Appendix 2 – Summary of Acton Town Centre Development Framework A. Background The Brief In July 2007 Ealing Council commissioned East together with URS Corporation and DTZ to draw up a Development Framework for Acton Town Centre. Acton lacks a distinctive identity, particularly in terms of its retail offer, which is limited and threatened by competition from larger centres at Ealing Broadway, Chiswick and the proposed White City development. There are however, a number of development prospects within Acton, which have the potential to improve its housing, retail and community facilities provision. Along with opportunities to improve the public realm, accessibility and movement, Acton can be developed into a more vibrant, attractive and thriving town centre. The Aim The aim of this work is to provide a strategic vision and development framework for Acton Town Centre. This framework strategy seeks to maximise the inherent potential within Acton to create a unique town centre, with an appropriate mix of uses including a competitive retail offer and community facilities, which would contribute towards making Acton a cohesive and economically sustainable community. In achieving this, the framework aims to address a number of specific requirements as outlined in the brief: Develop a strategic vision for Acton Propose optimum mix of uses in the town centre Propose the optimum retail offer Provide a development sites strategy Consider the relationship between developments Provide a strategy to improve the range of community uses in Acton Develop design principles Make proposals to maximise sustainable economic growth Undertake consultation on proposals The Acton Town Centre Development Framework provides a strategic vision and development framework for Acton Town Centre to help marshall co-ordinated change over the next 18 years towards 2026. This timescale is also intended to tie in with the timescale for the Council’s Local Development Framework (LDF). The document should be read in conjunction with the ‘Acton Town Centre Development Framework; A Baseline Analysis, January 08’, which gives further information on the process and analysis behind the Framework proposals and recommendations. The vision for Acton Town Centre is to: “Make Acton the centre of choice for local residents by improving the diverse and mixed retail, leisure and community experience alongside a high quality, attractive physical environment that encourages visitors to stay longer.“ Key urban design and socio-economic objectives have been set out to help achieve this vision. These are summarised below: To create a revitalised town centre, which serves the local community. To facilitate local economic growth To enhance the economic viability and success of Acton To introduce an optimum mix of uses To provide a range of improved community facilities and services To create an attractive and good quality public realm To improve the accessibility, movement and linkages to and within Acton Town Centre To maximise the regenerative potential and coherence of Acton B. Proposals for change and delivery The framework makes project proposals and recommendations and these are highlighted in the table below. Project & Description Principles & Proposals Acton Town Centre public realm and streetscape improvements Enhance quality of public realm Acton Town underground station environs: through environmental Install raised table to reduce car speed around this corner and heighten changes/aesthetic awareness of pedestrians. Remove railings if possible. Improve relationship improvements (e.g. signage, between crossing points and desire lines. Consider providing new pedestrianisation, street development above the station to increase safety and overlooking, enhance furniture, cleaning etc.). this as a part of the town centre, and help pay for substantial environmental Improve accessibility within and improvements to the Town Centre. Install signage from the station leading and directing toward the town centre. Primary pedestrian route from Acton Town Station to town centre: Introduce clear signage along the length of the route leading to the town centre and paint all street furniture same colour High Street: Rationalise all street furniture in terms of provision and location (ie. move or remove). This includes bus shelters and bus stops, guard-railing, litter bins, benches, lamp columns, posts. Investigate the potential to widen footways. Provide key crossing points and extensive raised table at Town Hall/Oaks area. Manage the overspill of shops onto the footway. Raised table between Town Hall environs and Oaks site: A raised table here will enhance the spatial and use relationship between these two sites and prioritising pedestrian movement. Raised table between Town Square, Horn Lane, Market Place and Churchfield Road: By establishing a physical link between these retail environments, the range and contrast of retail offer is highlighted. A raised table here will allow pedestrians to move between the retail environments without level change. Future redevelopment of the Oaks site, with a route at the level from Churchfield Road to the High Street will mean that this raised table will eventually form part of a link between the High Street environs and the Town Hall redevelopment. Churchfield Road: Check to ensure the footway is in good condition. Widen footways wherever possible. Provide seating where possible to support meeting and orientation opportunities that tie in with shops/pubs, station spaces. Implement a signage strategy linking the station with the town centre. Raised table across Crown Street, Mill Hill Road and Langley Drive junction: A raised table would prioritise the pedestrians over cars, manage the level changes and pedestrians could walk in a single direction across the space. Project & Description Principles & Proposals Acton Town Centre public realm and streetscape improvements (cont/d) Acton Central mainline station environs: Footway improvements and improved signage here will address poor visibility of the station entrance. A raised table for the extent as shown on the plan will enable station users to access the environs more easily, raise awareness and presence of the station and slow vehicles along this stretch of road. Primary pedestrian route from South Acton mainline station and the town centre, through the South Acton Estate: A strong signage strategy is required along its whole length, as well as improved footways with dropped kerbs where required, litter bins, footpath lighting and benches. There is an opportunity to provide clear straight sightlines from the station to the town in conjunction with new development to aid legibility and accessibility. Steyne Road junction: In conjunction with new development; possibly at the depot site as well as the supermarket, renew this extensive environment as an integral part of the town public realm network; the gateway to the town from the west. The public realm needs to support and tie in with shop fronts; to extend the High Street, and Churchfield Road to the west. As part of this, footways need to be widened, and decluttered, materials need to be rationalised, and crossings need to be improved. Rebrand this site as ‘Acton Circus’. There is enough space to make this a positive public environment. Redevelopment of the Morrisons site could bring shops right round to the front, on an expended footway to make this a genuine meeting place. South Acton mainline station environs: The environment of the station, the footrbidge, and the associated spaces to the north and south need to be improved as town entry spaces in their own right. Therefore create step-free access over the railway lines, and make new forecourt spaces adjacent to the station that link stations clearly to the town A strong signage strategy directing visitors from the station, through South Acton to the town centre. Rowley Industrial Estate: Rationalise car parking in the estate allowing improved movement through it. Improve northern entrance encouraging movement into and through the estate. Provide environmental improvements at edges of estate, visible from railway. In conjunction with new building within the site, provide special vertical signage to celebrate the estate as a valid functioning valuable part of the town. Project & Description Principles & Proposals Acton Town Centre public realm and streetscape improvements (cont/d) High Street buildings Consider rooftop development for usually single storey residential development as an integral part of the town centre strategy for change. Consider the roofline as a whole along the street, and ensure that new proposals are drawn into a street length elevation to ensure that the new roof profile contributes to the overall skyline. Encourage a new, enjoyable, and co-ordinated reshaping of the roofscape of the High Street to be marshalled and anticipated. Delivering a retail strategy The retail strategy focuses on a Retail Offer number of inter-connected Improvement of the convenience food offer through the introduction of new actions that are designed to food stores/supermarkets that cater for the needs of the local catchment deliver a wholesale area, especially the more wealthy parts of the catchment area. The Oaks improvement to the shopping Shopping Centre and Jefferies House are two sites with the potential to experience over time. deliver these new stores. Improvement of the comparison retail offer through the redevelopment of The Oaks Shopping Centre for mass/mid market retailers, especially fashion retailers, and the positive planning of Churchfield Road as a high quality specialist/independent retail destination. Promotion of the ethnic shopping experience through local events  and marketing that creates greater awareness of the range and diversity of goods on offer at Acton from Polish and Eastern European to Middle Eastern. Night-time Economy: Provision of additional eating and drinking establishments at Churchfield Road and key locations such as the Town Square, and the proposed Town Hall complex, which offer opportunities for outdoor seating to enhance the image of Acton and encourage visitors to stay longer. These establishments could include coffee shops, restaurants and bars. Encourage the development of evening economy anchors, such as a new improved sports centre that would increase footfall within the town centre at night and patronage to eating and drinking establishments. The Retail Environment: Implementation of public realm improvements to the High Street, in the form of wider pavements and traffic calming measures to create a less oppressive and more appealing shopping environment, where visitors/pedestrians are given priority. Control the garish shop facia boards that dominate the High Street, especially within the Conservation Area, through restrictive development control policies that are more sympathetic to the historic architecture within the town centre. This would create a positive impression of the retail offer. Creation of better pedestrian linkages between Churchfield Road and the High Street through the proposed redevelopment of the Oaks Shopping Centre. Promotion of the redevelopment and refurbishment opportunities through positive planning policies or Development Briefs for key sites, such as the Oaks Shopping Centre, Morrisons food store, Acton Town Hall/Swimming Pool/Library complex, Jefferies House etc. Project & Description Principles & Proposals Transport and movement Key transport related areas for Forecourt area in front of Acton Central Station should be properly improvement. integrated with the railway crossing and section of Churchfield Road that runs westwards towards the town. This would help ensure better legibility and accesibility for those arriving and leaving. The best approach for this would be to provide a large raised table surface that stretches from the station (with tie in to an improved station and restaurant forecourt) westwards towards Milton Road. Possibility of renaming bus stops at the High Street to say Acton Central Station, in conjunction with improved route from bus stop to station along Birkbeck Road To consider improvements in conjunction with new development at the north end of Birkbeck Grove. To improve linkage with Acton Park. To provide a raised table at the junction with Market Place, Churchfield Road, and King Street. This table should take the same simple palette of materials as the adjacent town square, so that the raised carriageway is provided in asphalt, whilst the new footway areas to the East of the junction are in the same granite flags (with tactile paving also in granite), leading up to the corner of the Car Park at the back of the Oaks. Beyond this, the paving would revert to standard concrete flags. Acton Town Hall Complex redevelopment Regeneration of the Town Hall Concentration of leisure and community activities here Complex by including a new Swimming pool provision must strive to maintain local and casual use as mix of uses and public open well as possible accommodation of larger events and user groups. Care space at the heart of the town should be taken to ensure that local users are not marginalised by demands centre. Redevelopment of large scale events. incorporating community, leisure and residential uses on Provision of social housing should aim to achieve 50% of new housing sites. New facilities and uses to be arranged around an accessible open public space creating a vibrant social environment 1. New Swimming Pool 2. Acton Baths redevelopment 3. Acton Library refurbishment 4. Acton Town Hall refurbishment 5. Priory Centre redevelopment 6. New residential development 7. New retail floorspace 8. New office floorspace Potential redevelopment of Churchfield Road/Oaks Shopping Centre Potential redevelopment of the Develop the whole site, incorporating the various ownerships entire site as set out in the Introduce new retail to complement existing town centre provision Development Sites Strategy, Establish clear pedestrian north-south access between High Street and incorporating mixed uses such Churchfield Road as housing, large retail and Incorporate mixed uses into new development including housing, leisure cafes. Pedestrian link to uses such as cafes, and additional retail enhance north-south access Build to sufficient urban scale as to punctuate the current frontages of High between Churchfield Road and Street and Churchfield Road the High Street. Project & Description Principles & Proposals Potential redevelopment of Morrisons site Redevelopment of the site and Establish adequate western gateway to the Town Centre by developing on its environs as the ‘Western the car park site Gateway’ to Acton Town Improve quality and range of goods on offer Centre. Incorporating a mix of Make active contribution to the vibrancy of the Town Square by improving uses, including a mixed retail its active frontage. offer (comparison and Establish a north south pedestrian route across the site to link the town convenience) and potential square and the High Street with Steyne Road. residential elements Regeneration of Rowley Industrial Estate Improving the link between Improve public realm by rationalising car parking and improving existing the industrial estate and the northern pedestrian entrance remove existing obstructions such as large South Acton Estate. planters Introducing changes to the Introduce shared, attractive amenity in centre of site that will bring users into public realm, façade and the site. This could be a new industrial/workshop/creative use building. The incorporating public amenity proposal here is to make it seem taller, and sign it to be visible at all sides, uses on Council sites to including from the railway, to celebrate it as a valid functioning part of the enhance the image of the town, to tie in with environmental improvements to the public areas, and to area and establish an identity. help orientate people with regards to its edges and its location (sign could be Intensifying Stirling Road Day designed in conjunction with local designers) Centre for small business Increase awareness and visibility from edges by signage on tall buildings units Improve building faces and other boundaries of Estate, particularly onto Bollo Lane, with measures such as green walls and improved signage. At the eastern edge of the Estate, there could be an emphasis on making a new green boundary to tie in with the green spaces next to the buildings. Perhaps these could even be cultivated by new residents; used as vertical allotments. Extension of South Acton Estate public realm into the heart of the Rowley Estate. Regeneration of South Acton Estate Improve accessibility within Establish clear, direct physical links between the South Acton Estate and the the site and establish links Town Centre between the Estate and the Retain and invest in existing green spaces with improvements directly related Town Centre. Provide good to neighbouring uses and users quality public realm and open Retain small scale retail such as corner shops space to the local residents. Re-establish grain of housing in the south of the estate, extending the grain from the northern areas into the south Improve navigation through the site with direct sight lines, signage and appropriate street furniture Take a clear approach to the overall urban structure of the redeveloped Estate as a whole to tie in with the edges of the Estate much more successfully. Seek to provide a straight line of visibility and access right through from South Acton Station to the High Street; and set a core public realm around that. Ensure that all public spaces are not just provided as set pieces to look at but spaces that engage with active frontages and that are contiguous and legible. Avoid unnecessary provision of formal ‘squares’ throughout the area. Public spaces need to be more site specific and woven into the wider public realm than the familiar characterisation of formalised and hierarchical grids and squares suggest. Project & Description Principles & Proposals Regeneration of South Acton Estate (cont/d) Ensure that the relationship between any key landscaped spaces and the public realm are designed as integral. Barriers to movement exist mostly to the eastern and western edges of the estate where because of back gardens of terraced housing, no routes into the estate are available Ensure that vehicle movement and parking areas are designed as integral components of the public realm, so that pedestrians and cyclists take precedence throughout. The urban structure needs to address the problems of impermeability and low levels of safety that the Estate suffers from today; in particular at the northern section of the Estate. The character of this landscape, which is open, naturally topographic, and green, needs to be reviewed as a key driver when considering the kind of urban structure that can relate successfully to it. Rather than an approach which uses axial grids and squares, there needs to be a much more gentle, area specific and responsive approach to planning new buildings if results are to be successful. Promotion of key sites for redevelopment Former petrol station and housing, 43-49 Gunnersbury Lane: Further works being undertaken. 269-273 Gunnersbury Lane: The preferred new development mix would be residential with new retail at ground floor although the presence of the church may constrain the developable area of the site. Crown Street: Retain uses but intensify with housing or office uses above, increase building heights Explore and expand upon relationship with Woodlands and the town square Rationalise and improve street furniture strategy Corner Horn Lane and Steyne Road: Residential would be the prime use within any redevelopment potentially together with some A3-A4use at ground floor. There may also be the potential to inlcude some small scale office space as part of the mix. 40-48 High Street - Beechworth House: Further works being undertaken. North London Line Yard: Further works being undertaken. Project & Description Principles & Proposals Promotion of key sites for redevelopment (cont/d) Crown Street/Mill Hill junction: The site should be developed to provide a ‘hinge’ that mediates between the scale of the town and South Acton Estate, provides increased safety through provision of residential and retail uses located to provide natural surveillance, as well as accomodating waste and recycling facilities in a way that local users can benefit from. Provident House, 28-31 King Street: Introduce leisure/entertainment such as cafe possibly in conjunction with Post Office facilities Introduce new residential uses above Tram Depot Consider opportunities for redeveloping this site as a mixed use development, able to provide uses which are compatible with the rest of the High Street; including shops and/or cafe or restaurant uses at ground floor, and residential uses above. Active frontages will support the overall ambition for this part of Acton to have a new public face.