Last week the members of Brent’s Citizen Panel were sent the following email:
“The Mayor of London Boris Johnson has recently outlined proposals to transform Old Oak and Park Royal into a thriving new district with up to 24,000 new homes and more than 55,000 jobs.
As part of this long term plan, the Mayor intends to create a new Mayoral Development Corporation (MDC) to unlock the enormous regeneration potential of this 950 hectares of industrial land at Old Oak Common and Park Royal in West London.
Please click here to find out more and to take part in the online consultation on Old Oak - Mayor's Development Corporation.
The consultation will run until Wednesday, 24 September 2014.”
Residents are strongly urged to read the documentation that the link leads to; this is another classic example of BoJo's "monolith-o-maniacal" desire to stamp his personality all over London with a series of regeneration schemes and so-called iconic buildings in his run up to become PM (or possibly another Caesar given his latinate leanings).
It is only a couple of months ago that BoJo was publicly reprimanded in the London Assembly LINK for overusing his ability to veto the wishes of local government planning departments - even when these pet projects are in direct contravention of his own "London Plan" LINK Tulip Siddiq, Labour’s prospective 2015 parliamentary candidate for Hampstead and Kilburn, revealed at last Wednesday’s Swiss Cottage Action Group this looks very likely to happen again in the case of the development at 100 Avenue Road LINK due to the height of the proposed building.
The formation of the proposed Mayoral Development Corporation will create a nasty precedent which will give him further legal powers to ignore the wishes of any local democratic organisations, be they Councils or residents groups. This is made clear in the documentation:
“Within Old Oak and Park Royal, the Mayor intends for the new Corporation to take on powers relating to infrastructure, regeneration, land acquisitions including Compulsory Purchase Orders, adopting streets, and business and financial support. In addition, the Corporation would also take over planning powers from the London boroughs of Brent, Ealing and Hammersmith & Fulham. The Corporation would lead on preparing the local plans and determining large planning applications submitted within this area.” LINK
Even worse, this plan creates a noxious local parallel to the hugely under-reported Infrastructure Bill that is currently before Parliament. This bill - which is comparable to the Enclosure Acts in its land grabbing intent - allows for 90% of local authority "brownfield sites" to be parcelled out and sold on by the Homes and Communities Agency without reference to any other planning agency decisions or the wishes of the local residents. More information about this Bill can be found here LINK and here LINK
It's also worth noting that the potency of the claim that the development will create "24,000 homes and 55,000 jobs" currently has all the strength of an homoeopathic remedy; there is no trace evidence of the type of homes or jobs the scheme will create. It's all a construct of BoJo's feverish imagination and desire to attract foreign investment to the Capital LINK a sales pitch for a quack panacea for London's ills. This is the description of how Old Oak will be transformed:
“... the Government has announced proposals for a new High Speed 2 (HS2) and Crossrail station at Old Oak by 2026, potentially making it one of the best connected railway stations in the UK. This could give rise to significant potential for economic development, jobs growth and new homes. The Mayor of London also sees this as an opportunity to regenerate the wider area.
Based around the new HS2 and Crossrail station at Old Oak, the Mayor, Transport for London (TfL), plus the London Boroughs of Hammersmith & Fulham, Brent and Ealing, have been considering the potential for regenerating the area and are seeking views on a 30-year Vision for Old Oak. This could transform the area with up to 90,000 jobs and up to 19,000 new homes, schools, open spaces, shops and leisure facilities.” LINK
As this last quote shows, the advocates of this plan can't even offer up a coherent concrete argument. It's all maybes and made-up figures and Machiavellian manipulations.
Please, please, please - complete the consultation and show your opposition to the creeping centralisation of power which is placing the wishes of the financiers and developers over the needs of local residents.