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Old Oak redevelopment hit by inspector ruling

Plans to redevelop Old Oak and Park Royal in west London must be downgraded after a planning inspector ruled against part of the scheme.

Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC) wants to carry out a major redevelopment of the area on the back of Crossrail opening and the planned construction of HS2’s Old Oak Common station.

OPDC claims it is the largest regeneration project in the UK.

The corporation, which is part of the Greater London Authority, has been locked in a battle with Cargiant over its inclusion of the company’s land in its development plans for the area.

OPDC said it could pay to relocate the Cargiant business or buy the land under a compulsory purchase order.

But the planning inspectorate ruled against OPDC’s plans.

Inspector Paul Clark said the cost to obtain the site from Cargiant would be between £480m-£630m, making the land economically unviable for the development.

At the lower £480m value, the site could only be developed if all the housing was private sale or rental, which would contravene the mayor of London’s ‘London Plan’, which requires new developments to provide some affordable housing.

The higher £630m value was “well above” the development value of the land, even without any affordable housing included.

Mr 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 business, which he described as “flourishing”.

The inspector said: “In my view, this is a conclusive demonstration that site allocation 2 [Cargiant] is unviable and ought to be deleted from the plan.”

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.

Cargiant owner Geoff Warren said: “This is 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.”

Mr Warren also called for a full independent review of the corporation’s “spending and strategy”.

OPDC chief executive David Lunts said the decision was “not entirely unexpected”, and added that the rest of the development was cleared to go ahead.

“Whilst this is just the interim report, meaning that the Local Plan process is not yet resolved, the initial findings are encouraging as they endorse our aim of bringing forward the first phase of development,” Mr Lunts said.

In March, OPDC was approved to receive £250m from Homes England to develop infrastructure at the site. OPDC said they are “on their way” to meeting the conditions to draw down the funds.

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