Momentum for the 7ha deck to be built over the Crossrail depot in the new Old Oak and Park Royal development in west London has slowed according to the chief executive of the regeneration body in charge of the work.
Old Oak & Park Royal Development Corporation (ODPC) chief executive Victoria Hills said that the decision to go ahead with the deck lay with the new chair of the corporation, a position which is currently vacant. The ODPC wants to build a giant platform over the top of the depot on which housing and other developments can be built.
There has been an ongoing debate about the location of the depot, which sits in the centre of the planned Old Oak Common development in west London. There are concerns that if the issues surrounding development around the depot site are not resolved, the chance to capitalise on the potential of the mammoth 650ha site will be lost.
“From my point of view I’d like to go as quickly as possible on that, but in the absence of a chair I think it’s fair to say that some of the momentum may have slowed,” said Hills.
London Sadiq Khan conducted a major review of the site. He said in November last year that the plans to regenerate the site were left in “a mess” by his predecessor, Boris Johnson.
The review concluded that the positioning of a Crossrail depot and maintenance facility in the core development area meant that ”valuable development land had been lost, land values for adjacent sites depressed and the ability to create an attractive place had been compromised.”
Khan attributed this to the failures of the previous mayor either to find a suitable relocation site or to invest in engineering solutions that allow “decking” over the facility.
“The mayor has made it clear through the review of the corporation that absolutely the Crossrail depot is a big priority but that it’s very much a priority for the incoming chair,” said Hills. “There’s not much more that I can say other than TfL’s (Transport for London’s) plan as set out previously has not changed, and that’s the plan we’re working to.
“That’s not to say that things won’t move around and change with the new chair coming in, but in terms of has there been a detailed design, are we going out to market on anything to do with it, no because it’s right for a new chair to be comfortable with those plans from the London mayor,” she said.
The decision to locate the Crossrail depot on the west London site was taken in 2008, before plans were announced to route High Speed 2 through the site and use it as one of its major transport interchanges.
“If you’ve got a scheme which is deliverable from a commercial and a technical point of view then there’s no issue,” she added. “We understand we have [got a scheme that works], but it’s also right that a new chair is also comfortable with that plan before we effectively lock it down in the master plan.”
The corporation has given no timescale for the appointment if a new chair.