Public space designs unveiled for HS2’s West London ‘super-hub’ station
Plans for an urban realm around the new HS2 Old Oak Common station have been revealed, including new parkland to create a destination for people to relax as well as a venue for events and pop-up markets.
Old Oak Common Urban Realm Designs - Wetland Common. Credit: HS2 Ltd
HS2 Minister, Andrew Stephenson MP, has revealed new plans for an urban realm around the new Old Oak Common station in West London.
The local community and businesses are being asked for their feedback on the designs before a planning application is submitted. The ‘super-hub’ station has already received planning approval, and permanent construction began in June 2021, with the Transport Secretary giving work the green light.
Once complete, the HS2 station will offer unrivalled connectivity, with 14 new platforms; six HS2 platforms offering high-speed services to the North and Midlands, four Crossrail – or Elizabeth Line – platforms, and four conventional rail platforms, which will be served by trains to Wales and the South West. Over 2,300 jobs will be supported by the construction of the new station, with over 200 apprentices. HS2 has also revealed that 650 apprentices are now working across the whole HS2 project.
The urban realm proposals include the creation of a new public parkland that can be enjoyed by local residents, workers and rail users. It will be accessible via Old Oak Common Lane and will be formed of pocket gardens, tree and shrub planting, and a viewing platform over the small wetland area and station plaza. The new park will be a destination for people to relax as well as a venue for events, and pop-up markets.
The park will also offer a wide range of seating, including benches, low walls, chairs and tables. There will also be provision for public art and visual installations which will animate and reinvigorate the park long into the future.
Andrew Stephenson said: “Building back better is not just about delivering once-in-a-generation projects like HS2. It is about using our investment to fire up innovation, create new skilled jobs, and lay the foundations for a thriving, green, sustainable economy for the future. At Old Oak Common, we’re not just building a world-class transport hub, but supporting one of the largest regeneration projects in the UK – aiming to deliver 56,000 jobs over the next 30 years as part of the Government’s Plan for Jobs.”
Matthew Botelle, Stations Director for HS2, said: “HS2 will not only be improving rail journeys across the UK; we will also be regenerating areas around our stations. The proposed designs for the urban space around the station will provide a new vibrant public area where the local community, station users and workers can relax. With up to 250,000 passengers set to use this vital transport hub every day, it is vital local people get involved to help us refine our plans.”
Access for all
Disability access has been at the heart of the plans right from the start and the proposals include step-free access across the main paths in the park. There will also be resting spaces for wheelchair users and accessible seating across the area.
A Wetland Common at the front of the station also forms part of the proposals, which will be an area rich in biodiversity, and be a pleasant, safe environment for everyone – from children playing, friends relaxing or passengers waiting for a train or a bus. There will be a diverse range of planting species and mature trees, creating a unique place to be enjoyed all year round.
Local residents will also be asked to feedback on transport plans for access to the station including an area for private car drop off at the station, taxi rank, bus depot with green-roofed shelters and indoor bicycle parking with wide cycle paths.
The plans have been developed by HS2’s station construction partner, Balfour Beatty VINCI SYSTRA (BBVS JV) and their design contractor WSP. Following the approval for the station building design from the planning authority, Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC), in May 2020, the new urban realm proposals are the next step in showcasing how the arrival of HS2 will reinvigorate the surrounding area.
Following a four week engagement period to take feedback on the designs, a planning application will be made to the OPDC. There are also plans from OPDC to transform the wider area, a former railway and industrial site, creating tens of thousands of jobs and new homes.