Acton Gardens Phase 1
South Acton Estate, Ealing
167 new homes
Planning authority
London Borough of Ealing

HTA were appointed to design phase 1 in 2010 following the successful competition winning proposals for the overall South Acton regeneration project. The proposal included 2,500 homes, commercial, community space and public realm improvements form the total regeneration of the wider estate, of which this is the first phase to be completed.

Phase 1, comprising 167 homes, has been an outstanding success. The first homes delivered in Phase 1 have been very well received by residents and sales have been strong. 

The original estate lacked any cohesive identity and was characterised by a feeling of isolation, with poor links to the surrounding residential areas. Phase 1 reconnects the estate to the wider neighbourhood to create a pedestrian-friendly environment with a sense of place, safety and security. The tenure blind homes in Phase 1 are located around a leafy, shared courtyard, with many overlooking the adjacent park.  The dwellings benefit from generous balconies, winter gardens or roof terraces with outstanding views across the park and the London skyline. 

Site constraints included working around existing trees, buildings, roads and services, which had to be maintained until residents could be decanted into new homes. Effective passive surveillance with clear definition of the public and private realm creates a safer communal environment. A car park and energy centre are discretely located under a raised communal courtyard, with shared amenity over parking.  A variety of homes include wheelchair units and homes for rent, shared ownership or outright sale.

The dwellings match or exceed the standards of The London Plan and London Housing Design Guide and score highly on other widely used building standards. The scheme also scored on 18 of the 20 Building for Life criteria at the time of design. The windows, shading from buildings and balconies, daylight levels, and heating and ventilation strategies were developed in parallel, with an exercise for the wider estate, to mitigate against climate change, and exceeded British standards.

Interlocking L-shaped apartment blocks allow taller buildings to overlook low rise courtyard houses, maximising dual aspect, daylight and views to the adjacent park. By using durable materials, such as brick and stone cladding, the buildings respond to residents’ image of a ‘proper home’.

The scheme is designed to be future-proof, durable, sustainable and fit for purpose, taking into account both current need and future aspiration. Countryside and L&Q were keen to provide high quality and high value homes to re-establish South Acton as a desirable mixed tenure neighbourhood that would be attractive to both existing and prospective residents. The later addition of winter gardens and extended roof terraces increased home and amenity sizes pushing them into the higher value sales bracket.

The project sets the quality standard for all future development phases of the masterplan and acts as a catalyst for the wider regeneration of the area.  It demonstrates a model approach for delivering long term regeneration in difficult and challenging market conditions and delivers exemplary community and stakeholder engagement.

Local Residents were involved throughout the pre-application design process and we secured high levels of resident satisfaction with the proposals. Regular meetings were held with the Resident Steering Group and exhibitions were organised to ensure wider residents were kept up to date with progress and given a chance to contribute. The first homes delivered in Phase 1 have been very well received by residents and sales have been strong. 

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