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Boris signs off key Old Oak planning framework

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Mayor of London Boris Johnson has approved a masterplan for west London’s Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC) area.

The move is a blueprint for the delivery of 25,500 new homes and 65,000 new jobs over the coming decades.

Around 1,500 of the new homes are earmarked for infill sites at Park Royal, which will remain a principally industrial area.

The remainder will form part of a massive regeneration of the Old Oak Common area, which is currently largely industrial but is set to be transformed by the creation of an interchange between the existing rail network, Crossrail and HS2.

The finalised Opportunity Area Planning Framework has yet to be published, but AJ understands that it does not specify maximum heights for buildings to be included in the area. Instead, it builds on the draft version of the planning framework published in February, which detailed an expectation that tall buildings would be clustered around the development corporation area’s rail stations.

Mick Mulhern, OPDC director of planning, said he expected there would be a pecking order for the density of development that would see the HS2 and Crossrail interchange host the tallest structures.

‘There’s an opportunity for height,’ he said, adding that the areas around the other four stations either already in or planned for the footprint would be ‘the next ones down’ in the hierarchy, with areas such as the Grand Union Canal waterside and interfaces with existing areas likely to be lower density.

Mulhern said proposals for a 33-storey twin-tower development designed by Squire and Partners inside the OPDC footprint would be determined by Ealing Council against existing planning policy.

Car Giant is Old Oak’s largest landowner. In June it floated plans plans for 9,000 homes and employment space for 8,000 jobs on its land.

But around 70 per cent of the core Old Oak site is in public ownership, through Transport for London, Network Rail and other bodies. Mulhern said it was likely to take until at least 2017 for clarity to emerge on how the pubic-sector land would be packaged and brought forward.

‘We’re having conversations about how to release that land for development and the role we’ll have in that process,’ he said. ‘It’s something that we’ll do over the next 18-24 months.’

In the nearer term, the OPDC is due to consider the creation of new conservation areas that would protect the area’s existing unlisted built heritage – which include the Victorian Rolls Royce works and Acava Studios, on Hythe Road.

 

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