OPDC’s Planning Committee on October 12th agreed to grant planning permission to the application from Imperial College. Details of these proposals are covered in previous posts. Below is a reminder of their scale and their impact as an addition to the ‘North Acton Cluster’.
The application was originally submitted to OPDC in November 2021. Changes since then (including the addition of a second staircase to the three residential towers (all above 50 storeys) have contributed to delays in a decision.
At the committee meeting OONF (Henry Peterson) was given ten minutes to speak as an objector. Imperial and architects Pilbrow & Partners had a similar time to respond. OONF had submitted six objections over the past two years. The most recent argued that the timing of a decision was wrong, given that the whole planning context for ‘Old Oak West’ has been impacted on by the Government’s October 4th decision to reduce the scope of the HS2 project.
We also questioned how Imperial intend to finance an 11 year build project, when construction and borrowing costs have increased dramatically since the application was submitted. Imperial gave no answers on this subject.
It emerged at the meeting that construction cannot start until late 2025. Imperial College have a lease arrangement with Currys/Carphone Warehouse and the project has been hit by the problem affecting many in the area – the lack of electricity capacity from Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) and the National Grid.
The same committee meeting also approved a consultation version of the long awaited Supplementary Planning Document for ‘Old Oak West’. Quite why a decision on One Portal Way had to be made before the start of this six week public consultation remains a mystery. While the site is just outside the boundary defined for this SPD, it is very close.
The Draft SPD designates a ‘North Acton Cluster’ north of Victoria Road, in the following planning speak:
P7C1 North Acton town centre Cluster
A vibrant high density neighbourhood town centre, focused on an enhanced North Acton Station and new station squares. Active throughout the day, a range of town centre uses will strengthen the area’s identity. High quality and coordinated public realm, framed by active frontages will guide people to their
One major benefit of the proposals at One Portal Way is the planned central public open space – provided that this materialises as shown in the plans and CGIs. Revised phasing of the project and intended ‘meanwhile’ use of the Carphone Warehouse building (see earlier post) have reduced the size of this space, and we may see hoardings surrounding it for many years yet.
The six objections submitted by OONF can be downloaded below:
It will be well into the 2030’s before conclusions can be reached on whether OPDC and Imperial are making the right decisions on the future of North Acton. What has been built there since OPDC came into existence in April 2015 (much of it the result of applications delegated to LB Ealing) is seen by many local people as an example of the worst aspects of urban renewal in UK cities.