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Ealing’s Full-scale Regeneration Project Wins Planning

Posted by Sally on October 4, 2013

We are celebrating the resolution to grant planning approval from Ealing Council for the transformation of the Copley Estate in Ealing, an eight-hectare site which will contain over 700 homes. Our architects are the lead designers with our EAs and Building Consultants providing their professional services. The project includes the refurbishment of most of the existing buildings and public realm, and constructing new homes/community/retail facilities as discreet infills between existing buildings and significant new residential sites fronting the estate. The existing 1km long estate comprises of 637 dwellings and proposals include demolition of 76 homes, construction of 205 new homes, and extensive refurbishment of over 500 homes.

Part of Ealing Council’s ambitious plans for development in the borough, Copley Close is a large and challenging housing estate in west Ealing, which ranks in the top 1% of deprived areas. Their plan demonstrates a new approach to estate regeneration and is to become a flagship project. Not only is the council leading as developer and landlord in providing 'tenure blind' housing, it is retaining and extensively refurbishing over 70% of the existing homes. This will create a more sustainable community. Embodied energy in the building and social capital of the local community will be retained, reflecting the existing value in the building, place and people.

Two new public squares are being designed opposite Copley Castle Bar station to improve civic space and pride. Other important design elements include the separation of public and private space, which is a key strategy for the master plan, as well as greatly improving the accessibility (lifts will be provided to serve existing as well as new build properties). One of the ideas of the master plan is to break the existing site into a series of neighbourhoods with subtly different characters, to transform a mono-tenure “council estate” into a truly mixed-tenure residential scheme.

Residents have long demanded change for their neighbourhood and have felt 'neglected' and 'isolated'. The most significant physical challenge is that a rail line runs through the estate, with housing built on either side of the former railway cutting. Built in the late 1970s Copley does not meet the needs of the existing population – there is no entrance security to buildings, there are communal 'walkways in the sky', dark and dangerous undercroft parking and little natural surveillance. The homes are in urgent need of repair and renewal.

The estate does have very strong community cohesion, good transport links and the building form has some architectural merit. The vision is therefore to transform the existing buildings and construct new homes to create a 'community of choice' where people can have the option to rent or buy over a range tenures.

The site is already high density. Surrounding streets are in a conservation area populated with two-storey terrace houses. The majority of blocks on Copley Close are four stories with a mezzanine and undercroft area.

To improve the existing homes that are being retained, consideration has been given to:

  • reinstating the undercroft area for secure parking
  • replacing communal entrance and walkways with modern and secure entrances
  • creating balconies on west facing elevations
  • decking over undercroft areas to extend Copley Close, which is the primary access to properties within the estate.

Sustainable considerations include:

  • use of low energy lighting
  • energy efficient appliances
  • metering
  • high levels of insulation
  • low water use sanitaryware and fittings
  • installation of a site-wide heat network designed to allow for future connection to a district heating network
  • a combined heat and power unit sized to provide domestic hot water and a proportion of space heating is also proposed
  • photovoltaic panels will deliver a 5% reduction in regulated CO2 emissions.

The overall approach will deliver CO2 emission savings of 31%, which exceeds the targets within the London Plan.

The work has started on site and will complete through phases up until 2017. The project has a 'resolution to grant consent' and will be reviewed by the GLA in the coming weeks.