This article was published in the lookwest publication distributed at MIPIM 2008, and is available for download here.
As you exit Ealing Broadway station, you’re conscious of the bustle in and around the retail mix. This bustle is mirrored down the Broadway in the Civic Centre where a whole new set up is changing policies, and hoping to change developer’s perceptions about their Borough.
They want investors and developers to take in the new opportunities in Ealing for residential, retail, leisure and commercial development, and say they are ready for new proposals that will help them rejuvenate the borough.
The Council has changed policy and outlook. It’s also changed staff – with Executive Director of Regeneration Pat Hayes joining just twelve months ago. He’s assembled a new and dynamic team and is set on changing the face of Ealing.
The Borough is now distinctly in favour of the right kind of development. They are actively seeking interested and committed developers and other partners with whom they can build long-term relationships, and are committed to regenerating key parts of the borough, rejuvenating town centres and building more homes. There are major opportunities in Ealing Town Centre and West Ealing, Acton and Southall for new retail, office, residential and hotel developments.
That these town centres will be enhanced by CrossRail with stations proposed at West Acton, Ealing Broadway, West Ealing, Hanwell and Southall adds to the excitement around the Borough just now.
New Town Centre for Southall
The National Grid site at Southall Gasworks is undeniably gigantic – with 90 acres which will contain around 4000 homes, 20,000m2 of retail space, a hotel, a school and more it’s a whole new community.
Closely connected to that site is Southall town centre, which is the subject of a recent draft masterplan by Llewelyn Davies Yeang. It aims to build on the fact that Southall will be a Crossrail station, and on the development of the Gasworks site, to provide a massively improved retail and commercial offering.
This development framework will guide the regeneration and revitalisation of the town centre’s diverse retail experience, which also shows a number of smaller commercial opportunities on underused or poorly configured sites, where there is significant scope for site assembly.
The plan includes provision for a new car park, and improvements to the road scheme, with a new bridge connecting the north and south over the railway, improving flow and reducing
congestion. The framework is rounded off by over a million pounds of public realm improvements, to set the seal on what will be a significant upgrade in property values in the area.
Building on the Broadway
The Council are committed to securing positive development at the Arcadia site at Ealing Broadway. The opportunity to produce a substantial retail led development with a significant residential component, bridging the railway lines and providing a significant new public space is one Ealing want to see realised.
With both the Mayor and CABE accepting the need for a high density development, Ealing are working actively with developer Glenkerrin to produce an acceptable scheme. Ealing Broadway’s masterplan connects this site with several others, including the Dicken’s Yard development, where Ealing distinguished themselves by selling council assets – a car park and a disused sixties office building – to developer St. George of the Berkeley Group to make the scheme economic, and wellconnected to the existing town centre.
This new flexibility is characteristic of the Council and their strong focus on economic development through regeneration.
Europe’s largest industrial estate is largely in the Borough, and like Brent, Ealing want to
use this economic powerhouse to provide uplift to areas around it’s edges. A new masterplan is in process for North Acton that seeks to provide further employment land for development.
There’s also vision to make improvements in the boroughs employment zones in Greenford and along the A40 corridor. There are several sites with potential that the Council would like to see developed – the B&Q site on the A40 for example – to provide good quality employment.
Changing the Housing Approach
Ealing Council is embarking on an ambitious programme of housing renewal which they want the private sector to be a key part of – a market led solution to estate regeneration. They have identified seven priority estates amounting to around 4,300 homes which together with residents they seek to find exciting solutions to provide new homes reflecting all housing tenures. With increased density this provides an opportunity to build up to 7,600 new homes. The developing partner therefore has the opportunity to create significant further new private housing, and, in
some cases, retail.
Havelock Road is a good example of these estates, with it’s 730 units of social housing,
canal side location and walking distance connection to the rail service, providing huge potential for up to 1,350 new homes. For this and the others housing areas the Council has no preferred developer, and is keen to enter into early partnership dialogue. There is also the additional potential to look at a new solution to progress the regeneration of South Acton estate, which still has around eighty percent of the site to be developed. Jackie Sadek of CBRE thinks this plan is inspired. “It’s very clever of Ealing to create these informal local asset backed vehicles before it becomes the established norm in estate regeneration”.
One more radical change in perspective that shows the change that this London Borough has undergone. Ealing is starting again, New Ealing is on it’s way.
Ealing – key facts:
• Population 310,000 – third largest London Borough
• 13,365 businesses
• Five CrossRail stations
• Excellent transport links – to M4, M40 and Heathrow Airport – three tubelines, and mainline rail connections to Paddington and Reading.
• More than 230 development sites with potential for residential, retail, leisure, community facilities and other uses.
• Ealing Metropolitan Town centre has capacity to increase retail floorspace by 20,000sqm
• Those already investing in Ealing include St George, Glenkerrin and Standard Life
• Europe’s largest employment area – Park Royal – largely in the borough