Around £1bn of infrastructure investment is needed to develop the district that will surround the new HS2 station in West London.
The interim head of the mayoral development corporation responsible for the redevelopment of Old Oak and Park Royal has said the site was “one of the most complex” to develop.
Speaking at the Public Sector Show, Michael Mulhern, interim CEO of Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC), said: “There’s ultimately about £1bn worth of infrastructure needed to go in to unlock unlock the first phase of the development, which will ultimately deliver about 12,000 homes.
“[It’s] one of the most complex sites around – we’ve got Crossrail depots, a sub-storey for the High Speed 2 station going in, we’ve got existing industrial uses there, we’ve got waste facilities, you’ve got to get infrastructure over and under canals, railway embankments, new energy centres, a whole new utility network that’s got to be put in place.”
Old Oak and Park Royal is a 140-hectare development that, over the course of 20-30 years, will see 25,000 homes built with easy access to London’s new transport links including Crossrail, and will centre around a new station for HS2.
Mulhern said OPDC had successfully lobbied, alongside other public sector bodies including the Greater London Authority [GLA] and Transport for London [TfL], for central government to increase the budget for the HS2 station being built in the area to turn it into a “fulcrum for large scale redevelopment and value growth” in the area.
He said the existing HS2 station design at Old Oak was “not an inspirational” design. “It isn’t a Kings Cross that will catalyse the wider regeneration that happened around Kings Cross.
“But ultimately we have been, as a mayoral body, working with the GLA and TFL, lobbying [the Department for Transport], Treasury, High Speed 2 to secure large-scale and wholesale changes to the budgets and the programme and the brief that High Speed 2 have been given so the station can actually be this fulcrum for large-scale redevelopment and value growth.”
He declined to share what the newly designed station would look like, but said it was at a “significantly more advanced position” than the existing public plans.
Mulhern said OPDC was also working with utility companies to create an “integrated system” across water and energy, including innovations that would see waste heat and energy from the sewer system fed into the grid.
“What we’re doing with Thames Water is testing how do we take heat and power from the sewer network to power our energy centre, which is something that’s only been done in one other place in the UK,” he said, refering to the project in Scotland run by SHARC Energy.
He added it was a reality of any large development that what is delivered is always “quite different” from the initial plans agreed by boards and investors. “That’s worrying in some ways, but what it tells me all the time is that we each have a role to play in delivering a great place.
“Some people are designing and building a great bridge or a utility network, or some people are doing development and what’s really important is that we all do those to the best of our abilities and we all try and recognise that each piece of infrastructure that we’re delivering is ultimately going into a system of a city that has to work together.”
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