Morrison's "Lacklustre", Town Hall Ripe for Development
Meeting this week kicks off framework discussion for residents
On Tuesday night Cllr David Millican - Cabinet member for Regeneration at Ealing Council introduced a reasonably well-attended meeting of around 80 people at Acton Town Hall about the Acton Town Centre Development Framework. He said that this is to be the start of a two-way communication between residents, businesses, planners and Ealing Council.
Considering around 45,000 people live in Acton the turn-out was disappointing, to say the least.
The document which has been seen by some (click here to read a previous article on ActonW3.com about the Framework document) is intended, Mr Millican said, as the basis for discussion, not as the final version of the plan. He will be working closely with Vlod Barczuk, Councillor for Acton Central, on the project.
Lucy Taylor, Head of Economic Development was next to speak. She said that Ealing Council does not have control over some of the sites included in the development Framework. Conversations are starting to take place between developers, landowners and Ealing Council. Ms Taylor said that it is hoped that further money (as has happened with Greenford where Transport for London have made a major financial contribution to development there) will be drawn in from the private sector.
Ms Taylor continued that for short term improvements which could be made immediately, there is a plan to invest in and improve shop fronts by providing grants to businesses. Another suggestion is to make Acton Vale Bridge - which is owned by Network Rail - a key gateway point, as the railway bridge is in Southwark. Other suggestions are for hanging baskets, removal of street clutter, signage from shops etc and to give assistance to those seeking work.
Julian Lewis of East Architects, who have been carrying out the consultation in partnership with DTZ and URS (an environmental and engineering consultancy) spoke about the Development Framework as a "document to marshall the forces of change". He said that there is pretty good transport in Acton, though all its stations are on the periphery of the town. He also said that the South Acton Estate is a massive development and has an important relationship to the town centre. The aim is to make Acton the centre of choice for the people who live and work in it.
Mr Lewis called Morrisons supermarket a "lacklustre" building which could do a lot more for the town centre. He also called for more clarity and talked of a plan to pull together Churchfield Road and the High Street, making the Town Hall a more important central point. He also said this could be an opportunity to re-consider the South Acton Estate.
The 80 or so people then divided into groups discussing different aspects of the plan:
1. Key sites for investment opportunity (Morrisons, the Oaks and other sites.)
From the discussions various ideas came up and the following is a summary and selection of them:
- Appearance of Market Place needs to be improved
The meeting lasted around 3 hours. It was emphasized that this will not be the only opportunity to discuss the development framework, and there will be a questionnaire available at some point. The organisers said that they hoped this would be the start of a "long and fruitful" dialogue.
September 1, 2008