OPDC: Cargiant-owned land should be removed from Old Oak Common and Park Royal development project, planning inspector says
PUBLISHED: 20:53 17 September 2019 | UPDATED: 09:02 18 September 2019
The flagship Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation should not include a controversial tract of land owned by Cargiant, a planning inspector has recommended.
Reviewing the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation's (OPDC) draft local plan, Paul Clark decided that inclusion of land owned by Cargiant south of WIllesden Junction station was "unviable" and that, if developed, it couldn't yield enough profit to pay for moving the business elsewhere even if no affordable homes or subsidised infrastructure were built there.
Plans have been in the pipeline for years for what is dubbed one of the country's biggest projects, and land owned by the car firm, which employs 800 people, makes up three pc of the site. But in interim findings the inspector has deemed that "because of the significance [of Cargiant's land] within the plan as a whole, its inclusion makes the plan itself unsound."
Cargiant has fought plans to kick it off the land, at one point proposing its own development strategy which the OPDC did not accept.
"Cargiant is a highly successful and profitable business with prospects for growth," the inspector added. "Its extinction simply does not make sense in planning terms, nor does its relocation at an expense which would preclude the likelihood of paying for any contribution to necessary infrastructure or affordable housing."
The inspector concluded that, were the Cargiant site to be developed, it would still not yield enough profit to fund the firm's relocation, which is estimated at £600m - even it was contributing no affordable housing and nothing to fund transport or other infrastructure.
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But his other finds were positive for the project, OPDC chief exec David Lunts said.
He added the decision "wasn't entirely unexpected given Cargiant's strong opposition and their recent change of heart to keep their business on the site".
"While this is just the interim report," he said, "meaning that the local plan process is not yet resolved, the initial findings are encouraging as they endorse our aim of bringing forward the first phase of development.
"This will provide new access, utilities and other infrastructure to enable 3,000 homes and many new jobs for Londoners.
"We will be considering this interim report carefully before making our final representations and will of course continue to work closely with the inspector, Cargiant and other landowners to see our local plan through to adoption."
Owner of Cargiant Geoff Warren called on the OPDC to withdraw a £250m bid for government money, one condition of which would be an adopted local plan including his land.
He said: "This is a a complete and absolute disaster for the OPDC and vindicates everything Cargiant has been saying. [It] has overseen a scandalous waste of money in the pursuit of a flawed development strategy, despite us [saying] what they were planning could never be delivered."