Old Oak Common gets £250m funding from government to kickstart UK’s largest regeneration project

PUBLISHED: 18:50 13 March 2019 | UPDATED: 17:09 14 March 2019

Ariel view of Old Oak. Picture: Andrew Holt

Ariel view of Old Oak. Picture: Andrew Holt

Andrew Holt

The “starting gun has now been fired” in Old Oak Common with a £250m cash injection from the government to kickstart the multi- billion pound regeneration project.

Old Oak Common 'Before' photos, taken on 21.07.16. Picture: Tom SimpsonOld Oak Common 'Before' photos, taken on 21.07.16. Picture: Tom Simpson

Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC) has “welcomed” the money from the government’s Housing Infrastructure Fund, which it said will be used to “assemble land, design and build vital roads and utilities infrastructure”.

Old Oak North is the first of six new neighbourhoods planned for the 650-hectare site which is close to a major transport hub where High Speed 2 meets Crossrail, creating super-fast links in and out of the area.

When complete, it is predicted that the regeneration of the whole area will encompass 25,500 new homes and 65,000 new jobs.

Last month Cargiant, owner of 46 acres on the site, promised to “fight for [its] existence” if the money was granted to the OPCD.

The planning authority, originally set up by former mayor Boris Johnson, deemed Cargiant’s scheme for the area “unviable.”

Chair of the Old Oak Neighbourhood Forum, Mark Walker, said: “It’s really good news they got this funding which means the area can now be developed but I think they need to look again at the housing figure - 25,000 is over-optimistic and over-development. “

Current London mayor Sadiq Khan said: “I’m pleased that government has shown its support for our vision through this funding grant. This money will let us enter a new stage in the development of Old Oak, delivering the essential infrastructure to make the Old Oak dream a reality.”

OPDC said it will use its powers to make sure the full £250m is spent by the deadline, in March 2023.

In these first four years they will obtain infrastructure to enable the development of utilities and drainage, an energy centre and electricity switching-station and the early construction of Union Way.

OPDC chair, Liz Peace CBE, said investment in infrastructure in Old Oak North made “economic sense” and sent “the right message to the market”.

She added: “The £250m injection will unlock opportunities for public and private sector collaboration, making these significant regeneration opportunities a reality and with that, bringing about significant public benefit.

“This is a new phase for OPDC; expect to see development move quickly from here on in.”

OPDC board member and property investment specialist, William Hill, added: “The HIF award provides OPDC with the means to build on the substantial transport investments being made in the area by unlocking large tracts of land for exemplar sustainable and affordable mixed-use development.

“The starting gun has now been fired on the UK’s largest regeneration scheme.”

Tony Mendes, MD of Cargiant, said: “The GLA and the OPDC have publicly stated that this money would unlock the delivery of 13,000 homes.

“It does nothing of the sort. It is widely accepted that the development of the Crossrail Depot cannot happen because of the £1 billion costs involved in moving it and the same is true of the cost of moving Cargiant.

“There is no 50 acre site even identified for us to relocate to and the development of our land simply cannot be made viable because of the enormous costs involved.

“We have proposed a different alignment for Park Road which would allow this to be delivered without significant impact on our business but if the OPDC intends to proceed on the basis of using CPO powers to take operational Cargiant land then we will of course be bound to challenge each step of the process.”

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