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Regeneration chief backs design contest for HS2's Old Oak station

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The new chief executive of the mayoral development corporation managing the regeneration of Old Oak Common has called for a design competition for a new landmark station at the site

Speaking to the AJ, the head of the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC) Victoria Hills said that she ‘expects’ there to be a contest for the High Speed 2 station within the west London zone.

Her comments come just weeks after HS2 chairman David Higgins appeared to rule out design competitions for major projects, such as viaducts, on the HS2 route claiming he preferred standardisation to bring costs down (see AJ 24.07.15).

However Hills appeared to be more receptive to contests, saying: ‘I expect there will be a design competition for a showcase, landmark building for the HS2 station.

‘Private developers may also run contests for their sites and there are other people – and we are one of them – which may be in the business of having design competitions. But it would be a couple of years away.’

Launched in April and bordering the London Boroughs of Hammersmith and Fulham, Brent and Ealing, the OPDC has been formed to spur the regeneration of the entire Old Oak Common area consisting of 950 hectares including common land itself and the industrial Park Royal site.

The call for a design competition follows on from plans originally released by Terry Farrell in 2011 (see AJ 15.08.11) outlining a ‘super-hub’ at Old Oak Common which would join up HS2 with Crossrail, the London Overground and the West Coast Main Line. Farrells was commissioned by Hammersmith and Fulham Council to create a vision for the area, which is currently one of the most deprived in the UK.

Up to 24,000 homes are expected to be built on the OPDC in total, providing approximately 55,000 jobs as well as a new HS2 station and Crossrail Station.

Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation - boundaries/site

Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation - boundaries/site

In June Cargiant, which is the largest single landowner in the OPDC, announced plans drawn up by PLP and Arup for the redevelopment of its 46-acre Old Oak Park site to provide 9,000 homes and 8,000 jobs.

Hills said that the design review panel for will be key to ensuring the design quality of the project is maximised.

‘It will take 20 to 30 years to complete the ODPC project and the design review panel will be key. As the organisation evolves we will also need someone to lead on everyday design issues.’

We will need someone to lead on everyday design issues

The news of a design competition for the Old Oak Common station comes as Sadie Morgan, chair of HS2’s own design panel launched a call for architects and industry professionals to become involved in the project at a launch event in Canary Wharf.

Commenting as recruitment was launched Morgan said: ‘HS2 is one of the country’s great design opportunities. I am looking for a group of experts from across a wide range of disciplines to join HS2’s independent Design Panel.

‘They will help make sure that design remains at the core of this project and delivers all its potential benefits for future generations.

‘HS2 needs to work not only for its passengers but for all the communities it affects. It should respect and enhance the environment and stand the test of time. I have confidence that with an influential Design Panel we can ensure that HS2 provides an outstanding passenger experience and best value to the nation.’

A spokesperson for HS2 said: ‘We are still working on the design for Old Oak Common station. A decision about whether or not to hold a design competition would ultimately be made in consultation with the Department for Transport.’

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Readers' comments (1)

  • This enlightened approach to UK infrastructure is welcome and long overdue. Lets hope Victoria Hills get the government, GLA and professions full support to opening up the opportunities for achieving best quality and value at this important hub which represents such a major long term future investment. To deliver the best results from such a design contest needs the full engagement of a top rank competition programmer.

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