Acton Town Development Framework Revealed

Full document unveiled shows big plans for Acton


Click here to download the complete document from Ealing Council's website

Model for Acton Town Centre Development Framework

Model from the Framework document

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Ealing Council, in consultation with East, URS* and DTZ* have produced a draft development framework for Acton.

The draft runs to nearly 70 pages and contains many ideas, images, proposals and comments on Acton.

According to the plan, it "provides a strategic vision and development framework for Acton Town Centre to help marshall co-ordinated change over the next 18 years towards 2026."

The document's vision for Acton Town Centre is to: "Make Acton the centre of choice for local residents by improving the diverse and mixed retail, leisure and community experience alongside a high quality, attractive physical environment that encourages visitors to stay longer."

"Key urban design and socio-economic objectives have been set out to help achieve this vision. These are:

- To create a revitalised town centre, which serves the local community.

- To facilitate local economic growth.

- To enhance the economic viability and success of the Town.

- To introduce an optimum mix of uses.

- To provide a range of improved community facilities and services.

- To create an attractive and good quality public realm.

- To improve accessibility, movement and linkage through the town centre.

- To maximise the regenerative potential and coherence of the Town.

The individual projects outlined in the proposal include:

- Redevelopment of the Acton Town Hall complex - to include a new swimming pool (redevelopment of Acton Baths, Library and the Priory Centre to include residential, retail and office floorspace)

- Potential redevelopment of the Oaks and Churchfield Road

- Potential redevelopment of the Morrisons site (dependent on the willingness of Morrisons to relocate their car park)

- Regeneration of the Rowley Industrial Estate

- Regeneration of South Acton Estate

- Streetscape improvements to Acton Town Centre

Many of these projects are allocated as being long-term plans. However, in the short term the report states that: "Ealing Council has already earmarked some funding through its budget for improvements to the streetscape, including deep cleansing, shop front and visual merchandising scheme which can be implemented within a short time period. Such visual improvements will build early confidence among residents."

It also states: "It could be said that Acton has an image problem, in the sense that it is often difficult to geographically locate it, or understand its shape. This is the basis of the task of making the shape of the town clearer; making its edges distinct, and improving the way in which its various parts may be brought together for the benefit of the Town as a whole." Several arrival points are identified and analysed. The report favours improving links and connections between Rowley Industrial Estate, South Acton and the town centre. It also mentions making the town centre more accessible and more easy to locate from Acton's stations.

It is also intended that: "the preferred options for the development sites and the design principles guiding the overall redevelopment of Acton Town Centre will be subjected to consultation."

Later in the document, a comment is made that: "Development that is uncoordinated will miss an enormous opportunity for regeneration for Acton Town Centre as a whole and must be resisted." Also that "Large stakeholders and landowners unwilling to engage with the town centre regeneration ambitions threaten to diminish the scope of possible redevelopment and regeneration."

One diagram highlights "character areas" which include:

Rowley Industrial Estate: "ramshackle but industrious character"
South Acton Estate: "diverse mix of housing types, plentiful mature trees and open spaces.......bring a type of openness that is hard to find in London"
Acton Market: "maybe daily soon"
South Acton allotment gardens: "provide .... a buffer between the Estate and the railway.... Draw people together and benefit the buildings and spaces that adjoin them"
Churchfield Road: "many boutique shops......unique character......sense of safety and social success that could reach further if nurtured"
Market Place: "easy and inviting to explore"
Churchfield Public House: [recently re-named the Station House Pub] "One of several pubs.... This end of Acton is more successfully signified than other stations"
St Mary's Burial Ground: "calm oasis.... Should be acknowledged and enhanced and the close proximity with other different uses enjoyed"
Acton Town Square: "rejuvenated space.....character range of different building types"
Mosque: "representative of Acton's multitheistic community. Acton manages this kind of mix of cultures and buildings very well."
South Acton Rec: "Spacial generosity"
Terraced housing: "Offers a sense of containment, security through surveillance and life through provision of front doors close to the street as well as people arriving and leaving in cars"

Later on, the document states: "Instead of treating the streets and footways as parts of the town that serve to link green spaces and stations, their role can be shifted to become the places where people want to be and go. To do this, widened footways, improved linkages and crossings, better design and specification and locations of lighting and street furniture will in turn attract people to shop, eat and meet across the whole town centre."

The Development Framework is extensive and ambitious. This document is intended as a basis for consultation. Those who would like to read the document in its entirety should click on the link to the relevant page on Ealing Council's website (see box, right)

The first opportunity to discuss this document will be at next week's Acton Business Forum (details on calendar section).

Ealing Council have stated that: "Over the coming months resident and business communities in each of the area will be invited to comment on these plans.

"Please note that the proposals in the reports are those of the authors and should not be treated as being those of Ealing Council itself."

*We are trying to find out from Ealing Council what these acronyms stand for.

May 29, 2008