Mixed Reaction To North Acton Becoming a Mini-Manhattan

Not all residents opposed to the huge skyscrapers being built in the area

Nick who grew up in North Acton says the towers need to be built somewhere
Nick who grew up in North Acton says the towers need to be built somewhere


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A “mini-Manhattan” popping-up around a North Acton station has seen mixed reactions from residents.

The skyline around the area is now dominated by towers, but even more tall buildings could soon be built there.

Imperial College London has already built towering student halls in the area and is hoping to build three more towers between 50 and 55 storeys high on the site of a Carphone Warehouse office.

The current plan, named One Portal Way, is for 1,300-1,600 homes in seven buildings around something the area currently lacks – a park.

Although some nearby residents voiced concern about the growing student population, most accepted the towers as unavoidable.

Nick, who grew up in the area and didn’t want to give his last name, said, “It’s a bit of an eyesore here that affects some people but it’s better than some places.

“At least here they have got transport links, and a minimum of infrastructure.

“It makes more sense to stick them up here in one group.

“Not everyone can live in Tudor mansions, I wouldn’t want to live in one though! They’re boxes.”

But Nick doubted the 35 per cent affordable housing promised on the site, adding, “It’ll never ever happen that way.”

Illustrative View From Eastfields Road Along Cloister Road
Illustrative View From Eastfields Road Along Cloister Road. Picture: Pilbrow & Partners

When asked about the height of the towers, Fetanet Shapour, who has lived nearby for 23 years, said, “It doesn’t matter. It’s beautiful, it looks like New York! It’s better than making it into a shopping area.”

Joseph, a luxury goods salesman who lives close to Carphone Warehouse and didn’t wish to give his full name, said, “I think it’s too much, it’s too high rise. I don’t think it makes the area look very nice, it’s all very big. Even when the sun’s out you’re walking in the shade.

“It’s almost like you grow up and you’re bought out of your area.”

Software engineer Stephen, who owns a house nearby, said, “This is London, high rises are part of an up and coming area.

“It’s kind of a dump at the moment, but it’s on the way up.”

“The concern for us is if it just sits there and is a store of value for a bunch of foreign investors to park money.”

Neil Reynolds, chair of the Ealing Green Party, said, “In terms of development they’ve obviously zoned the area to look like a mini-Manhattan.

“London obviously has an affordable housing crisis and you need to build homes.

“But our concern is whether they’re really designed to solve the housing crisis or whether to meet an arbitrary target for homes.”

Imperial College bought the land in 2016 and with development managers Frame RE, they are consulting the public on the plans.

It has already built two buildings in what one of its press releases dubbed the “North Acton Quarter”.

The developers say the public they have spoken to want more green space and would welcome weekend markets, pop-up shops or events.

The last stage of consultation is set to end in September, with a final planning application to be submitted to Ealing Council in October.

The public are invited to have their say by clicking this link.

Josh Mellor - Local Democracy Reporter

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August 17, 2021


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