Brent to request changes to mayor's Old Oak Common regeneration plans

Out-Law News | 25 Sep 2014 | 5:28 pm | 2 min. read

Brent Council agreed last week to request changes to the mayor of London's proposals for the regeneration of the Old Oak Common and Park Royal areas of west London, including a commitment to a Crossrail stop at Wembley Central.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson opened a consultation in June, seeking the views of local landowners, businesses and local authorities on proposals to establish a mayoral development corporation (MDC) to lead the regeneration of the Old Oak Common and Park Royal areas of west London. Under the proposals, the MDC would "take over planning powers from the London boroughs of Brent, Ealing and Hammersmith and Fulham", and "would lead on preparing the local plans and determining large planning applications in this area", Johnson said.

The Council's proposed response to the consultation was considered at a meeting of the Council’s cabinet last week. Members decided at the meeting that the response should cover issues set out in a report (10-page / 529 KB PDF) produced for the meeting by the Council's strategic director of regeneration and growth.

The report raised "considerable concern" that "the proposed north western extension of Crossrail is not proposed to stop at Wembley Central". It was agreed that the Council should seek "the mayor's full commitment to ensuring that Crossrail stops at Wembley Central", to help speed up delivery of new homes to the Wembley Opportunity Area and to allow Wembley residents to travel to new jobs created by regeneration at Old Oak Common.

Concerns were also raised about the amount of influence the local community would have over the decisions of the MDC. It was agreed that the "leader of Brent Council must sit on the MDC board", and that "a representative from both the local residential and business communities" should also be included. The Council should also seek clarification from the mayor "on how local communities will be actively engaged throughout the lifetime of the MDC", the report said.

Certain of the planning powers proposed in the mayor's consultation needed to be addressed in the response, the Council agreed. In particular, the report said that the proposal not to allow boroughs to collect their own community infrastructure levy (CIL) until the MDC had introduced its own CIL were "not acceptable" and would have "a disproportionate impact on Brent" because it had adopted CIL already and the other affected boroughs had not.

The report recommended that the proposed boundaries of the MDC be redrawn to exclude the Northfields industrial estate, which the Council intends to include in a housing zone, and potentially to include Station House and the former Unisys buildings, in order to facilitate their regeneration.

Also among the Council's agreed requests were assurances from the mayor that: housing development permitted by the MDC would include "a range of genuinely affordable products and tenures"; improvements would be made to Willesden Junction station and bus services between Willesden Junction and Old Oak; Brent's existing town centres would be protected from the impacts of regeneration at Old Oak Common, through "investment and enhancements"; and "a proactive approach" would be taken to "addressing stalled sites across the wider Park Royal area".

The consultation closed yesterday.