CLARITY ON CARGIANT'S LAND AT OLD OAK COMMON

15 JULY 2016

Following recent misleading reports that Genesis Housing Association and QPR's planning approval from the OPDC Planning Committee for a 600-home development improves the Club’s ability to deliver a stadium here we wanted to once again set out our position with regard to our land, the Cargiant site.

10 March 2016

Dear QPR Supporter,

We are writing to all those people who attended QPR’s Supporters Consultation Committee and Fan Sites meeting on 2 March 2016 as we feel you should all be informed as to the true state of affairs with regard to the possibility of delivering a stadium on the Cargiant land which we own.

As you are probably aware, the Cargiant land – a 46 acre site which we call Old Oak Park – lies at the heart of the Old Oak Common regeneration area, covering a significant proportion of the land to the north of the Grand Union Canal. It is the largest privately owned site in the area, the first to be delivered, is central to unlocking the transformation of the wider area and will set the standard for the further regeneration which will follow.

The land has been identified by the Greater London Authority (GLA) and the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC) to deliver much needed new homes and jobs as part of a thriving new neighbourhood based around what will become the best connected transport interchange in London, with HS2, Crossrail, London Underground and Overground. This is set out in the Mayor’s Vision (2013), the Old Oak and Park Royal Opportunity Area Planning Framework (2015) and in the Draft Local Plan (2016) currently being consulted on by the OPDC.

We have therefore been developing a masterplan over the last 18 months that responds to this by creating up to 7,000 new homes, supporting up to 8,000 jobs and putting programmes in place to ensure local people can access these opportunities. There will be a new London Overground Station and fourteen new bridges and underpasses to connect into the communities around us, ensuring the new parks, canal-side environment and community facilities are accessible for everyone to enjoy.

At the heart of our plans is a new cultural quarter that will attract millions of visitors a year, create hundreds of new jobs and boost the local economy with activity throughout the day and the evening, as well as establishing a strong identity for Old Oak Park as a whole. Anchoring this cultural quarter will be a world-famous institution and visitor attraction of national significance that will also deliver an outreach programme with schools and the local community. Some of you may have visited our public exhibitions in January and February and our full consultation materials are still available to view at www.oldoakpark.co.uk.

We were therefore extremely annoyed to note the statements made by QPR at the meeting on the 2 March 2016 that a new QPR stadium on Cargiant land is “the only viable option on the table” and that a “stadium could sit side by side with the Cargiant development”.

We feel such misleading and inaccurate statements should be corrected so that you are aware of the actual position.

I can confirm that neither Cargiant, nor our development partner London & Regional Properties, are in any discussions with QPR and that we will not enter into any such discussions or agreements with the Club in any way, shape or form. In short, we will never agree to a stadium on any part of our land under any circumstances and we have made that position crystal clear to the Club, the GLA and the OPDC on numerous occasions.

The reason is quite simple. A stadium would be completely the wrong use for our land. Our site is critical to the success of Old Oak Common and a stadium requires an enormous amount of land which would hugely reduce its ability to deliver new homes, jobs and other uses such as a cultural quarter – and all for a use which lies largely dormant for the vast majority of the year. We are committed to bringing forward a masterplan that is far more sensitively designed, that has incredible parks and open spaces, and that has far greater benefits for local residents and surrounding communities than is possible with a stadium. Our approach is also backed by policy and the latest policy framework issued for consultation by the OPDC does not include a stadium on our site.

Given that we outright own our land, the only way a stadium could be delivered on any part of the Cargiant site is if the public sector takes us to court to enforce a 'Compulsory Purchase Order' (CPO) on us in order to force a stadium use. Quite apart from the fact that this would cost enormous sums, given that we are willingly relocating the Cargiant business and redeveloping our land in keeping with the regeneration objectives for new homes and jobs, there is no legal basis for a CPO. Sir Edward Lister, Chair of the OPDC has already confirmed that this is the case and even QPR’s own planning consultant confirmed to you on 2 March that such an outcome was ‘unlikely’.

We also note from the minutes of the 2 March meeting that the Club not only requires land for a stadium but also requires additional land in order to deliver “residential and commercial development to subsidise the stadium”. The overriding need at Old Oak Common is for homes and jobs, with money generated required to contribute towards the massive cost of putting in place the critical rail and other infrastructure, as well for the delivery of affordable homes. The area has not been designated a regeneration area in order to fund the move of a football club.

The statements of QPR implying that a stadium could be built on Cargiant land are at best confusing and at worse misleading. Under no circumstances will we consent to a stadium on our land. Any further work by the Club in this direction is futile.

As you are all aware, Cargiant were sponsors of QPR for a number of years and many of our 800 staff still support the club and hope for success. We will not however, financially jeopardise the relocation of our own business - which has been based here for over 30 years - and, most importantly, we will also not allow this vital new piece of London to be developed without the maximum benefit to existing local residents and to London as a whole.

We do wish the Club well in being able to deliver a new stadium but it is now time that they prioritised other site options that they may be able to actually deliver.

I do hope this is helpful and should you require any further information please do not hesitate to contact us on 0800 046 3379 or you can email us at oldoakpark@londoncommunications.co.uk.

  • Tony Mendes
    Managing Director, Cargiant
  • Geoff Springer
    Development Director, L&R