Hammersmith & Fulham Council has won its bid to shift construction work for the new HS2 rail line away from homes and sensitive habitats in Wormwood Scrubs.
It means that heavy vehicles involved in the construction of the High Speed 2 rail line and the future Old Oak Common Station will now access Wormwood Scrubs via Old Oak Common Lane – thus reducing the impact on wildlife and the sensitive ecology of the Scrubs, as well as limiting disruption for local residents.
The proposal was approved on 23 February at a meeting of the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation’s planning committee (OPDC). The OPDC is the Mayoral Development Corporation for the Old Oak and Park Royal Opportunity Area, and as well as bringing forward regeneration, it is also a local planning authority.
Valuable local nature
Originally, access to the Scrubs was to be from Braybrook Street as approved by the HS2 Act. H&F Council objected to that and proposed a less damaging alternative route via Old Oak Common Lane.
Sir Stephen Waley-Cohen, Chair of the Friends of Wormwood Scrubs, spoke in support of H&F’s proposals setting out the significant importance and value of the Scrubs to residents and visitors.
Sir Stephen also presented a petition signed by more than 5,000 residents and park visitors – gathered by the Friends of Wormwood Scrubs – in support of the proposal to shift the access route.
Cllr Sue Fennimore, Deputy Leader of H&F Council, said: “It is great news that HS2 can now use a less harmful route to access its works on Wormwood Scrubs.”
David Lunts, Chief Executive of OPDC, said: “The close collaboration between H&F Council, HS2, local residents and our planning team at OPDC has helped protect the cherished Scrubs, whilst preventing delays to the Old Oak Common Station and minimising disruption to those living nearby.
“We will continue to work closely with all parties to ensure the full reinstatement of the Scrubs once essential work is complete.”
What’s special about the Scrubs?
There’s a combination of diverse habitats across Wormwood Scrubs that support a diverse range of native plants, breeding birds and insects, including species not usually found in more formal parks and open spaces.
The Scrubs also supports a large population of common lizards and attracts a wide variety of migrant birds in spring and autumn. And there are a number of legally protected animals, plants and fungi living on the Scrubs.
We will continue to keep residents informed about the HS2 works in Wormwood Scrubs, as well as our conservation Masterplan currently being drawn up to protect and revitalise the Scrubs.
This plan will be co-produced with residents and in collaboration with OPDC, including a comprehensive ecological enhancement planned to start in September. This plan will include the restoration of all the areas affected by HS2 access.