Car Giant and Old Oak Park Royal DC at War as 6,500 houses Scheme Collapses

Old Oak Park Website

Welcome to Old Oak Park

This website contains a historical archive of the now abandoned plans to bring forward the comprehensive redevelopment of the 46 acre Cargiant site, which is central to unlocking any major development within the area.

Between 2013 and 2017, Cargiant, faced with the possible closure of its business when its land was designated a regeneration area, became reluctant developers and spent £8.5 million trying to bring forward a planning application for their land which could fund their relocation.

For many years fortnightly planning meetings took place with the public sector agency supposedly leading the regeneration, the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC). The scheme, known as Old Oak Park, was taken through extensive public consultation – the full details of which you can see on this website – and which were very well received by the local community and other partners.

However, despite all the collaboration, the OPDC concluded that the scheme wasn’t viable as it couldn’t meet the costs needed for infrastructure and social benefits required for the area.

For any development to happen it has to be able to pay for three things:

1. The relocation of Cargiant. Cargiant is the largest independent car processing and retailing plant in the world and a hugely successful and valuable business, built up over 40 years and employing over 700 people directly with many hundreds more reliant on Cargiant’s supply chain. The cost to buy new land and move the business is estimated at in excess of £600 million;

2. New infrastructure including new roads and bridges and all the cabling and pipes for water and energy supplies. In 2016, the OPDC estimated these costs for the land around the Cargiant site at £532 million. Since then the costs have gone up; and

3. Affordable housing. The planning policies of the GLA and the OPDC set a strategic target across the area of 50% affordable housing, so half of the homes don’t contribute any profit at all to all the costs which are needed.

Since Cargiant’s Old Oak Park plans were developed, the OPDC has also put forward new planning policies that see even fewer homes delivered on Cargiant’s land (5,300 homes to be built by 2038 compared with 6,500) with higher levels of affordable homes required. At the same time, the prices for industrial land (needed to move Cargiant) have gone up substantially, partly because so much has already been lost to residential development along with very large areas lost to HS2 constructions sites, and construction costs have also gone up while the values for residential development have gone down and construction costs have escalated.

In short, the development simply doesn’t stack up and no developer can afford to meet the costs of developing the land. Cargiant’s window of relocation has been lost. The OPDC doesn’t have worked-up designs for the land, doesn’t have a development partner and hasn’t solved the huge technical challenges of delivering the infrastructure to the site.

Despite this the OPDC is pressing ahead with seeking £250 million of Government money and has even started a Compulsory Purchase Order process which will see over 1,000 jobs lost. They have also already spent nearly £30 million in just four years.

Cargiant is calling 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.

What happened here is that Tony Mendes owner of Car Giant has been attempting to do his own thing at the centre of the area irrespective of the other landowners or the masterplan.  As such he would have needed to pay for all the linking connections himself.

He seems to be particularly poorly advised as he seems to be admitting that without the public sector providing the enabling infrastructure the site has a negative residual value – perfectly making the case for CPO at ‘no scheme world’ values, needing only to pay for compensation for loss of Car Giant., not even the full cost of relocation.

Im sure Homes England could find a nice site on land they own or Basildon or somewhere.

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