RESPONSES TO OPDC AND MAYORAL CONSULTATIONS
OPDC Local Plan and Evidence base documents
The Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC) consulted on the first draft (Regulation 18) of its Local Plan and supporting, evidence based, documents from the 4th February until 31st March 2016, setting out the OPDC's vision, objectives and policy options for the future development in the Old Oak and Park Royal area over the next 20 years.
GUA organised meetings and submitted a collaborative responses to this first draft Local Plan and the evidence base documents.
The network also carried out a lot of work on the OPDC's draft (regulation 19) or revised Local Plan (published in June 2017). A collaborative GUA response drawing on discussion held at GUA meetings and a conference on the Local Plan was submitted in September 2017.
A community based vision and objectives for the OPDC area:
All strategic planning documents including Local Plans, the Mayor’s London Plan and Neighbourhood Plans set out a vision and objectives for their area - saying how it will look in 15 to 20 years in the future.
GUA members put together a ‘community based vision and objectives’ which was submitted to the OPDC in October 2015 (as a response to the consultation on the Integrated Impact Assessment Scoping Report) aimed at influencing the first draft of the OPDC’s Local Plan.
The OPDC responded positively saying that “The community-based vision and objectives provide a comprehensive and detailed range of suggestions which are being used to directly inform the draft Local Plan proposed vision and objectives. Where the suggestions are more relevant for policy options, these have also been used to inform the development of these options.”
However, unfortunately, the OPDC revised (regulation 19) Local Plan's vision and objectives was not quite as the GUA members wanted.
London Mayor's OPDC review
A review of the OPDC was announced by the Sadiq Khan, in July 2016, soon after being elected as London Mayor. A press release from the Mayor's office said that the review would look at decisions made by the previous Mayor and the future direction of the OPDC, to ensure that the regeneration opportunities would deliver the maximum benefits / values for Londoners. The announcement highlighted two distinct areas to be looked at:
The level of support committed by central Government to date, including the nature of the Government’s offer to transfer the railway land (through the Memorandum of Understanding March 2016); the level of additional support appropriate given major Government investment elsewhere on the HS2 route etc and the costs of making land viable for development and the funding required for infrastructure.
The amount and mix of genuinely affordable housing; ensuring that the views of residents of the boroughs are reflected in future decisions; and securing proper integration of development with surrounding communities.
The review was carried out by Fiona Fletcher Smith, Executive Director of Development, Enterprise and Environment, Greater London Authority. GUA members met with her in September 2016 and submitted written comments. Key issues raised by GUA members were: the high housing targets for the Old Oak area; the structure and function of the OPDC planning committee; improvements required in terms of community involvement; transparency and confidentiality of the OPDC (issues relating to planning applications); community relationships with the board and funding for grass roots engagement.
In November 2016, GUA also wrote to Fiona Fletcher Smith, referring to a letter that the network had written to the OPDC board in August 2016 and their response from the OPDC Chief Executive. GUA members felt that the latter had not adequatly addressed their concern,
The OPDC review findings were published in late October 2016. Briefly, the review said that the haste with which the Memorandum of Understanding (between the OPDC and the Secretary of State for Transport) has been entered into regarding Government owned land is potential on less than favourable terms than other such transfers and the Mayor could be exposed to considerable funding requirements. It recommended further negotiations with the Government and a review of the funding required for infrastructure to support development on this land.
Other recommendations were: investigation into redrawing of the OPDC boundary to exclude Wormwood Scrubs; DCLG, DfT, Network Rail and HS2 current board members to stand down; support provision for community and business board members; an extra Hammersmith & Fulham representative on the OPDC planning committee and adoption of innovative practice on community engagement in the planning and master-planning processes ensuring that decisions, pre-application discussion and advice are as transparent as possible.
Victoria Hill, Chief Executive of the OPDC board commented at an OPDC community forum meeting in January 2017 that there was difficulty in progressing items relating to the review, socio-economic regeneration and the renegotiation of the memorandum of understanding with the government, without a chair of the OPDC board being in place. (NB Liz Peace was appointed chair of the board in April 2017).
A summary of stakeholders' comments to the review were published in February 2017
At this stage Amanda Souter, OPDC Community Board member asked the board's Chief Executive about the progress and next steps in relation to the review and stakeholders comments. She was advised that the OPDC's response to the review and stakeholders comments were to be discussed by the OPDC board and that this was likely to occur once a new chair was in place.
Update on some items:
Hammersmith & Fulham Clllr Natalia Petez took up an additional seat on the OPDC Planning Committee, following a request from OPDC. The nomination was then approved by the Mayor, on account of the nominee not being a Board member. This was ratified at the OPDC board meeting in February 2017.
In light of the recommendation given in the Review of the OPDC, which suggested that Board members representing public bodies should be asked to step down and be given observer status instead, resignation letters from David Prout, DfT and Simon Ridley, DCLG, were received on 10 April 2017. As a result, senior officers have been nominated by the two organisations to fulfil observer roles.
At the OPDC November board meeting it was noted that Wormwood Scrubs would be removed from the OPDC boundaries post adoption of its Local Plan.
OPDC Statement of Community Involvement
Planning authorities have legal duty to produce a Statement of Community Involvement (SCI) in which they must explain how the public will be involved in the development of planning policy and on planning applications for the area.
The OPDC consulted on its draft SCI in autumn 2015. In response, GUA members proposed 12 ‘Ground Rules’ to guide how the OPDC and developers involve and engage with the community; influenced by rules drawn up by a community network in Bristol. They also said that the SCI should be more accessible to community members.
In response the OPDC adopted in full or in part, 10 of the 12 proposed Ground Rules. Link here to analysis (from January 2016) of the GUA's influence on the OPDC's published Statement of Community Involvement.
The effectiveness of the SCI was later challenged by GUA members particularly in relation to the determination of a particular planning application. Issues were raised in a letter to the OPDC board and to the GLA's Fiona Fletcher Smith who was carring out the Mayor's review of the OPDC. These included concerns around:
the consultation and determination of a recent planning application;
OPDC policy, structure and procedures;
community involvement and OPDC's Statement of Community Involvement;
issues relating to transparency and confidentiality;
community involvement in the determination of planning applications.
GUA's letter set out 11 proposals for the board to consider.
Some alternations to the OPDC's Statement of Community Involvement were discussed and agreed at the OPDC board meeting in February 2017 (following earlier discussion by the OPDC Planning Committee in October 2016). Link here to current SCI.
Old Oak and Park Royal Opportunity Area Planning Framework
Two GUA meetings were held to discuss the Mayor of London's Draft Old Oak and Park Royal Opportunity Area Planning Framework (OAPF). This is an important document giving some guidance from the Mayor’s Office around development in the area (along with the boroughs own planning policy) until the OPDC’s planning policy is adopted. It was consulted on in March and April 2015.
A model response to the OAPF was put together that groups and individuals could use in making their owns responses to the consultation and GUA members effected changes to the OAPF. Some of the changes to policy included:
a focus on developing Lifetime Neighbourhoods, while the consultation document was focused on strengthening London’s role as a global city
acknowledgement of the need for connection and integration with surrounding communities
the need to cater for both existing and new communities in terms of amenity spaces
protection and enhancement of the Grand Union Canal and its nature reserve
provision of skills, training and employment for local people and businesses
improved walking and cycling to existing residential areas.
The OAPF was approved by the Mayor of London in November 2015.
Click on links (in orange text) to relevant documents or pages