Women's Pioneer Housing Scheme Gets Approval

Three towers containing over 100 flats to be built near Gunnersbury Lane

CGI of the looking toward Acton Town station on Gunnersbury Lane. Picture: GRID Architects


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April 6, 2023

A major new housing development near Acton Town tube station on Gunnersbury Lane has been approved by councillors.

They voted overwhelmingly to give permission to Women’s Pioneer Housing (WPH) to demolish its existing property at Brook House and build three towers on the site of up to 15 storeys high (224773FUL).

The new buildings will contain up to 102 flats which all be provided at social rents with some going to existing tenants at Brook House and half being offered to Ealing Council.

WPH is a Registered Social Housing Provider and a Cooperative and Community Benefit Society, formed in 1920 by suffragists to provide housing across London for single women, particularly those who face inequality, abuse and other disadvantages.

It has owned Brook House since 1935 and made extensions to the existing buildings in the seventies to provide the current number of 39 flats to single women.

A visualisation of the planned towers. Picture: Grid Architects
A visualisation of the planned towers. Picture: Grid Architects

At the planning meeting to discuss the application this Wednesday (5 April) a presentation was given by a borough planning officer recommending that councillors approved the scheme.

In response, Ray Batchelor chair of Mill Hill Residents’ Association, spoke on behalf of people in the area who were objecting to the proposal. He said he supported the aims of the WPH, but tall buildings were unnecessary for them to expand provision at this site and the environmental damage was being underestimated. He added that the heights proposed exceeded the guideline of the London Plan and would create a precedent for the area which ‘will irreversibly damage our environment for now and generations to come.”

The council planning officer disputed the claim that the buildings would create a precedent for other tall towers in the vicinity saying this had been specifically excluded as part of local guidelines.

Tracy Downie of WPH spoke saying it was impractical to serve the needs of the women they support in the current building and the need to build tall buildings was dictated by the nature of the site.

Visualisation of the scheme looking north up Gunnersbury Lane
Visualisation of the scheme looking north up Gunnersbury Lane. Picture: HTVIA

The design by GRID Architects includes three buildings with a 15-storey tower at the centre with two towers on the side rising to 11 and 13 storeys.

Tenants referred by Ealing Women’s Refuge would be provided with flats on a social rent basis.

Of the committee members, only Conservative councillor Greg Stafford spoke against the scheme endorsing the view of the resident objectors that a low-rise scheme would be more appropriate for this site.

When it was put to the vote all the other councillors raised their hands to approve the scheme.

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