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Khan launches review into company behind £26bn Old Oak regeneration

Sadiq Khan is reviewing the development company set up to deliver the £26bn Old Oak regeneration in west London.

London’s mayor believes his predecessor Boris Johnson may have “rushed into [a] deal without doing the due diligence checks”.

He has launched a formal review of the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation, which has full planning powers within a 650 ha area covering land in the boroughs of Hammersmith & Fulham, Ealing and Brent.

A new High Speed 2 and Crossrail station is due to be constructed at Old Oak Common by 2026, and there are plans to create 25,500 homes and 65,000 jobs as the area is developed.

The review will also scrutinise the terms of a Memorandum of Understanding agreed in March this year that paves the way for the OPDC to take ownership from the government of public land surrounding the proposed station.‎

Mr Khan said he was concerned about the cost of making the land viable for development, potentially affecting the amount of genuinely affordable homes the scheme would deliver for Londoners.

Commenting on the review, the mayor’s office said: “The mayor also believes that Boris Johnson may have rushed into this deal without doing the due diligence checks that would be expected, particularly regarding existing land ownerships and other technical planning requirements.

“This agreement was signed against a backdrop of major government investment in other locations along the HS2 route, including Birmingham and the regeneration of Ebbsfleet, and Sadiq Khan wants to make sure London is getting a similarly favourable deal.”

The review will consult residents and consider how to ensure residential development delivers a mix of affordable housing types.‎ In addition, it will investigate constraints to development, the level of support committed by central government to date, and where additional support might be appropriate.

The review is expected to be completed within two months.

Deputy mayor for housing James Murray said: “Although it will be the early 2020s before any significant numbers of new homes are built, we need to act now to ensure this project benefits as many Londoners as possible, as quickly as possible.

“This review will take a detailed look at past decisions made by Boris Johnson and the future direction of the Development Corporation. We are particularly keen to hear from industry experts who can help us ensure this scheme delivers maximum value for Londoners.”

In an interview with Construction News in February, OPDC chief executive Victoria Hills said she wanted as much control over the area as possible and to develop a good proportion of affordable housing for the area, rather than leave it up to developers.

Bidding for the multi-billion-pound construction packages for HS2’s four phase one stations, including at Old Oak Common, is due to get under way at the start of 2018.

On Monday, Atkins announced it had been named as the project’s sustainability adviser.

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