits on industrial land just south of Willesden Junction station. Picture: Google StreetView

Cargiant sits on industrial land just south of Willesden Junction station. Picture: Google StreetView

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Cargiant's owner has warned the company will not "disappear into thin air" after Old Oak and Park Royal regeneration chiefs indicated they will purchase the land given the opportunity.

Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC) heads Liz Peace OBE and David Lunts had their second grilling by London Assembly chiefs on Thursday.

In a three-hour plenary meeting, the pair faced scrutiny on the controversial regeneration project by all London Assembly members.

The corporation's biggest problem at the moment is accessing the £250m "in principle" award from the government's Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF), highlighted to City Hall's budget and performance committee last month.

The cash, if the OPDC can meet certain "conditions" aligned to the Mayor's London Plan, will kick start one of the country's biggest projects which promises to unlock up to 25,500 new homes and 65,000 jobs over 30 years.

Asked if the OPDC could deliver that number of homes at "no net loss" Ms Peace said: "I believe we can over the period of the plan, I'm absolutely sure we will."

Gareth Bacon AM (Con) asked them about their relationship with car sales company Cargiant, which sits on 46 acres of prized land wanted by the OPDC for development.

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David Lunts confirmed early phase development "will include the acquisition of a relatively small amount of Cargiant land" and did not rule out compulsory purchase saying it was a "back stop position we may have to use."

He added: "They (Cargiant) say they have no wish to relocate but if we are successful bringing forward our draft forward plan, successful in drawing down our HIF allocation and successful in delivering our objectives it will in time require Cargiant to move.

"We think we can assist with that, we think it is perfectly viable."

But Geoff Warren, Cargiant owner, hit back: "As we have been warning, the OPDC is intent on taking 25 per cent of Cargiant land including operational land which is in essential use for the running of our business. This strategy is completely flawed. We have repeatedly told them that our business cannot function properly without this land but the OPDC simply refuses to listen.

"Cargiant has no wish to be obstructive but we cannot simply disappear into thin air."

He said relocation will cost £600m and no site was suitable.

"The OPDC need to pull their heads out the sand and it is time for honesty with Londoners about the true cost and difficultness in seeking to bring forward new homes at Old Oak Common," Mr Warren added.

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