Since 2011, the Mayor has been able to designate certain areas of London as Mayoral development areas, with issues such as infrastructure, regeneration, and planning controlled not by the local authority but by a Mayoral Development Corporation. The power has been used sparingly, with the only one so far established covering the Olympic Park area.
Now, Mayor Johnson proposes the creation of a second MDC, this time for the Old Oak and Park Royal area.
Currently a huge stretch of railway land and the huge (and hugely important) Park Royal industrial estate, the intersection of High Speed 2 and Crossrail 1 will turn this often-over looked part of west London into the focus for London’s biggest regeneration area. The Mayor expects that, in Old Oak Common alone, there is capacity for up to 24,000 new homes and 55,000 new jobs.
The Assembly Planning Committee, which I chair, held a session on Old Oak Common and Park Royal, including on the Mayor’s vision for it and the MDC proposal, this summer. You can access the transcript here.
As planning spokesperson for the London Assembly Labour group, I broadly welcomed the creation of an MDC for Old Oak and Park Royal. We believe a Development Corporation could provide the strategic direction and authority necessary to ensure it is delivered successfully for both new and existing communities. However, we harbour concerns about the way the MDC will be structured and the policies it will implement. The MDC must maintain a strong position for the affected local authorities, engage in a genuinely consultative process with local communities, and result in a Local Plan and planning decisions which reflect priorities on issues such as industrial land and affordable housing.
You can read the Labour Group response to MDC proposal for Old Oak and Park Royal.
We’ve submitted our response, but our fight isn’t over. We want to make sure that the MDC is best positioned to create the sort of regeneration that satisfies London’s need for housing and jobs whilst addressing the priorities of existing local communities.
The Assembly will have a chance to vote on the MDC proposal in October.