Author Archives: Henry Peterson

Latimer Road ‘design code’ makes progress

As a result of huge opposition by residents of Latimer Road in response to a planning application for a 6 storey mixed use redevelopment on the site of Unit 10, the Council has agreed to accelerate work on preparing a ‘design code’ for the section of the street. Units 1 – 14 are light industrial/warehouse buildings, built in the 1980s.

A design code, in the form of a Supplementary Planning Document (SPD), can set parameters for new buildings. These guidelines can cover building heights, site coverage, daylight/sunlight impact on neighbours, a recommended palette of materials to be used, and other aspects of building design.

RBKC has set up a project team led by Daniel Massey, who also heads the team of Council planning officers working on regeneration of the Kensal Gasworks site.

Residents in the street have organised themselves into a new group which is now involved in discussions with this RBKC team. So too are members of the StQW Neighbourhood Forum management committee.

A series of planning policies for the street are set down in the StQW Neighbourhood Plan. These now form part of the statutory development plan for the Borough. They include a policy on heights of new buildings. The Council has made clear that approval to the application at Unit 10, in its current form (see earlier post) is now very unlikely.

The working group is looking at the potential impact of buildings with 3 or 4 storeys fronting onto the street, with scope for one or more further floors set back so as not to be visible by pedestrians on the opposite pavement.

A further option would be ‘staggered’ building heights with taller buildings at the southern end of the street (where the Imperial buildings block out the western skyline).

It would be good to have views from local residents on these and other design issues. Are modern buildings preferred? The RBKC planning team has identified some ‘precedents’ of smallish mixed used buildings in London, such as that below.

Or do residents prefer more traditional designs for Latimer Road such as for the redevelopment at Unit 1? (granted planning consent in early 2019. Image below is a CGI)

The RBKC/StQW/Latimer residents working group will be holding a couple of further meetings before widening out informal local consultation. There will be a 6 week statutory public consultation in late autumn before any Supplementary Planning Document is finalised and adopted by the Council.

The Government’s proposed planning reforms include the wider use of design codes, and talks about these being agreed with local communities at ‘street level’. So it will be interesting to see how this initiative at Latimer Road works out. Will it prove possible to achieve any consensus between residents. planning officers, and all parties involved – including existing and any new building owners in the street.

The bids we have submitted to RBKC for NCIL funding

The Coumcil opened a bidding round this summer for projects to be funded from the neighbourhood element of the Community Infrastructure Levy.

RBKC has been collecting in ‘developer contributions’ since 2015. The Coummunity Insfrastructure Levy is a form of tax on new development. levid by local planning authorities. The ‘neighbourhood’ element of CIL is intended to be used in consultation with local residents. Normally this sum is 15% of the total collected.

In areas where a neighbourhood plan has been prepared and adopted by the local authority, this proportion rises to 25%. This measure was introduced by the Government as an incentive to encourage neighbourhood planning.

The Council has set an allocation of £30,000 for the StQW neighbourhood area. There are separate allocations of £39K for those parts of St Helens and Dalgarno wards that lie outside the StQW neighbourhood boundary.

We have submitted funding applications for two projects:

  • installation of two CCTV cameras in North Pole Road, to be added to the RBBKC system to monitor and reduce public concern over anti-social behaviour and crime in the street.
  • measures to improve air quality at the St Quintin Gardens. Barlby Road. Highlever Road ‘triangle’ and mitigate the impact of daily traffic congestion at the North Pole Road ‘pinchpoint’.

The applications can be downloaded above and give more details of these proposal, both of which will need to be worked up in more detail with council officers.

Our objection letter on the application at Unit 10 Latimer Road

The planning application for a six storey office and residential development to replace Unit 10 Latimer Road has drawn strong opposition from many of those who live in the street.

A copy of the letter of objection submitted by the StQW Forum and St Helens Residents Association can be downloaded below. The Forum and our Neighbourhood Plan support the principle of mixed use development in Latimer Road. But any proposals need to pay heed to the specific planning policies for the street, on building heights and other issues.

These StQW policies were discussed and agreed locally in 2015, when the neighbourhood plan was prepared.

This application fails to take account of these policies and we are asking the Council to refuse it.

CGI of proposed office and residential development on the site of Unit 10, Latimer Road

RBKC proposals for Low Traffic Neighbourhood

The Council has responded to new guidance from the Secretary of State for Transport to test out new traffic to encourage more cycling and pedestrian movement and few cars on London’s streets.

Most of the publicity locally has been on further vehicle limits in Portobello Road and a pop up cycle way in Kensington High Street.  But amongst the package of measures is a proposal for a Low Traffic Neighbourhood in parts of St Helens and Dalgarno wards.

The impact of this scheme would be dramatic, and it will no doubt have supporters and objectors.  The Council says The instruction from the Government is that councils must introduce changes likes these quickly, which does not allow time for the level of consultation that we would normally like to do. We would implement this scheme on an experimental basis. We would consult on whether to keep, modify or remove the scheme, within six months. The barriers and cameras could be removed, or relocated, easily and quickly if required.

The Council wants responses by 26th June and have asked for feedback from ward councillors, St Helens Residents Association and from BetterStreets4RBKC.  There is no consultation web page on the Council website so comments (of which there will no doubt be many can be sent to sthelensassn@aol.com and these will be collated and forwarded on.  And/or you can send comments to ward councillors.

We discussed very briefly the idea of Low Traffic Neighbourhoods at our March 12th meeting.  There are examples in several Boroughs.  But we had no idea then that events would move so fast.

If you ever want to see what life in the neighbourhood like with measures that could solve the daily traffic queues to exit North Pole Road, now is your chance.  We need to give our views on the realism of these proposals and where traffic may divert to and create new problems.

The full version of the proposal can be downloaded below. 

Planning application for Unit 10 Latimer Road

An application has been submitted to RBKC for a 6 storey redevelopment of the present light industrial building at Unit 10 Latimer Road.  

Many Latimer Road residents are very opposed to this proposal and have formed a group to fight the application. 

The applicants have submitted a Planning Statement which addresses RBKC Local Plan policies but have made no attempt to explain how their proposal conforms with the detailed StQW policies for the street.  The StQW Forum/SHRA will be objecting to the application on various grounds, including the height.

The closing date for comments on the application is July 10th and it can be found at s https://www.rbkc.gov.uk/planning/searches/details.aspx?adv=0&simple=latimer+road&simpleBatch=20&simSubmit=Search&id=PP/20/03048&cn=257479+Salisbury+Jones+Planning+33+Bassein+Park+Road+London+&type=application&tab=tabs-planning-1

A note can be downloaded below which explains to those who are not members of the StQW Neighbourhood Forum the background to the preparation of the StQW Neighbouhrood Plan. This note includes the details of the StQW policies for Latimer Road. These policies now form part of the development plan for the Borough and will be taken into account in the decision on this application,

A second tower in Wood Lane?

Back in October 2019 our open meeting at St Helens Church hall looked at a slide image of a proposed new tower in Wood Lane, opposite the 35 storey ‘Imperial Folly’. Plans for this development have come from the Womens Pioneer Housing Association in partnership with property company HUB.

The subsequent planning applications has yet to be decided by Hammersmith & Fulham Council. Meanwhile a new residents association on the Ducane Estate has submitted an objection with 40 points ranging from the impact on local traffic, to the wind tunnel effects of very tall buildings.

It was always a concern that the decision of LBHF to grant planning approval to the Imperial tower would be followed by other proposals for very tall buildings. In this case, the planned development is for 80 flats (for existing Womens Pioneer residents) and 350 ‘co-living’ units aimed mainly at the 25-30 year old generation.

CGI of proposed development at 227 Wood Lane

Womens Pioneer are an admirable housing association, but is this the right sort of building at the right location? And are very tall buildings, with some communal amenities inserted on several of the upper floors, a suitable form of ‘co-living’ accommodation?

The experience of Londoners stuck in in blocks of high rise flats for the last two months of lockdown has re-opened debate about the pros and cons of tall residential towers in London. This type of building is expensive to construct and maintain.

After the high rise flats built by councils in the 1960s, there were a couple of decades when few were built, following the Ronan Point collapse in 1968. The Grenfell fire has led to what the Government promises will be a major overhaul on building regulations and fire risk in residential towers.

The Collective building in Old Oak Lane is proving a successful example of co-living. But its communal areas and bar/restaurant are on the ground floor, and used by locals as well as residents. And the building is 9 storeys high rather than 39. Co-living residents are often both young and on short tenancies, and not always the first group to familiarise themselves with fire escape procedures in a single staircase tower block.

The StQW Forum has submitted a letter of objection to the application, which can be downloaded here http://stqw.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/StQW-representation.-final-1.pdf. Our main objection is that tall buildings are supposed to be resisted by policies in the Hammersmith & Fulham Local Plan, other than in designated regeneration areas such as White City. The Imperial tower is within the White City regeneration area but the site at 227 Wood Lane falls outside this boundary. If the Council finds a 29 storey building acceptable here, why not on e.g. the site of the Pavilion pub?

Not one of the series of tower developments granted planning consent by the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation along Scrubs Lane has yet started on site. In two cases, the developer (City & Dockland) have have plans to vary and ‘optimise’ the existing planning consents by adding a further 40 housing units to each scheme. But this developer may now be having a rethink in light of the impact of Covid 19 on London’s property market.

The tall building boom in London over the last two decades may be coming to an end as patters of working, living, and commuting undergo a major transition as one aspect of a ‘new normal’..

OPDC abandons plans for Cargiant land at Old Oak North

In a sudden and unexpected turn of events, a press release from the OPDC On December 13th announced that the Corporation was halting its plans to assemble land at Old Oak North.

This brings to an end the legal tussle between the OPDC and Cargiant Ltd.  In early 2019 Cargiant dropped its own plans for housing development (badged as ‘Old Oak Park’ and decided to remain as a business on its    existing 45 acre site. 

Despite this decisions, the OPDC chose to progress its own ‘masterplan’ for Old Oak North, making use of its powers of compulsory purchase to acquire tracts of Cargiant land.

10 months later, OPDC has recognised that its land assembly proposals were unworkable. 

The OPDC Board has not met since September 26th 2019 and is not meeting again until January 30th 2020 (a four month gap).  So there has been no report or Board discussion that explains the consequences of this major change of direction by the Corporation. 

OONF and the StQW Forum has sent the OPDC a list of questions.

We will be ensuring that members of the London Assembly Budget and Performance Committee see a copy of our questions before they meet in early January to scrutinise the OPDC Budget submission for 2020/21.    While the OPDC is scaling back its budget for next year, the fact remains that much public money has already been spent on preparing a Local Plan which now has to be substantially revised, along with consultancy costs on site assembly which is now wasted.

We will post more news as it becomes available.

OPDC secrecy on Housing Infrastructure Funding

Our previous post on governance of the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation set out the content of correspondence between this Forum and the Corporation, in the period up to August 2019.

Since then there have been further developments. The OPDC Draft Local Plan has continued to be ‘examined’ for ‘soundness’ by Planning Inspector Paul Clark.

An interim report from the Inspector in September required the removal from the Draft Plan of the Cargiant land at Old Oak North. Cargiant wish to remain on their present site, and the Inspector judged OPDC proposal for compulsory purchase of their land as unviable and inappropriate in planning terms.

OPDC now has to make substantial revisions to its Draft Local Plan. These changes are due to be consulted on early in 2020. Final adoption of the Local Plan appears still to be many months away.

In the meantime both the Old Oak Neighbourhood Forum and the StQW Forum have been trying to obtain copies of the OPDC ‘Expression of Interest’ for £250m of Housing Infrastructure Funding (HIF). We would like to know how this funding is intended to be used by the OPDC ‘delivery arm’.

We would also like to see the conditions that the Government attached to the provisional award of this funding, in March 2019. OPDC and GLA have turned down FoI requests to release both the HIF bid and the conditions, and these refusal decisions have now been referred to the Information Commissioner (see at http://oldoakneighbourhoodforum.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/StQW-and-OONF-to-ICO-30.11.19.pdf)

The London Assembly Budget and Performance Committee is now taking a closer interest in the activities and expenditure of the Corporation and we hope that forthcoming meetings on GLA budgets will lead to a fuller airing of the risks and challenges faced by OPDC.

The most recent correspondence on governance issues, between the StQW Forum and OPDC (David Lunts, Interim Chief Executive) is posted below

Letter from StQW to OPDC David Lunts on the lack of officer reports or discussion of critical issues at the OPDC Board meeting held on September 26th 2019 (which had been immediately preceded by a ‘private’ session before the public were admitted to the room).

Email response from David Lunts to Henry Peterson 09.12.19

Email response from Henry Peterson to David Lunts 10.12. 2019

OPDC governance: the questions being asked

The Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation is a body set up by the Mayor of London. In April 2015 the OPDC took over planning powers from three London Boroughs, for the large ‘Opportunity Area’ that stretches from Park Royal in the west to Wood Lane in the east.

Our Forum has taken a close interest in the actions and decisions of the OPDC, over the past 4 years. The Mayoral plans for the area (which dates from Boris Johnson’s era as Mayor) are to create 24,000 new homes at Old Oak, and 65,000 new jobs. This is London’s largest regeneration area, and is on North Kensington’s doorstep.

The OPDC is run by a Board of individuals appointed by the Mayor. Although these include the Leaders of the three Boroughs involved (Brent, Ealing and Hammersmith & Fulham) the Corporation has never felt sufficiently accountable to local people.

Back in 2015 the StQW Forum worked with residents groups in and around the Old Oak area to set up an Old Oak Neighbourhood Forum (OONF). Both StQW and OONF have since questioned and challenged the more extreme proposals that have emerged within the Draft Local Plan that has been prepared by the Corporation. The website of OONF at www.oldoakneighbourhoodforum.org gives information on the long series of consultations on the OPDC Draft Local Plan.

This is not a battle between NIMBY residents resisting change, versus a development corporation trying to meet London’s housing needs. Old Oak needs redevelopment, but in the form of good quality and livable homes for all generations.

The local opposition to OPDC proposals is part of a wider debate about planning the future of London. Recent research by the Grosvenor Estate shows the extent to which any public trust in the motives of developers and the decisions of local planning authorities has largely disappeared.

This post gives details of an extended exchange of correspondence between the StQW Neighbourhood Forum and the Chair of the OPDC Board, Liz Peace CBE.

The Forum’s concerns about the governance arrangements at the OPDC date back many months. Some of the detail in our letters may seem trivial and an example of local residents nitpicking at a successful public body. We see the issues raised in this correspondence as indicators of deeper institutional failings and an organisational culture resistant to outside challenge.

We also see a pattern in which OPDC and the Mayor of London’s Office have reacted – belatedly and after the event – to comments and questions on the Corporation’s governance arrangements and its level of transparency with the public. The resultant improvements to governance have come only after external prompting – from London Assembly Members, from landowner Cargiant, and from ourselves.

As a Mayoral Development Corporation, the OPDC is subject to most of the governance and transparency requirements that apply to a London Borough Council. Board members and OPDC officials do not always seem familiar with these.

In recent weeks the London Assembly has held two sessions at which OPDC Board Chair Liz Peace and OPDC Interim Chief Executive David Lunts have faced serious questions about the overall approach adopted by the Corporation at Old Oak. The most significant of these relate to the financial risks to the GLA as parent body, and to all Londoners whose Council Tax precepts fund the Mayoral ‘family’ of London-wide bodies.

Our first letter to Liz Peace on the subject of OPDC’s governance dates from October 2018. The well publicised scandal at Westminster City Hall, where the Chair of the Planning Committee had accepted excessive hospitality from developers, had rung alarm bells. A subsequent independent investigation revealed a similar culture within Westminster’s Planning Department of officers routinely accepting hospitality from the several specialist lobbying firms and planning consultancies which have become a feature of the London development industry.

We also wanted to know more about how the OPDC operates its pre-application advice service to developers, and how often it uses Planning Performance Agreements.

The reply from Liz Peace (dated 29th November) answered some but not all of our questions. On December 22nd 2018 we tried a further request with a list of specific questions. These covered the use of Planning Performance Agreements on named schemes that had been granted planning permission, queries on the OPDC Code of Conduct, on the nature of the ‘application files’ held by OPDC, and the extent to which individual planning officers take the lead on lengthy pre-application negotiations while subsequently writing reports and recommendations for the OPDC Planning Committee (with the risk of ‘capture’ by developers, an issue which has caused public concern elsewhere in London).

A further reply from Liz Peace came on 29th January 2019, with apologies for the delay. This explained that 7 of the 9 major applications approved by OPDC had been the subject of Planning Performance Agreements, and that the officer conducting these negotiations was indeed normally the author of the subsequent recommendations to committee.

OPDC promised to remedy the fact that some of the Registers of Interest of Planning Committee members had not appeared on their website. Liz Peace also acknowledged that the OPDC website was not clear about the use of PPAs and what is involved in this form of (costly) pre-application advice paid for by developers. More information has since been added to the OPDC website.

On March 22nd 2019 we wrote again to Liz Peace. This letter was prompted by the news that David Lunts, the GLA’s Executive Director of Housing and Land, has been appointed as a part-time Interim Chief Executive at the OPDC. Recruitment of a new chief executive had been triggered by the departure of Mick Mulhern, the former Director of Planning at OPDC who had himself been acting up as as chief executive ever since the departure of Victoria Hills in early 2018.

We questioned whether there might be a conflict of interest between the role at the GLA of David Lunts in promoting GLA land assembly and regeneration projects, while also heading up OPDC as a statutory planning authority making objective and neutral decisions on major applications.

Our misgivings about OPDC operating as a combined ‘delivery body’ and planning authority were sharpened by a letter sent by Mr Lunts to the Planning Inspector responsible for examining the OPDC Draft Local Plan. It felt to us that roles were becoming blurred.

Our letter also followed up on a list of negative perceptions of how OPDC was ‘engaging’ with local residents. These were drawn from the views of members of the Old Oak Neighbourhood Forum and the Grand Union Alliance, and had been discussed in February at a meeting between Liz Peace and Henry Peterson (StQW Forum chair and volunteer adviser to the Old Oak Neighbourhood Forum).

The next reply from Liz Peace was dated 24th April and gave assurances that there were clear divisions between the ‘delivery arm’ of OPDC and its role as planning authority. It is notable that after this letter was sent the OPDC Board on 30th May 2019 agreed a new protocol for staff aimed at ensuring that this separation of roles is maintained.

On 7th May, a further letter from the Forum focused mainly on the OPDC’s approach to community engagement. In autumn 2018 the membership of the OPDC Board had been ‘refreshed’. Certain members (including the one individual appointed in 2015 as the sole ‘community board member’) were not re-appointed for a further 3 year term.

Three new Board members had been appointed, following adverts for these positions. OPDC and the Mayor’s Office were sending out confusing and contradictory messages about the community links and ‘representative’ role of these individuals. The view of OONF was (and remains) that none of these individuals have yet made efforts to learn about the views and concerns of local people, ten months into their term of office.

Liz Peace responded on 7th June. This letter said that some further gaps in information on the OPDC website, relating to Registers of Interest of Board members and the OPDC Gifts and Hospitality Register were being remedied. On the question of the OPDC’s community engagement activities, differences of view remained as previously.

Requests for more information about the OPDC’s ‘masterplan’ for Old Oak North, in several of the StQW letters, had been met with promises of consultation sessions ‘in the summer’. By June 2019, GLA Assembly members were asking questions on the same subject. In particular, there was concern at the almost complete lack of information on the content of the GLA’s application to Government for £250m of Housing Infrastructure Funding to finance preparatory works at Old Oak North.

First applied for back in September 2017, this funding was finally approved by Government in March 2019. London Assembly Members wanted to know how these funds would be spent. It also emerged at a session of the Assembly’s Budget and Performance Committee on June 11th that this £250m grant award remains subject to a series of ‘challenging’ conditions. The GLA is being expected to underwrite the risk that these conditions (which also remain confidential) may never be met.

The planning context for Old Oak was meanwhile changing fast. In February, landowners Cargiant had announced that they were abandoning their plans for major redevelopment of their site as a housing-led scheme for ‘Old Oak Park’. This called in question the viability and realism of OPDC’s housing targets for the area.

Cargiant called for an immediate halt to further spending and consultant appointments and a full inquiry into the spending and strategy of the OPDC before any more money is wasted and jobs are lost. There is no sign of such an inquiry happening, although the London Assembly is now scrutinising the OPDC more closely and the Mayor is being asked more questions by Assembly Members.

Following the Plenary session of the Assembly on July 4th, at which Liz Peace and David Lunts answered further questions from Assembly Members, the StQW Forum wrote again on July 9th with queries about the HIF application and the conditions applied to this Government grant. A month later, there has been no response to this letter.

The Old Oak Neighbourhood Forum has been pursuing a FoI/EIR request for sight of the HIF bid since last March. This has been resisted by OPDC and GLA and a further appeal is in progress. London Assembly Member Caroline Pidgeon has also asked the Mayor why this document, passing between regional and central government, has not been made public? She has been given the same inadequate answer as sent to the Old Oak Neighbourhood Forum.

The Mayor’s Office seem to be waking up to the fact that the OPDC is under closer public scrutiny with more and more questions being asked. These questions are coming from Assembly Members, from Cargiant, and from local groups including the StQW Neighbourhood Forum and the Old Oak Neighbourhood Forum.

As a result, a Mayoral Decision MD2502 on ‘Governance Directions’ for the two Mayoral Development Corporations was approved on July 29th 2019. The report states that these new governance requirements placed on the OPDC will provide an enhanced degree of scrutiny and accountability for the decisions and activities of the Corporation following its successful HIF bid. A series of new checks and conditions, involving endorsement by senior GLA officials on behalf of the Mayor, will in future apply to OPDC decision-making,

The covering report claims that these new measures result from an internal audit review of the OPDC’s ‘oversight and governance‘. No such review features in the regular progress reports from the relevant GLA internal audit team to the OPDC’s Audit and Risk Committee. So who knows what has prompted these new ‘Governance Directions’? Probably a combination of questions being asked from several directions.

In our latest letter of 9th August, we have chosen to write this time to GLA Executive Director Resources Martin Clarke. He is one of two senior officials at the GLA who will be responsible for ensuring that the new Governance Directions are observed by OPDC. As before we have copied our letter to Assembly Members from each of the political parties on the Assembly, and to Liz Peace and David Lunts at the OPDC.

As noted at the start of this post, the pattern that we see is of OPDC and GLA reacting to concerns raised with the OPDC Chair and/or Board members, but on each occasion after the event. The latest Mayoral Decision takes matters to a new level. The report claims that the internal audit review of OPDC governance arrangements found ‘audit assurance‘ of OPDC to be ‘substantial, the highest level‘.

We cannot agree with this conclusion, and believe that this GLA internal audit team (the prime function of which is to audit MOPAC the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime) is missing the bigger picture. Achievement of the original planning ‘vision’ for Old Oak now looks to be fraught with obstacles and uncertainties. The OPDC Local Plan has yet been found ‘sound’ and ‘effective’ with Planning Inspector Paul Clark having to assess major questions over viability. Much public money continues to be spent by OPDC in the meantime.

The OPDC has declined a suggestion from Cargiant for a 3 month pause to negotiate over landholdings. Meanwhile the Mayor has approved the drawdown of a further £10m of expenditure in this financial year by OPDC on preparatory work related to the HIF grant — the detailed content of which is still being kept from the public and the London Assembly.

With the HS2 project under review, an uncertain Brexit outcome, and London population forecasts on a downward trend, the justification for hyper-dense housing development at Old Oak is increasingly questionable. Local people want to see a new community at Old Oak that proves successful in the long-term as a sustainable new part of London.

We fear a repeat of other regeneration projects in the capital that have proved over-ambitious, misjudge the housing market, and leave new arrivals isolated in residential towers with poor public transport access and inadequate education, health and social facilities. We may be proved wrong, but this is the direction in which plans for Old Oak have been heading for the last 2 years.

May 2019 – two important consultations

We will be discussing responses from the Forum to both these consultations at our next open meeting on June 5th at 8pm at St Helens Church hall, St Helens Gardens W10.

Linford Christie Stadium

Hammersmith & Fulham Council is consulting until 12th June on the future of Linford Christie Stadium, the area at the south-east end of Wormwood Scrubs. The three options put forward by the Council have significant implications for our neighbourhood. Details of the consultation are at this link

Linford Christie Stadium

The stadium has been leased for many years to Thames Valley Harriers and run as an athletics club. Adjacent sports pitches are used by local clubs including the Kensington Dragons youth teams.

The site is part of the Scrubs and has strong protection from development, given its designation as Metropolitan Open Land.

Option 1 of ‘do nothing’ to the stadium is unlikely to be the outcome. The Council is clear that it is unwilling to invest in reparing and upgrading the fabric of the buildings and other facilities.

Option 2 of creating a form of ‘community stadium’ and sports facility is strongly supported by the Friends of Wormwood Scrubs. This could potentially be a ‘not for profit’ venture, involving Imperial College who are interested in providing local sports facilities for their White City campus. Hammersmith Hospital, located next to the stadium, would also favour an option that does not impact excessively on their patients.

Option 3 would be for the Council itself to redevelop the site, probably with a development partner. As described in the consultation exercise, this option would be for a ‘performance venue of c.45,000 seats which could accommodate football and other sports, plus an new athletics track, stand and other facilities’.

QPR Football Club continues to campaign to relocate to the Linford Christie site, from its present base at Loftus Road. The Club is arguing the case for a 35,000 seat stadium, to be leased or purchased from the Council. The Club has published its own response to the LBHF consultation.

No images have been published by the Council or by QPR on what a 45,000 or 35,000 seat stadium would look like, in terms of height, massing or visual impact on the area.

QPR have previously published an analysis of what they claim to be the economic benefits of the club remaining in the Borough. But this noticeably lacked any information on the impact on the local public transport system of 35,000 or 45.000 people arriving at and leaving the site, either for football matches or for ‘performance’ events such as rock concerts.

Transport for London consultation on Wood Lane improvements and cycle lane

Transport for London are consulting until 16th June on a series of proposed road improvements for Holland Park Avenue, Notting Hill Gate, Shepherds Bush Green and Wood Lane. The last of these has the greatest potential impact on our neighbourhood.

The details of the consultation are at this link. The proposals include the creation of a segregated cycleway along Wood Lane, between North Pole Road and Shepherds Bush Green. Other changes to pavement and road layouts are planned, designed to improve safety for pedestrians and to encourage walking and cycling.

CGI image of Wood Lane proposals

These changes inevitably reduce the available road space for vehicles. along what is already a heavily congested route. TfL have published estimated effects on journey times, as part of the consultation material. We will be discussing at our open meeting on the 5th June whether local cyclists and drivers see the proposals as workable, and what impact on traffic they would have if implemented.