We Built This City, We Built This City at Oh –Oh –Cee


Our chum, Greg Burns, writing in the Fulham Chronicle, draws our attention to a youtube video of Hammersmith and Fulham Council’s vision for Old Oak Common.

Old Oak Common (the Starship version)

He writes:

The run-down area will see 12,000 new homes and 40,000 jobs in Hammersmith and Fulham if the Department for Transport (DfT) approve its high-speed rail (HS2) plans in December.

It would result in a new transport hub and major interchange station linking Great Western and West Coast mainlines, Crossrail, Bakerloo and Central underground lines and Heathrow Express as the HS2 travels from London to Birmingham in just 49 minutes.

A major regeneration of the area, dubbed Royal Park City, designed by world-renowned architect Sir Terry Farrell would revolutionise one of London’s poorest areas.

And the council has developed a computer-generated video clip with interactive artist’s impression of the ambitious project.

Filmed to the soundtrack of 80s classic We Built This City by Starship, the video is called We Built This City on Rails and Road and is four minutes long.

A narrator describes Old Oak as a ‘forgotten area of London and area of urban deprivation’ and in the bottom fifth of the most deprived areas of the UK.
Councillor Stephen Greenhalgh, council leader, said: “The YouTube clip clearly shows how HS2 could be the catalyst to create Park Royal City.

“HS2 is the fastest way to deliver much need new homes, jobs and opportunities in one of London’s poorest areas and the case for an interchange station at Old Oak is overwhelming.”

Sir Terry, who is also designing the controversial Earls Court development, will talk about the plans at The Place West London event at Olympia on October 1.

He said: “The regeneration potential of the transport super hub at Park Royal City is a tremendous opportunity for London and the UK as a whole.

“This project is of huge significance to the economy of London and will deliver a new metropolitan quarter of the city, with new homes and employment opportunities in an area currently occupied by brown field land.”

Community members and business leaders in Old Oak have welcomed the plans. But the government’s HS2 plans have come under fire from other parts of London and the Home Counties for the impact it will have on their own environments.

The railways in the area have probably not had such a high film and video profile since Dirk Bogarde, in the role of ne’er do good Tom Riley, diced with death near the Central Line at White City in the 1950 Ealing Film’s production “The Blue Lamp.”

Note the CGI appearance of a cross between the Docklands Light Railway and Croydon Tramlink – Is architect, Sir Terry Farrell, who always shares his billing with his backing group, “the Partners”, subtly nudging somebody’s elbow not to forget about the North and West London Light Railway? A project we have previously commended. We might think that and you could possibly comment, so please do.

The West Coast Main Line link to Crossrail, mentioned in the video, features as a one of the new projects supported in the recent London and South East RUS. As we have commented before, the RUS does question a number of the original design philosophy tenets of Crossrail – in particular the inner city urban metro model adopted in preference to Michael Schabas’s 2003 ” Superlink” concept. It is integral to HS2’s plans for the redevelopment of Euston Station, the proposals for which are now transiting through the dark side of public consultation – the analysis of comments. HS2’s route into and through London will be a topic to which we will return shortly.

Finally for those of our readership for whom nostalgia means something ending in 80’s rather than 50’s, who are shocked by the video soundtrack’s anaemic techno-parody of their memories of youth, a multitude that no doubt includes our current vintage 1964 Mayor, we offer up the unexpurgated version of Starship’s anthemic “sing raucously whilst stuck in a traffic jam” music.

Whilst bopping gently to the rhythm of his lotos eating days, the Mayor might reflect that if the new urban regeneration complex built on Stratford’s former “Railway Lands” is “Livingstoneville”, then Old Oak Common could become his “Borisberg”. This vision of Fulham and Hammersmith Council is ambitious but eminently achievable.

Written by Mwmbwls