Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Old Oak Common: 20,000 new local jobs?

£32 billion is about to be spent on the high speed rail link between London and Birmingham, known as HS2, and the Park Royal interchange has been confirmed as part of the plan. This was in doubt not so long ago but Old Oak Common, the area north of the Scrubs, is set to be transformed out of all recognition by the scheme.

In many ways this is likely to have more impact for West London than the Olympics has for East. When all is said and done the Olympics will start fading from view almost as soon as they are over and after a few years we'll probably be sick of hearing about stadiums that aren't being used for what they were intended and so on.

Yet this rail link is the future - with plans to extend the line to Manchester and Liverpool in the years ahead.

So no doubt about the scale, either of the project itself which is on a par with great Victorian projects of old, or the local impact. But some of the figures being bandied around are just a little eyebrow raising, such as the 20,000 local jobs that are apparently set to be created. Really? What are they all going to be doing?!

There are high levels of unemployment in the area our Council point out in the video above. Yes, there are - but that also means that the majority of those people will be relatively unskilled and therefore unable to take on many of these jobs. I worry that we have not heard anything about how those people will be offered training in order to gain those skills - because otherwise all we will see is workers from elsewhere, including abroad, bussed in instead.

Here's Cllr Mark Loveday of our Council, who have successfully lobbied for the scheme from day one:
“HS2 is the fastest way to deliver much need new homes, jobs and opportunities in one of London's poorest areas and the Government has recognised that the case for the Old Oak interchange is overwhelming" 
“The great Victorian engineers like Brunel recognised the importance of well positioned interchange stations, such as Crewe and Clapham Junction, and in that same spirit Old Oak promises to be the nation’s first 21st century high speed rail interchange. 
“The Old Oak interchange will relieve pressure on the overstretched central London terminals and link four airports and existing train lines to the high speed network for the first time. 
“In the process, the accelerated and expanded high speed rail programme will regenerate not just parts of the north of England and the Midlands but rundown inner London neighbourhoods right on our doorstep. 
“The creation of a new interchange at Old Oak, or Park Royal City International as it will be known, will unleash the creation of a new business hub bigger than Canary Wharf, bringing thousands of affordable homes and jobs to London.”
I think this is great news - and this Government is right to be investing here instead of blighting our skies with more planes, many of which fly to the domestic destinations that this rail link will now serve. Time will tell on just how local the benefits really are - and we could make a good start by hearing about the local skills training programme that needs to be an early part of this.


  1. I agree: the 20,000 jobs will include constructions jobs, etc, which are both temporary and probably won't go to local people...

  2. This is great news. H&F seems to be on the up and up.

  3. Park Royal City - extending to Westfield... No, seriously great news for the area, bring it on!

  4. impressive work,it will create more jobs and transport development,this is my web du lich da lat

  5. impressive work,it will create more jobs and transport development,this is my web du lich da lat

  6. its all well and good creating jobs and homes,,how many of the jobs and more important houses goes to british familys,i would be all for it ,but i know they wont