More than 3,300 QPR supporters responded to the call from the club to tell the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation they support a new stadium at Old Oak.
The Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC), established by the Mayor of London, has started work and has taken over planning responsibilities for Old Oak and Park Royal from local authorities. They will be making the decision on whether QPR gets to build a stadium, housing and commercial buildings in the area.
One of the Corporation’s first acts has been to look at a report on a recent consultation on the planning priorities for the regeneration area. Once these are agreed we expect QPR and Car Giant to submit planning applications – with very different approaches to the first phase of regeneration.
In all 3,414 supporters commented. Most supported the move but 86 opposed it. QPR1st Supporters’ Trust believes the response would have been even greater if the club was more open with supporters and was keeping us all up to date and involved with what is going on.
What is clear from the paper work is that QPR must have sent in a sizeable response to the consultation. The OPDC’s report shows that the club responded under a number of headings; from effects on some roads, through to policy on building height, ensuring local people have access to the canal, and limiting disruption during construction.
The bottom line there is that club has been doing a tremendous amount of planning in recent months, with little consultation with fans, or solid information on the financing and ownership of the proposed stadium.
A regeneration catalyst?
One of the big issues for the planners is whether the development of Old Oak would benefit from a “regeneration catalyst” – a landmark project that could help give the development a kick-start.
QPR assert that a new stadium would be an ideal large-scale catalyst.
Residents who responded supported the delivery of a regeneration catalyst.
Car Giant, who own most of the land ear-marked for the first phase of development, argue that catalysts for regeneration was being overplayed. It suggests that a range of smaller scale uses and facilities could actually provide better resilience and integration with a predominantly residential and employment led neighbourhood. In addition, Car Giant “alleged that imposing large-scale facilities such as football stadia on the Old Oak area could potentially damage the emerging character of the area and such uses would also reduce the ability of the area to deliver much needed new homes and jobs”.
Cargiant stated that new homes and jobs would be served by a broad range of ancillary services and facilities such as recreation, arts, leisure, education and health related uses.
Brent and Ealing councils, who have seats on the OPDC board, have asked for further work be undertaken to understand how a large-scale catalyst could be accommodated without compromising open space provision.
One thing is sure. If the planners agree that a catalyst is desirable, then QPR is in the driving seat. The consultation report showed 12 people supported a “cultural or education use” and the stadium got the vote of 3,336 QPR supporters.
Another area of controversy is how much open space there should be in the development. The three councils – Hammersmith and Fulham, Brent and Ealing – are concerned there is not enough open space proposed in the planning framework.
In contrast, QPR asserted in their representations that the quantum of public amenity space shown in the draft masterplan is too large.
QPR supported the proposed upgrades to Willesden Junction station. QPR also stated that having a high quality public transport offer will be critical in terms of ensuring a “high PT modal share” from development (in normal English that’s ensuring there would be a high percentage of people using public transport, cycling and walking rather than driving).
In line with that, “QPR agreed that on-site car parking should be carefully controlled to help maximise the extent of sustainable non-car travel. QPR also noted that importance of providing car parking facilities for wheelchair users.”
QPR also asserted that the delivery of Hythe Road Overground station as early as possible would help with expediting development.
QPR is keen to get development underway, while Car Giant warns that starting some of the development too early will add to costs, because of the infrastructure that would have to be provided early.
Car Giant say it would be unlikely that development would start pre-2022. In contrast, QPR asserted that development across the Old Oak area should start as early as possible.
For further information please visit the OPDC web site