The Old Oak and Park Royal Development is the UK’s largest regeneration project and a centre of extraordinary change. Currently comprised of industrial sites, fragmented neighbourhoods, and extensive railway sidings, the area is poised to transform one of London’s most inaccessible areas into a well-connected, world-class transport interchange, providing new housing and commercial development, surrounded by sustainable and thriving neighbourhoods and valued amenity space. Positioned at the crossing of major transportation networks and the rump-end of the boroughs of Brent, Ealing and Hammersmith & Fulham, the Old Oak and Park Royal Development is also the only place where HighSpeed 2 and Crossrail overlap.
It is a designated mayoral development corporation, only the second one of its kind (after the 2012 Olympics and Legacy). Establishing itself as an independent local planning authority, the development area also represents a complex and comprehensive partnership of the London Mayor, the Greater London Authority (GLA), Transport for London (TfL), central government, local communities, and local agencies.
The 46 acre sub-development of Old Oak Park – currently home to Cargiant – is the largest privately owned site in the area, and the first area which could come forward for development. Old Oak Park is central to unlocking the opportunity of the broader Old Oak Park Royal area. With the potential to deliver up to 7,000 new homes, support up to 8,000 jobs, a new London Overground Station and connections into the communities around it, Old Oak Park also has extensive canal frontage.
On 23rd May, the ULI/Infrastructure Council hosted a briefing and site visit of the Old Oak Park redevelopment area. Tom Cardis (head of planning and policy for the OPDC team) briefed the ULI group and then led a walking tour across the broad extent of the Old Oak development area. Karin Hildingsson (masterplanner from PLP Architects) then made a detailed presentation of the planned development. Chris Choa (ULI/Infrastructure Chair) moderated the sessions.
The afternoon concluded with a spirited exchange, focusing on the challenges and opportunities of brownfield developments in general, how best to knit the planned developments more thoroughly with the surrounding communities, and how to distinguish between who pays, who finances, and who benefits from major infrastructure improvements.
In ULI style, the session concluded with a round of drinks, overlooking an extraordinary expanse of an emerging quarter of London, on a glorious day.
Words by Christopher Choa