Arcadia - disaster looming or big business in the making?
Residents associations have already condemned it but is this the whole storey?
The 40 storey Leaf has officially replaced the tram as the most talked about issue in Ealing.
Several residents' associations and community groups have joined together under the banner of Save Ealing's Centre (SEC), to fight the plans for the Arcadia centre but developers say they've had a very different reaction from those they've approached.
SEC claims that the development which will include 700 new homes, including a 40-storey skyscraper, and the Dickens Yard development which will bring more homes to the town centre, will stretch the infrastructure to breaking point.
"We find the Arcadia proposals unacceptable as they represent an over development of the centre of Ealing," said Eric Leach, Vice-Chair of West Ealing Neighbours.
"Allied to Dickens Yard the two separate developments would deliver some 4,500 new residents into the centre where there is no planned provision to meet education, health care, transport access and green space needs.
But a spokesperson from Glenkerrin has recorded a different response:
"We have held two public exhibitions and most of the feedback has been positive and, in many cases, enthusiastic about the benefits the scheme will deliver to Ealing. We are also winning strong support from the Ealing business community whom we have also met to discuss the proposals.
Director Mr Vince Prior of retail experts Jones Lang LaSalle said: “Our research showed Ealing is ranked as 124th national retail centre and slipping down the rankings with only 25% of market share from its primary catchment and under further threat from Brent Cross and White City when it comes on line in 2008 .
"There is however a good level of demand from large and small retailers as well as leisure and catering operators for new stores in Ealing, if only the right premises were available. Over 50 operators have expressed a requirement for premises in the town since the beginning of this year alone.”
According to HKR Architects,the masterplan designers, the proposals will encourage people into the town centre, with a new Civic Square proposed outside the station drawing people into the development. Improved access from pedestrian links through a series of new lanes and public spaces will encourage more visitors through the development and into town. Rising elegantly above the station square will be The Ealing Broadway Leaf building, inspired by the structure of a beech leaf, which will act as a landmark for West London. This mix of shopping, residential, leisure and business will ensure the heart of the town will be filled with activity both during the day and into the evening, creating a vibrant living community in the centre of Ealing.
Retail experts believe the regeneration will boost the economy of Ealing, with 40 new shops of the calibre of Zara, Heals, Habitat, Hobbs, Borders and Fat Face plus a large anchor store, new cafes and restaurants such as Zizzi and Wagamama, attracting both well known national retailers as well as specialist independent traders.
Peter Smith, chairman of Ealing’s Business Improvement District added his weight to the support: “The private sector has identified Ealing as a community with great potential, which is exciting for the future of the town, coming at a time when competition from other urban centres, such as White City and Brent Cross, has never been greater.”
A council consultation is in progress, with letters being sent out to 60,000 homes in the borough, while SEC plan a series of public meetings to discuss the problems.
October 19, 2007