This tour was kindly led by Tom Cardis (Lead Officer for Planning Policy Regeneration, London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham) and Farrah Rossi (Old Oak Project Manager, London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham).
Some 15 delegates (including Sir Peter Hall) braved the west London mizzle to investigate what is expected to be the next biggest opportunity area after the Lower Lea Valley. The 3 km circular walk started at the renewed Willesden Junction station, now a hub for the London Overground, and took in some of the most industrial, isolated and forgotten pieces of London.
The Government confirmed in 2012 that it would be proceeding with a bill to develop a High Speed 2 (HS2) line between London and Birmingham. These proposals include an HS2 station at Old Oak, which would also include transport connections to Crossrail and the Great Western Main Line.
Our tour guides explained how Hammersmith & Fulham Council, together with the Greater London Authority, Transport for London and the London Boroughs of Brent and Ealing has produced a Vision for the area, showing how Old Oak could be regenerated over the next 30 years and provide up to 19,000 new homes and 90,000 jobs over the wider area.
The tour included railway lands and scrap yards, one of Europes biggest car dealers and a large, quiet section of the Grand Union Canal utilised by abundent wildlife and cycle commuters. Delegates saw the site of the proposed HS2 Station, which if it goes ahead will become one of London’s most important rail hubs on a par with Clapham Junction. At the moment it is a sidings for First Great Western and Heathrow Connect Trains and is being used to store thousands of concrete tunnel walls that will soon be buried under London as part of the Crossrail project.