The Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC) has been locked in a battle with Cargiant over its inclusion of the company’s land in its development plans for the west London site.
A design team led by AECOM with Asif Khan, BIG, Maccreanor Lavington and WilkinsonEyre was appointed in 2017 to masterplan the huge former industrial site, which centres around Crossrail and the planned construction of HS2’s Old Oak Common station.
OPDC has always said it could pay to relocate the Cargiant business or buy the land under a compulsory purchase order, however a planning inspector has now ruled against its plans.
Inspector Paul Clark said the cost to obtain the site from Cargiant would be between £480 million to £630 million, making the land economically unviable for the development.
At the lower £480 million value, the site could only be developed if all the housing was private sale or rental. This would contravene mayor Sadiq Khan’s London Plan, which requires new developments to provide some affordable housing.
The higher £630 million value was ‘well above’ the development value of the land, even without any affordable housing included.
Clark added that Cargiant provided employment for 800 people directly and a further 1,200 people indirectly, and it ‘doesn’t make sense’ in planning terms to force a compulsory purchase order that would end the ‘flourishing’ business.
With the Cargiant land removed, the inspector said OPDC would have to slash its claim of how many homes it would deliver from 20,100 to 14,200.
OPDC chief executive officer David Lunts said the inspector’s decision was ‘not entirely unexpected’, given Cargiant’s strong ‘opposition and their recent change of heart to keep their business on the site’.
He added: ‘Given the recent announcement of a two-year delay to the opening of the HS2 station at Old Oak, and the Oakervee review of the entire HS2 scheme, we appreciate that it may be some time before the rest of Cargiant’s site comes forward for redevelopment.
’We will of course continue to work closely with the inspector, Cargiant and other landowners to see our local plan through to adoption.’
But Cargiant owner Geoff Warren said the ruling was a ‘complete and absolute disaster for the OPDC and vindicates everything Cargiant has been saying.
‘The OPDC has overseen a scandalous waste of money in the pursuit of a flawed development strategy, despite us shouting from the rooftops that what they were planning could never be delivered.’
Warren also called for a full independent review of the corporation’s ‘spending and strategy’.
Earlier this year, the development came under fire from the London Assembly which warned it risked being derailed as challenges facing the project stacked up.