Europe’s largest regeneration zone, Old Oak Common and Park Royal in west London will see the transformation of an industrial wasteland of old logistics sheds, goods yards and piecemeal buildings into new neighbourhoods with up to 45,000 new homes.
This challenging placemaking project is being powered by the promise of Crossrail.
This is where the Elizabeth line will connect to HS2 at the beginning of a 15-mile development corridor that leads out to Hayes.
According to new research by Savills and Molior, close to 25,000 new homes are under construction or in planning for the strip that runs either side of the A40.
Meanwhile, London Mayor Sadiq Khan has called for another 20,000 homes to be delivered as part of the Old Oak Common and Park Royal local plan, which is due to be resubmitted at the end of the year.
The largest number of new homes on the way are at Willesden, Old Oak Common, Acton and Shepherd’s Bush — on the cusp of inner London. Homes on 126 sites across the whole stretch should be available to buy within the next four years, research shows.
East versus west
The regeneration of west London was overshadowed by the Olympic-led rebirth of the East End.
“East London was a blank canvas and therefore relatively straightforward,” says Nick Vaughan of Savills.
“West London is far more complicated. Over the past five years there has been piecemeal development woven around existing residential pockets and protected industrial estates, all crisscrossed by major roads and railway tracks.”
The redevelopment of Old Oak Common and Park Royal, at the epicentre of west London regeneration, has suffered from huge problems.
Liz Peace, chair of the Old Oak Common and Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC), says they’ve never had the funding or national imperative of the Olympics. But Crossrail has given the project direction.
“When people will get off HS2 or Crossrail at Old Oak there must be an incredible new neighbourhood waiting for them.”
Squabbling over the local plan also put the brakes on. But this year, despite lockdown, the first new neighbourhoods are starting to take shape.
Oaklands, a “village” being developed by Notting Hill Genesis and Queens Park Rangers Football Club, is under construction between Willesden Junction and North Acton.
The £175 million mixed-use scheme will deliver 600 homes, including 40 per cent at lower cost. To register interest email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where art, education and industry meet
Hidden in the 1,100-acre Park Royal industrial estate in North Acton is a rapidly expanding bank of affordable studios, teeming with young creatives.
Row upon row of light-filled workshops with large aluminium windows and corrugated-iron roofs form part of the Republic of Park Royal, run by architect Johnny Brewin.
Park Royal is a protected industrial area, meaning the buildings cannot be converted into homes. But inevitably, prices for premises tend to go up. Brewin, who has moved his operation from Hackney Wick, is trying to put a cap on rents for local talent.
Many of his resident artists moved from east London to west because workspace is more affordable.
“We are not against gentrification but it must work for existing residents as well as those moving into an area,” he says.
North Acton is also home to students at Imperial College London which feeds into its new campus at nearby White City. Imperial is expanding its student village and Brewin plans to launch a Park Royal gallery to display local art, connecting with students and residents.
“Central Saint Martins art college has created real character and identity at King’s Cross,” says OPDC’s Liz Peace. “We hope education facilities and museums will be drawn to Old Oak Common, too.”
Setting new living standards
Rising up between the student blocks and the industrial estate is a new cluster of residential towers by City & Docklands.
The tallest of the four buildings, One West Point will reach 54 storeys and each apartment — regardless of price — has a deep balcony.
Homes will come with amenities underneath. There will be a Tian Tian restaurant and supermarket, private cinema room, coffee shop, gym, a co-working space and a YouTube and recording studio for those entrepreneurs launching their own products and services.
Planned is a Scandinavian-style children’s soft play room and a doggy day care facility. In summer the residents’ long bar will open out into a garden with fire pits and outside seating.
“Hopefully residents will feel the communal spaces are part of their home. I want this building to set a new standard of residential living in London,” says Gary Sacks, boss of City & Docklands. Prices start from £590,000.
One West Point is the first new residential scheme out of the ground in this evolving North Acton neighbourhood but there are more to come.
Planning has been approved to turn the Carphone Warehouse building into 800 units, while funding is being raised for a two-tower hotel with 702 apartments and 159 hotel bedrooms.
Ealing is ready for Crossrail
The upgrade of three stations into new Crossrail hubs in Ealing has driven significant change to high streets and shops in this leafy borough, which is evident in property values.
The average house price around West Ealing is £661,737 and £714,600 around Ealing Broadway. Prices are cheaper further in, at Acton, and further out, in Hayes.
New developments have been springing up in this popular part of west London over the last five years. Prices for a new apartment start from £729,000 at Filmworks, the conversion of an old Art Deco cinema.
The scheme is built around a new public square, with shops, restaurants and an eight-screen cinema.
On Friday the restored façade is being unveiled by developer St George. Call 020 8023 6293.
The Jigsaw scheme replaces the blighted Green Man Lane estate, a Seventies development that was crime-ridden, lacked family homes and was cut off from the rest of Ealing. It has been demolished and 770 homes rebuilt for the existing community and new buyers.
When completed in 2022, Jigsaw will be set around landscaped squares, a boulevard of cafés and a new primary school, along with sports facilities. Prices start from £390,000. Call 020 3773 7822.
Buying at the end of the corridor
Once Crossrail arrives into Hayes & Harlington station it will put Hayes on the map. But it’s not the town’s only asset.
Much is also being made of Grand Union Canal, which snakes through the town.
Hayes Village, the Barratt Homes development in Nestles Avenue, will soon open up to the public the south side of the canal, which was previously shut off.
The scheme will deliver 1,386 new homes, green spaces, parks and play areas, a 200-metre running track and a watersports centre.
Prices start from £325,000 for a one-bedroom apartment.
There are also two- and three-bedroom apartments for sale. Call 0330 1277513.
The record company EMI’s former HQ in Hayes is being redeveloped into an 18-acre mini district.
Called The Old Vinyl Factory, it has 630 homes alongside restored Art Deco buildings set to become boutiques, work studios, bars, cafés, a cinema and a museum.
Homes are available to rent in Material Store at The Old Vinyl Factory for £1,260 per month.