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Old Oak Common inspectors flag ‘potentially show-stopping’ issues

HS2 Old Oak Common

There are two “potentially show-stopping” issues with the the Old Oak Common local plan, the planning inspector tasked with carrying out the public examination has found.

In the final examination, planning inspector Paul Clark raised concerns about the plan’s sustainability and land valuation estimates. 

The local plan for the area in west London, which will host the new High Speed 2 (HS2) and Crossrail stations, sets the “vision” and framework for how the area develops over time.

It has been put together by the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC), a Mayoral Development Corporation with statutory powers.

The plan has already been subject to a number of consultations, but this is the latest and final examination which was carried out in a series of public meetings over eight days in April.

In a summary document titled Matters arising from the hearing sessions Clark lists two issues which he describes as being “potentially show-stopping” both relating to concerns raised by Cargiant – the largest private landowner on the site.

The issues raised by the planning inspector are the latest in a long running dispute between the OPDC and the second-hand car dealer, which owns 18ha of the 140ha Old Oak Common and Park Royal site.

Under the local plan, the Cargiant plot has been earmarked for the development of many of the 25,500 homes due to be built across the site.

However, Cargiant managing director Tony Mendes claims that the scheme is “unviable, unaffordable and undeliverable” due to the large cost of relocating the business or closing it down.

In response, Clark – in the first of the “show-stopping” matters – has asked the OPDC to prepare a paper on “long-term trends in industrial land values in OPDC area, and implications for plan-wide viability assessment, as part of a valuation feasibility study of Cargiant site delivering 25% of homes and 15% of employment floorspace proposed within the plan period”.

Old oak common

Old Oak Common site

In the second issue, Clark asked for the OPDC to provide evidence that the plan is sustainable over its 20 year timeframe.

To discuss the specific issues in further detail, a one day adjourned session has been arranged to take place in early June.

An OPDC spokesperson said: “As part of the Local Plan process, the Planning Inspector has requested that OPDC provide some additional information, which is not unusual for a Local Plan enquiry.

“We are now preparing the information as part of the process, which will be presented at the next hearing. We will continue to work co-operatively with the Planning Inspector and landowners throughout.”

The first consultation of the plan was carried out in March 2016, a second consultation then took place in the summer of 2017. A third consultation on the plan took place in July last year, after which it was submitted to the Planning Inspectorate for independent examination in October.

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