Interview: Lucy Taylor from Ealing Council

Thu 13th June 2013, 1:10 pm

The Sitematch London team has met up with Ealing's Lucy Taylor to discuss development and regeneration in her borough.

What is your role at the council? What are your responsibilities and duties?

My title is assistant director of regeneration and planning policy.  I am responsible for all regeneration initiatives across Ealing's town centres and major development areas. I work closely with developers and landowners to bring forward development sites in Ealing. I am also responsible for developing planning policy and am able to ensure a close alignment between the council's regeneration objectives and the local development framework. I also lead on the strategy for disposal or redevelopment of council property that is surplus to requirements.

If an investor or developer is looking for development sites in Ealing, what types for sites are available? Who owns them?

There are a variety of development sites in Ealing ranging from small sets suitable for a few houses to the largest development site in West London - Southall Gasworks with planning permission for 3,500 new homes. Sites are owned by public bodies and by private individuals and companies.

Why should an investor/developer invest in Ealing?

Ealing will have five Crossrail stations in 2019 - Ealing Broadway, Acton, West Ealing, Hanwell and Southall. Ealing has been identified as one of the key places in London that will benefit the most from Crossrail with increased land values and economic benefits. Ealing already has excellent transport links to central London and Heathrow. With Crossrail people will be able to travel to central London in just 17 minutes. Ealing is becoming a new part of Zone 1.

Which key developments are currently in the pipeline? Are there any interesting opportunities for developers?

Our key developments are:

  • Southall Gasworks - with planning permission for 3,500 new homes, 20,000 square metres of retail units, offices, leisure facilities, school, health centre and park;
  • Adjacent to Southall Crossrail station we have a number of sites suitable for residential, retail and mixed use developments;
  • In Ealing Town Centre there are two major new developments coming forward as part of te redevelopment of the site next to the station including the Arcadia Shopping Centre. This site was recently acquired by Benson Elliott and will include new retail space and some residential dwellings;  Land Securities is also working with the council to develop a new cinema and cultural quarter with new restaurants and homes.
  • In Greenford the former GSK site has become available for redevelopment and proposals are being developed by the current owner for new a residential, retail and leisure development;
  • In Acton there are key opportunities in the town centre for the redevelopment of the Oaks Shopping Centre and Beechworth House.

Could you give an update on the Acton Town and Southall regeneration programmes? Are there any opportunities for developers?

The council has been proactive is using its own property to bring forward town centre regeneration. Acton Town Hall and Acton Baths were run down Grade II listed buildings. The council is redeveloping a part of the site for a new leisure centre, library, community space and council offices. This new centre will be completed in March 2014 and the council will then dispose of the rest of the building to One Housing Group for conversion to residential dwellings.

There are also significant developments opportunities in Southall including the Gasworks and land adjacent to the station. The council has recognised this and is working with the GLA to set out comprehensive planning policy - the Opportunity Area Planning Framework - to set the context for significant new developments.

The GLA have provided over £4 million of the Mayors Regeneration Fund for improvements in Southall to help kick start some of the developments and to fund initiatives to help Local people get jobs local community groups to work together to improve Southall.

Could you give an update on the development of the Empire Cinema site on Ealing Broadway?

Ealing town centre has been without a cinema for five years since Empire Cinemas demolished the cinema in 2008. Despite having planning permission, Empire Cinemas did not make any attempt to start construction and the council felt this was damaging Ealing Town Centre. The council has taken a proactive role by commencing a CPO process on the site. The council has selected Land Securities to work with it to bring forward a new cinema, cultural quarter, restaurants and residential following the acquisition of land by CPO or private negotiation.

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