East Gets West: Acton Town Centre Re-Vamp

As Handicrafts Market Cancelled due to Wind Dangers

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The news that Acton Handicrafts Market is suspended this Saturday comes within days of an announcement that the architecture company who designed the revamp of the Market Square, East, have been appointed by Ealing Council to draw up a strategic ‘vision and development framework’ for Acton Town.  

The cancellation is due to problems the market team are having making safe the stalls for the Handicraft Market and consequently concerns raised about the safety of traders & public during certain weather conditions, particularly the high winds that we are experiencing. London Farmers Market are aware of the difficulties but say they will continue trading as normal.  

Alex Watson, in charge of organising the markets, said: "We have had several incidents of stalls blowing over despite all our attempts to weight them down. I've talked to several other Town Managers with a range of experience in Market organisation about weighting and fitting systems. They all told me 'don't even try to use weights.' As I take safety very seriously, I had to take the decision to suspend Acton Market for this week while I work with Ealing Council to come up with a solution, which may involve a fittings system - a temporary structure which would still be removable but safe in extreme weather conditions."

East, the architecture, landscape and urban design practice has (according to the Architects Journal) been appointed by Ealing Council to draw up a strategic ‘vision and development framework’ for Acton Town, west London. An architect I spoke to said she found it "odd" that they had been appointed without sorting out the obvious problems on the Mount.

Julian Lewis, East director in charge of the new Acton Town Centre project, told the AJ that the strategic study could also be the cornerstone of a possible new masterplan for the area.

‘The study will inform the preparation of the Local Development Framework that sets up the conditions in which a masterplan could be tested,’ said Lewis.

The practice, established in London in 1995, will work with planning consultant URS and Donaldsons Property to produce a document to guide Acton’s future development.

Lewis explained that the team had been tasked "to consider current and future opportunities for change and redevelopment alongside the need to bring vibrant social improvement.

"It will involve improving the edges of Acton, its urban structure, and linkages within and at the edges of the town. We will offer proposals for key sites and buildings towards achieving the vision," he added.

The study, which is expected to take six months to complete, will take into account the regeneration of what the AJ calls the 'down-at-heel South Acton Estate', and will also include proposals for improving the town’s industrial areas and its central retail area.

East's philosophy for design on their website contains the following statements:

"We are interested in places, uses and the way they come about. By places we mean cities, spaces within them, buildings, and landscapes. Our work has come to be internationally recognised for a patient and innovative role in adjusting and improving the urban fabric and its uses.

"A careful understanding and documentation of places as they are found, their spatial relationships, colour, smell, materiality help our development and judgement of design. We are interested in responding to and influencing specific situations, not the pursuit of stylistic tradition. Beauty is always an ambition but it is never predetermined what beauty is."



July 6, 2007